6 of the Best Things to do in the Dandenong Ranges
An hour out of the CBD is a favourite getaway for city folk to wander among the cool ferns and misty mountain air.
While you're there, why not check out:
1. Heritage Hill Museum and Historic Gardens
Fror a dose of history, stop off at Heritage Hill Museum and enjoy cultural heritage and public programs, art exhibitions, group tours and specialised events all year round.
Set among on one and a half acres of maintained landscaped Historic Gardens, Heritage Hill features historic buildings 'Laurel Lodge' built in 1869 and 'Benga' built in 1936, and the St James Anglican Church (1864) in a unique historic precinct that offers visitors an insight into Dandenong’s transformation from a rural market town to a bustling, multicultural metropolis.
Wander through the exhibitions at the Museum before settling among the grounds for a picnic and a bit of Frisbee.
For more information and to see the events calendar, head to the website.
2. Visit Emerald
Get your country village charm on in Emerald, a highlight on the Puffing Billy railway, and home to the Emerald Lake Park.
Visit the Nobelius Heritage Park with the remains of the Nobelius Nursery, the Emerald Museum, or hang out at the lake for the day at Emerald Lake with its barbecue facilities, children's playgrounds, a pool, paddle boats, walking tracks, fishing, Environment Centre, model railway, and café.
For extra physical fun, give the 2.5hr Emerald-Cockatoo recreational trail a go (either walking or cycling),which offers access to a range of family fun and recreational activities.
3. Picnic at Grant's Picnic Ground
Within Sherbrooke Forest sits Grants Picnic Ground, filled with walking tracks, native animals and plants, barbecue and picnic areas, and plenty of space to grab supplies and set up camp for the day.
Why not check out the bird-feeding area (you'll need a token from the Grants on Sherbrook kiosk, which gives you seeds to feed the birds with), go for a 30-minute stroll along the Margaret Lester Forest Walk, 45-minute walk through Hardy Gully, 2 hours through the Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk, which takes you through historic areas filled with Mountain Ash and Messmate Stringybarks.
4. Eat at The Deli Platter
Got a hankering for a Devonshire Tea? Indulge your inner need for scones at The Deli Platter, for a full range of sweet and savoury, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan and paleo options.
The shelves are stocked with the best gourmet goodies, the cheese counter is a lactose-lover's paradise, and the best of local and imported specialties from producers in England, France, Switzerland, and more.
Open 7 days a week for a barista coffee, breakfast, lunch, Devonshire teas, afternoon teas, picnic baskets gourmet deli platters showcasing the best of available produce.
For more info, head to the website.
5. Market Fair
Looking for an old-school Phantom lunchbox? Vintage cowboy boots? A painting you once saw in your aunt's house?
Market Fair in Ferntree Gully probably has it among its a fabulous collection of 150 vintage and handmade market stalls. Stocked to the brim with a wide array of furniture, homewares, collectables, arts and crafts, fashion and so much more - more than you ever realised you ever wanted!
Market Fair is a collaboration between over 150 sellers who fill the store with a wonderful mix of antiques, vintage and new pieces. Stallholders are all local small businesses and consist of experienced vintage resellers and collectors, talented artists and local designers - all who are the best in the business coming together to create this new and innovative shopping experience.
Trading hours are 10am to 5pm daily at 2/794 Burwood Highway Ferntree Gully.
For more info: head to the website.
6. SkyHigh Mt Dandenong
For amazing views over Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay (especially at night!), head to SkyHigh a restaurant and lookout, at the the highest point in the Dandenongs.
Less than an hour from the Melbourne CBD amid ferns and lush towering native forests, SkyHigh is a fabulous spot to take the family, with a garden, picnic areas, and a maze to keep you all entertained.
SkyHigh has so much to offer for the whole family, stroll through the beautiful landscaped gardens, explore the SkyHigh Maze (adult/child/family $6/4/16), take a forest walk under a canopy of Australian eucalypts, visit the Australiana Tree, or relax on the Giant’s Chair!
There is a gate entry fee of $6.00 per car.
For more info: head to the website.
Main image credit: Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Facebook