If you want to get out of the hustle and bustle of Melbourne a visit to the Dandenong ranges cannot be overlooked.
Located an easy 50 minute drive east from the central city, the Dandenongs comprise of a number of small villages set in a beautiful wooded landscape. The moment you start the ascent of the ranges you can feel a drop in temperature by a couple of degrees and beautiful, cool air. This is a welcome relief especially in the summer when Melbourne temperatures can reach mid to high 30s and above.
A great first stop is the lookout at the top of Mount Dandenong. On a clear day you can get a panoramic view of Melbourne, some 40 kms away. There are also some lovely picnic spots and pleasant walks around manicured gardens.
If you are hungry, save room for a stop at Miss Marple’s Tearooms in Sassafras. Just a few minutes down the road, this charming village houses the perennially popular tearooms which are packed from the moment they open the doors. Fitted out with chinz curtains, lots of old china and a big fire in a Tudor style cottage, the tearooms serve wonderful comfort food – perfect in winter. Lots of soups, Welsh Rarebit, quiche and club sandwiches as well as Devonshire teas of course and the best ice-cream sundaes. Be prepared to wait!
Puffing Billy is a famous attraction in the Dandenongs – a 100 year steam train running between Belgrave and Gembrook, still on its original route. Passing through native bush and local towns this trip is an essential stop for any visitor to the Dandenongs.
With more small villages to explore and gardens and walks on offer too, the Dandenongs can easily be seen in a day although an overnight stay could be just the break you are looking for.