Grab your morning coffee before you leave or head straight off towards the Dandenongs – east of Melbourne. As the tall buildings of the city give way to the scattered homes of the outer suburbs and finally to the lush green ferns of the ranges, it brings with it a strange sense of freedom.
Renamed as the Sky High Mount Dandenong in 2005, the Observatory, as it is still known, is perched 633 metres above sea level and is a restaurant cum vantage point - ideal to sit back and watch the changing moods of the city.
Their renovated viewing garden is complete with binoculars and provides one with an picturesque city view, not to be missed.
The aptly named the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road is the gateway to the Observatory. It starts at Upper Ferntree Gully and winds itself through the extremely scenic and lush green foliage of great native ferns and mountain ash forests.
En route is the timeless village town of Sassafras, renowned for its Devonshire tea. You can try any of the many restaurants in the village. A favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, is Miss Marple’s Tea Room, an eclectic old style tea house themed around…who else but Miss Marple.
More than just a tea house, the restaurant is a fantastic diversion and an opportunity to get out of the car to admire the local crafts and soak in the atmosphere. Another favourite is Flippin Pancakes which make the most sumptuous pancakes served with home made maple syrup and is very reasonably priced.
After having you fill you can head onward toward the Observatory. (Tip: Keep a lookout for the many cyclist who will give any car a run for their worth.)
The Observatory is the highest point in the region. You can park your car inside the car park or walk a few meters to avoid a minimal parking fee. While the view on a balmy summer day stretches from Port Phillip to the You Yangs, the winters give the city a magical hue.