Updated 5 December 2019
Does it seem like just yesterday your kids were little, and now they are parents themselves? Which makes you, of course, grandparents! Steal those gorgeous grandchildren for two days and show them the wonders of the Dandenong Ranges. Explore the places you loved, teach them a thing or two about our heritage and create those memories that become part of your family story. Here’s some great suggestions and special offers for 48 hours in the Dandenong Ranges with the grandkids – choose midweek options and enjoy the relaxed charm of the region, while giving parents a little break too!
Take a new way into the Dandenong Ranges and come via Montrose (Maroondah Highway or Canterbury Rd). You’ll be looking for a rest stop and Montrose Community Playground has a fabulous play and comfort area that will have your grandkids squealing with delight!
If you’d prefer to sit back and enjoy your time away rather than drive, Yarra Valley A2B are available to take you on a full day, midweek charter so you can sit back and point out the sights to your grandkids.
After some playtime, head to Emerald. If you haven’t packed a picnic, we’ve made it super easy for a delicious lunch with an Incy Wincy picnic pack – it’s fabulous fare for two adults with loads of easy add-on options for kids. Picnic by the gorgeous Emerald Lake and enjoy a post-lunch wander around the lake for some duck spotting and bird watching.
From Emerald Lake you are first in line for a train ride on Victoria’s most beloved heritage train, Puffing Billy - Check their webesite for special offers and secial events (even Thomas the tank comes to visit!). It doesn’t matter how young or young-at-heart you are, the open carriages, mountain fresh air and sense of wonder never fades!
Dinner is at your leisure. Choose to stay in self-contained accommodation and order in so you can relax and get those children safely snuggled in their beds after a busy day.
Here’s a short list of two-bedroom cottages and family style accommodation you can explore:
- Wake to the sound of Kookaburras at Clarendon Cottages in Sassafrass
- Wake to the sound of horses at Carinya Park in Gembrook
- Wake to the sounds of a private waterfall at Candlelight Cottage in Olinda
Good Morning! Another day of outdoor fun for everyone awaits! After breakfast make your way to SkyHigh in Mt Dandenong. In addition to wonderful views all the way back towards Melbourne, there are acres of parks and gardens with loads of fun activities for children including the famous SkyHigh maze, children’s park, wishing tree and more. There are mysterious corners, butterflies, sculptures, lovely easy walks and even a Possum House. Gate fee is just $7 per car so its super affordable, and there are often special free events so be sure to check out their program online.
Enjoy lunch in the bistro or restaurant (time for a glass of wine? You’ve probably earnt it by now) at SkyHigh or head towards Belgrave and introduce your grandkids to a new taste sensation with a delicious traditional Southern Indian Thali at Babaji’s Kitchen. Try a little of everything – that’s what thali (tasting plate) is all about! It doesn’t have to be spicy and you’ll be surprised by how adventurous little taste buds can be!
From here you’re only a short drive to Grants Picnic Ground where the kids can run off a little steam before the drive home or have a little nap under the giant Mountain Ash. Capture that picture perfect moment when a cockatoo lands on their head! They won’t be forgetting this trip ever!
As you start the journey home there’s just one more place that is a must visit for any grandchild and any grandparent. With locations at both Olinda and Sassafras, Geppetto’s Workshop is a toy store with at touch of magic that can only be found in the hills. We doubt you’ll be able to leave without buying another treat for those precious little children! Spoiling them is a grandparent’s prerogative!