Updated 5 December 2019, updated 24 February 2021.
There is a chill in the morning air and nature’s response, with timed perfection, is the turning of the leaves. Autumn arrives softly, first tinging the leaves with touches of amber and gold. It is a vision that has inspired the writers, the artists and the muses of the Dandenong Ranges for hundreds of years, a place where nature is given every opportunity to show off, and we’re always able to take in the performance.
Winding roads and dramatic mists form a backdrop for the changing of the seasons, each bend a new vista of colour and light. The Dandenongs in autumn is a treat – a way of experiencing the power and beauty of nature right on Melbourne’s doorstep.
English gardens explode in colour, forests offer quiet refuge, and bursting orchards and vines boast of their latest harvest. Within the leaf fall there are memories to be made, within the valleys and hills a sense of time and relaxation recovered.
Autumn leaves fall and pool at the base of trees that were planted by people who tended their early growth knowing they would never see them in their full majesty. Now as children and the young-at-heart, we stomp and roll in golden carpets, grateful for their botanical foresight. Late blooming flowers in picturesque garden beds encourage the painter to paint, the photographer to photograph and the plant lover to think about next year’s garden preparation with excitement.
The light of the early day and late evening softens and takes on a glow – the sun seems more golden, the reflections longer in the garden ponds. Lingering to take in the view is all that is needed to answer a busy day, a busy life, a busy mind.
Winding your way into the Dandenong Ranges via road, there is a surprise at every turn. The artistry devoted to perfecting the Dandenong Ranges Devonshire Tea has now been bought to surprising new contemporary places to eat, and shop and be. Fabulous High teas, kitchen garden cafes, and fine dining restaurants perform magic with local ingredients and provide culinary experiences that cannot be forgotten.
Villages burst with collectables and vintage treasures. In search of the retro, the mid-century and the quirky? The thrill of the chase will not leave you empty handed – the feeling of being only one shop away from a piece of fabulousness is ever present. There is real reason to village hop and village shop!
Of all the seasons, autumn is a time when the Dandenong Ranges is a perfect destination for a midweek or weekend stay. A snuggly cottage for bed and breakfast provides all the comforts of home, but be on the look out also for the unique Dandenong Ranges twist! Places to stay are as diverse as the flora and fauna that define this decadent part of the world. Contemporary interiors, dog-friendly couches, soaring views to the city, private waterfalls, bygone character and tucked away retreats – The Dandenongs is all of this and more waiting to be discovered.
Find spectacular places for leaf play folloow our garden trail link here.