Some of my best childhood memories come from the scenic mountainous part of Victoria known as the Dandenong Ranges. We used to go for long walks in the forest with my family, climb up steps for breathtaking views and look for hidden natural discoveries at every turn. When I got too tired to walk my dad would carry me on his back until I was able to explore on my own feet again. Ironically, the name of the place where we would often have picnics together later became known to me as my favourite TV show – One Tree Hill.
Last week we ventured into the Dandenongs (35 km east of Melbourne) for a few hours to relax and unwind over the weekend. Everything from the quirky gift shops to the quaint courtyards, picture-perfect buildings and breathtaking greenery made this trip very special. Don’t expect to be seated at Miss Marple’s glorious Tea Rooms as soon as you enter though! This charming little establishment is always over-populated and bookings are essential. Next door you’ll find one of the best Tea Shops with a great range of teas, sweets and teapots.
We spent a mild summer’s afternoon exploring the National Rhododendron Gardens, had lunch while kookaburra’s looked down at us from overhanging branches and discovered stunning vistas, framed by floating white clouds. That day was absolutely perfect. If you’re after a place to have dinner, try the Cuckoo for a truly Bavarian experience. It’s not light on the hip-pocket but there is a great amount of choice when it comes to food!
The Dandenongs are a brilliant place for city-folk to relax, unwind and recharge their batteries. All tourists to Victoria should visit the charming towns of Sassafras, Olinda and Mt. Dandenong for top quality shopping, a charming village vibe and fresh air combined with scenery that is hard to beat. In winter it also snows there!