Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and take a day trip to the wonderful Dandenong Ranges. There’s plenty of options for nature enthusiasts, with towering mountain ash trees, fern gullies and walking trails that wind their way through the forested slopes. But there’s also lots of options for families, with the classic Puffing Billy steam train, zipline experiences and paddleboats. If you’re looking for things to do in the Dandenong Ranges, check out this list and get inspired for your next adventure.
1. Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens
Feel transported to another world at the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden. This cool-climate garden features plenty of flowers, with 15, 000 rhododendrons, 12, 000 azaleas, 3000 camellias and 250,000 daffodils! There’s plenty of sections for you to explore, including the Chelsea Australian Garden, which has over 15,000 plants, a cascading waterfall and a peaceful billabong.
📍The Georgian Rd, Olinda VIC 3788
2. SkyHigh Mount Dandenong
Take a trip to the uppermost reaches of Mount Dandenong and enjoy panoramic views of Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay from SkyHigh Mount Dandenong. Then, get lost in the maze, explore the stunning gardens and discover plenty of fun things for the kids, like a Giant’s Chair and a Wishing Tree. There are BBQ facilities, as well as a bistro for coffee and tasty bites. Otherwise, make a dinner reservation in the evening, and enjoy twinkling views of the world below. Find out more.
📍26 Observatory Rd, Mount Dandenong VIC 3767
Hop aboard this iconic steam train, swing your legs from the carriage sills and go on an adventure through the lush surrounds of the Dandenong Ranges. Zoom past towering Mountain Ash trees and across trestle bridges in this quintessential Melbourne experience. There are daily trips from Belgrave to Lakeside, as well as other routes on weekends, like Lakeside to Gembrook. Puffing Billy Railway also has special events and experiences throughout the year, like the stunning Train of Lights during winter and the Polar Express trip around Christmas.
📍1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave VIC 3160
4. Treetops Adventure
Soar through Victoria’s first tree ropes course at Treetops Adventure. This fun experience spans across eight hectares of forest, and features an array of ziplines, tight ropes and tunnels. There’s plenty of thrilling courses for you to choose from, including two options for children as young as three years old. Find out more here.
📍 21A Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave VIC 3160
5. Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
Take a stroll around the picturesque Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens. The original garden of the historic Burnham Beeches estate, this serene spot features a charming boathouse, an ornamental lake and a vast array of trees and flowers. Perfect to visit at any time of year, these gardens are particularly magnificent during the autumn months. Meander along the linking paths, and bring a picnic for a lovely day out.
📍1A Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke VIC 3789
6. Miss Marple’s Tearoom
In Sassafras, you’ll find a charming Tudor-style building that’s perfect for scones and other classic English fare. Inspired by the Agatha Christie character, Miss Marple’s Tearoom has plenty to offer, from a hearty Ploughman’s Lunch to delectable trifle. This bustling spot doesn’t take bookings, so it’s best to arrive early, pop your name on the waiting list and wander around the nearby shops to pass the time.
📍382 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras VIC 3787
7. Dandenong Ranges National Park
Explore the temperate forests of the Dandenong Ranges, go on plenty of walks and look out for local wildlife like wallabies and echidnas. There’s plenty of picnic areas, such as Grants Picnic Ground, scattered throughout the park so you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Find out more about Dandenong Ranges National Park here.
📍School Rd, Tremont VIC 3786
8. Sherbrooke Falls and Olinda Falls
Love to go chasing waterfalls? You’ll find both Sherbrooke Falls and Olinda Falls nestled within the Dandenong Ranges. Sherbrooke Falls is a short walk from both Sherbrooke Picnic Ground and O’Donohue Picnic Ground. Meander through the rainforest, and watch a little creek cascade into a gully.
Meanwhile, Olinda Falls is a short walk from the Olinda Falls Picnic Area. Although you can still enjoy the falls, parts of your experience might be affected due to damage from heavy storms. Both the lower viewing area and the toilet are currently closed.
📍Odonohue Track, Sherbrooke VIC 3789 and Doughtys Rd, Olinda VIC 3788
9. Olinda Tea House
Feel transported to another world at the tranquil Olinda Tea House. Try the famous high tea at this stunning restaurant, and indulge in a selection of Asian-influenced petit fours. You can dine in the restaurant or in the picturesque gazebo. If you don’t feel like high tea, you can also visit for lunch and dinner. After your meal, stroll around the peaceful garden, and say hello to the resident alpacas and pony. The restaurant is also dog-friendly, so you can bring your furry friend along too.
📍86A Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda VIC 3788
10. Cloudehill Gardens
Cloudehill Gardens stretches over five acres, and has 25 different gardens for you to explore. You can visit Cloudehill at any time of year, with new and vibrant colours to discover each season. Frolic in meadows, stroll under trees, admire blooming flowers and more.
📍89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda VIC 3788
11. 1000 Steps/Kokoda Track Memorial Walk
Embark on one of Melbourne’s most popular bushwalks, and travel up the 1000 steps walk. This steep track will test your fitness, as you climb up the hill through lush rainforest. Along the way, you’ll see plaques depicting the lives of those who fought and died on the Kokoda Track in 1942. Find out more here.
📍Tree Fern Gully Track, Tremont VIC 3785
12. Burrinja Cultural Centre
Get your dose of art and culture at Burrinja Cultural Centre. This venue has multiple gallery spaces for exhibitions, a theatre, studios for artists, a creative space for kids activities and more. See more here.
📍Wurundjeri Country, 351 Glenfern Rd, Upwey VIC 3158
13. Cameo Cinemas
Watch mainstream and arthouse flicks at Cameo Cinemas. There’s eight screens to choose from, including an outdoor cinema that runs from December to March. At Cameo Outdoor, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the show, while surrounded by the towering trees of the Dandenong Ranges.
📍1628 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave VIC 3160
14. Tesselaar Tulip Festival/Tesselaar KaBloom Festival of Flowers
Love flowers? Then you’ll have to check out these seasonal flower festivals in Silvan. Pop over to the famous Tesselaar Tulip Festival in early spring, and admire rows of blooming tulips. Then in autumn, go back for the Tesselaar KaBloom Festival of Flowers, and gaze at other types of colourful blooms. These festivals usually have live entertainment and food tucks, making it an excellent day out.
📍357 Monbulk Rd, Silvan VIC 3795
15. Emerald Lake Park
Emerald Lake Park is great for the whole family. This scenic location covers about 52 hectares, and is home to walking trails, gardens, and a beautiful lake. Go paddleboating or fishing on the lake, enjoy a picnic and splash in the wading pool. Keep an eye out for native animals, like wallabies, kookaburras and echidnas. Learn more here.
📍Emerald Lake Rd, Emerald VIC 3782