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.
Everywhere in the Dandenong Ranges is awash with bright autumn colours and fallen leaves perfect for children to play in. If you're quick, you will still be able to see some of the brilliant autumn colour before all the leaves fall in the next week or so.
We visited the Alfred Nicholas, George Tindale and Rhododendron Gardens along with the R J Hamer Arboretum. Unfortunately the colour in all of the gardens aren't at their peak this year with the mild weather and little rain contributing to many of the maple's leaves drying out and falling before colouring nicely. On the upside there are still many pretty trees to look at as seen in the pictures (taken on the 18th May).
The Alfred Nicholas garden is at its best near the entry and down by the lake ( a 400m walk downhill from the entrance). The lake is covered in bright yellow leaves with small glimpses of water reflecting the trees with leaves yet to fall. It's a great spot to practice photography or just to immerse yourself in this idyllic environment.
The George Tindale gardens are a gardeners garden full of rare and exotic plantings but surprisingly this garden is less popular than the others listed. Parking is always available out the front and this is my preferred year round garden to see different plant varieties in bloom.
Currently there isn't a huge amount of autumn colour left in this garden but it's still well worth a look. The rock feature in the garden is fantastic and it's a great way to surprise the kids or your friends as the rock looks like it's balancing on another but give the rock a firm push and it will rotate 360 degrees. For my full review on this garden click here.
At the Rhododendron Gardens you will be able to see the last of the autumn colour with many trees yet to lose their leaves whilst others are completely bare. So whilst one offers a stunning visual array the other is a delight for children to play in fallen leaves.
The Rhododendron Gardens is a great picnic spot with many flatter sections on the lawn and picnic tables on offer.
As for the RJ Hamer Arboretum, you won't find a more spectacular outlook than from the car park/ picnic area. Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery so I couldn't capture the trees but if you're in the Dandenongs then make sure you have a look at this view across the ranges. You can see some pictures and find out more about it here.
Of course another great 'tree' garden is the Pirianda Gardens which would be spectacular at the moment. For more info on this garden, click here.
All of the above parks and gardens are run by Parks Victoria and entry is free. Toilets are not available at all except for George Tindale Gardens and picnic tables are located in all gardens with BBQ's at the R J Hamer Arboretum.
Enjoy the last colours of autumn in the Dandenong Ranges.