Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Nothing evokes the thought of a tree change more than visiting the Dandenong Ranges, the colours of the trees in autumn, the masses of blooms in spring, the smell of a wood fire burning in the cold of winter, coolness in the fern gullies during summer, the smell of gum trees walking through the tall forests, room to breathe in fresh air and the time to take it all in.
Gardens: The Dandenong Ranges are famous for their gardens that have rich acidic soil and cool growing conditions that's perfect for autumn colours and spring time blooms. A visit to all the gardens mentioned below will not disappoint but don't rush through them all in one day, make sure you take your time and make a second or third trip if need be.
There are some beautiful little towns in the Dandenongs, including Sassafrass, the home of Miss Marples, Olinda (Pie in the Sky), Emerald, Sherbrooke, Kallista, Gembrook (end of the line for Puffing Billy), Belgrave (start of the line for Puffing Billy), Silvan is home to Tesselaar (famous for the tulip festival) , Monbulk, Mt Dandenong (Sky High) to name all but a few.
If you like walking tracks and gardens, there are plenty of fantastic parks to discover. Silvan Reservoir Park is huge and has extensive lawn areas to set up BBQs, picnic rugs and play ball games. Facilities include BBQs, toilets, shelters, play ground and landscaped gardens.
Emerald Lake is a popular choice with day trippers taking Puffing Billy from Belgrave to Emerald Lake for a picnic lunch. Last time we were there we had a go on the paddle boats and it's more of a workout than it looks (take the 15 minute option over the 30 minutes). This park is great because there is a playground, the lake, Puffing Billy train station, BBQs, toilets and walking circuit around the lake. The only downside is that parking costs $2 an hour or $6 for the day.
Exceptional photographs. Thank you for such an extensive overview of the Ranges. We sometimes forget to appreciate what treasures lie in our backyard. I rather like the little Emerald Station Park as well.