The Dandenong Ranges is a region east of Melbourne and south of the famous wine region, the Yarra Yarra Valley. The Dandenong Ranges National Park (or Dandenongs), a few miles to the north, offers a beautiful natural retreat from the bustling activity of Melbourne. The Dandenong Ranges have a similar feel to the other big city 'weekender' designations of say The Blue Mountains near Sydney and Montville near Brisbane.
The Dandenong Ranges is the perfect romantic get away, spotted with quaint villages, good restaurants, cafes, craft shops, art galleries, beautiful gardens and boutique accommodation. Crisp and cosy in winter but equally as beautiful whatever the season.
Dandenong 's Puffing Billy narrow gauge steam train is a 'must do' (well worth a ride) if you are visiting the area. The Puffing Billy Railway was established in 1900 and even today, in the age of the electric and diesel trains is undoubtedly one of Australia's most popular train journeys. The railway is lovingly operated and maintained by a team of over 600 dedicated volunteers who are justifiably very proud of this unique piece of living history. The Puffing Billy steam trains make the stately 25Km meandering journey between Belgrave and Gembrook, attracting the fond gazes and waves of passers by, as it passes through tall forests, fern gullies, over wooden terraced bridges and quaintly named villages like Menzies Creek, Emerald, Lakeside and Cockatoo. The Puffing Billy offers something for both children and adults alike with Thomas The Tank Engine rides for the kiddies (the grown ups have a great time too!) and for Mum and Dad, the Gourmet Yarra Valley Food and Wine Experiences, where part of the meal is served in immaculately refurbished Pullman type dining cars as the train passes through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. Book early as both the Night and Lunch Trains are popular. Phone Victoria (03) 9754 6800 for bookings. With thanks to The Puffing Billy Preservation Society for kindly providing the pictures of Puffing Billy Railway..
Bursting With Colour
The Dandenong Ranges is an area dense with wildlife. Colourful birds, tall fern trees, Mountain Ashes, beautiful gardens, lakes and flowers create a breathtakingly vivid backdrop of oranges, greens, blues, reds, yellows. This is combined with the sound of bird song and the scent of natural perfumes to produce an all encompassing experience. Dandenong Ranges has a Tulip Festival at Silvan from mid September to mid October and the National Rhododendron Gardens at Olinda is a spectacular 40 ha display of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and daffodils. The often photographed Alfred Nicholas Gardens at Sherbrooke is set around a picturesque lake.
William Ricketts Sanctuary
At Mount Dandenong is the internationally famous William Ricketts Sanctuary which is a moving collection of clay sculptures of Aboriginal figures set among weaving walking trails and ferns trees. The sculptures seem to be part of the surrounding landscape and again this is a 'must do' when visiting the Dandenong Ranges.
Views Over Melbourne
The relatively hilly landscape is capped by Mount Dandenong which is reached via the C415 from Upper Ferntree Gully. The view provides magnificent views of Melbourne, especially at night. On clear days one can see as far as Port Phillip Bay.
Melbourne is one of the most visited cities in Australia and has an excellent selection of hotel accommodation of all standards.
The Dandenong Ranges are located in the mid south of Victoria, to the east of Melbourne, and has a Latitude of 37.8°S and a Longitude of 145.3° E.
Driving To The Dandenong ranges
Some approximate driving times to The Dandenong Ranges:
9.5Hrs From Sydney (900Km)
0.5Hrs From Melbourne (40Km) )
20Hrs From Brisbane (1800Km) )
8.5Hrs From Adelaide(760Km)
See Route and Distance Calculator for more accurate driving times and routes from additional locations.
Flying To Melbourne:
Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine), has both international and domestic terminals, is around 25km (10 miles) north west of the city. There is a good selection of accommodation at Melbourne Airport
As a guide, the approximate flying time from Melbourne to Perth is 4 hours, to Sydney 1.5 hours, to Brisbane 3.5 hours and Cairns 3.5 hours. Times do not include travel time to and from airports and adequate time prior to check in etc.
Pretty Tourist Drives
There are several tourist drives through the park and plenty of opportunity for walking. Several small towns are scattered throughout the area such as Sassafras, Ferny Creek, Emerald, Kalorama, Silvan, Avonsleigh and the pretty Olinda. The Dandenong Ranges close proximity to Melbourne makes it an ideal place for a day trip but accommodation is plentiful with many traditional homes being converted into small hotels, guest houses or restaurants.
Victoria School & Public Holidays
New Years Day Tue 1st Jan.
Australia Day Mon 28th Jan.
Labour Day Mon 10th March
Good Friday 21st March.
Easter Monday 24th March.
Anzac Day Fri 25th April.
Queens Birthday Holiday Mon 9th June.
Melbourne Cup (Melbourne Metro only) Tue 4th November.
Christmas Day Thu 25th Dec.
Boxing Day Holiday Fri 26th Dec.
(End and start school on preceding and next week day (Mon - Fri) respectively)
School Starts Tue 29th January
Easter Holiday 21st March To4th April.
Winter Holiday 30th June To 11th July.
Spring Holiday 22nd Sept To 3rd Oct.
Summer Holiday 22nd Dec To Jan 27th
Starts Sunday 5th October
Ends 5th April 2009
Note: Dates for guidance only. Always check with your individual School as variations may occur for individual education authorities or establishments and dates may be subject to change. Always check with relevant State or Territory education department to confirm holiday periods at the commencement of each school year. Not all Public Holidays for individual regions within each state and territory are shown and public holidays falling on weekends are not listed. Not all Public Holidays may be applicable to all employers, organisations etc so always check with your employer, education authority etc which public holidays are applicable.
These figures are for guidance only:
Approximate Max Average Temperature
Deg C/ Deg F
Winter(June-Aug):13 / 56
Summer(Dec-Feb):26 / 78
Autumn(Mar-May):20 / 68
Approximate Average Monthly Rainfall - mm