Updated 5 December 2019
As Valentine’s Day approaches, there are as many ways to acknowledge a loved one as there are couples in the world.
Not every expression of love needs to be about flowers and chocolates (although we’d never say no) so how about a trip away to Melbourne’s own beloved Dandenong Ranges as a way of showing you care with a worldy difference?
Get lushed up without the cupids, and show your own uniqueness as a couple with 48 hours of exploration and adoration in the hills. Friday 14 February is just one day of the year – we know you’ve got enough time for one another to fill at least 48 hours with your own style of fun.
Our itinerary for an alternative day of love starts in Montrose, on the outskirts of Melbourne’s east.
Start the day on a Tea Trail – At Mary Eats Cake in Montrose you will be tempted by a traditional English High Tea that marries an exotic range of brews with tea inspired cakes and patisserie. Learn about tea from a Tea Sommelier and have a fabulous taste experience that resets all you thought you knew about the humble cup of tea.
Switch out the rose petal bath for a forest bath. In Japanese culture, the forest bath is called shinrin-yokuandit’s nature therapy that is right at the tip of your toes in the Dandenong Ranges. Head up Mt Dandenong Tourist Road on a scenic drive that will take you through the heartland of Mountain Ash, Messmate and Eucalypt that is the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Park the car and walk the forest tracks at the Mt Dandenong Circuit. Stop. Breath. Relax. The world is yours and yours alone.
There are endless Accommodation options in the Dandenong Ranges but if you’re looking to get away from the traditional cottage style destination, we’ve found some unique stays with a touch of worldliness.
Perfect accommodation for your complete Valentine's Day getaway
Matisse Cottage – Montrose: There’s a rotary clothes line in the back yard, and for those with an interest in gardens, this ‘Peoples. Garden’ is the love child of Australian personality Kevin Heinz – best known for his ABC TV show ‘Sow What’. Oh, and it has a double ended soaker tub…just sayin’.
Villa D’amour – a touch of French paradise – Mt Dandenong: This 2-storey apartment is a calm oasis of succulence and the perfect place for ‘all the good things in life’. It boasts a king size bed, and includes WIFI, so you can connect on every level. (Pictured above)
Dougie’s Place – Emerald: Rest your head, this is homestyle, honest accommodation that fits the budget and provides you with plenty of opportunities to mingle with the other guests if you’re looking for company.
The world tour continues with a great authentic Italian restaurant for dinner- the 'prima la famiglia' (family first) Bam Bam Italian in Avonsleigh.
Wake up and hear the cockatoos! And rosellas, and king parrots, and currawongs...there’s a symphony of bird call in the Dandenong Ranges quite unlike anywhere else in the world.
When was the last time you went fishing? A popular activity anywhere in the world, the Dandenong Ranges offers a fishing experience with the guarantee of a ‘catch’! The Australian Rainbow Trout Farm in Macclesfield is a haven for Rainbow Trout and Atlantic Salmon that literally hop on your lines. The picturesque setting is a great place to drink in the calm and do a little fish whispering. You can also squeeze in a round of mini golf. Cook up your catch at the BBQ garden, or take your catch home for an “I caught this myself” dinner.
Don the Lederhosen (only joking) and head to the Cuckoo Restaurant in Olinda for a late lunch. A little touch of Germany in the hills, the Cuckoo Restaurant is a local icon and the smorgasbord is world famous. Every Melbournian has been to the Cuckoo at least once in their life, so now is the time!
A little after lunch artwork is the perfect way to end your getaway, as you had back to Melbourne. The Burrinja Cultural Centre in Upwey hosts an ever-changing display of local, national and international art in the gallery, and a diverse program of performances and other vibrant activities that provide insights into new worlds. Make sure you see the iconic indigenous artwork "Fish and Leaves" by Yorta Yorta artist and former Upwey resident Lin Onus.
Spend 48 hours in the Dandenong Ranges and fall in love with a world of experiences that lets you set your own terms for getaways.