In need of a tranquil, refreshing winter escape? Look no further than the Dandenong Ranges, it’s the perfect destination for any nature lover. Breathe in the crisp country air and be at one with the beauty of the Dandenongs.
Just under an hour away from Melbourne, transport yourself to what feels like a world away from the buzzing city.
Winter is such a great time to visit the Dandenong Ranges, home to some of Victoria's most beautiful gardens with lively greens, rich textures, lush foliage and winter blooms aplenty, it's a pure delight.
Connecting with nature is great for your health too, so take your time driving through and taking in the tranquil beauty of the crisp air, stopping at charming villages and their welcoming cafes along the way.
Check out our top tips for a winter escape to excite any nature lover…
Soak in the beauty of Victoria's most beautiful gardens
The Dandenong Ranges takes claim to some of Victoria’s most beautiful gardens. Soak in the beauty of rich bark textures, seed capsules, foliage shapes and beautiful fragrance by exploring the many gardens.
Why not take a walk along the perfectly curated paths of the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens and discover the native plant and wildlife that visitors rave about. Don't forget your camera; the colours of the winter season are absolutely spectacular - or on those rare days that it snows it's storybook pretty.
Pirianda Gardens in Olinda features a beautiful, woodland garden containing a unique collection of plants including many trees which are considered rare in Australia. There are magnificent views, tranquil walks and great opportunities for bird watching, photography and picnics.
Mount Dandenong Arboretum is an arboretum of national significance that was established in 1928. It features conifers and deciduous trees from around the world including eight that are listed in the National Trusts significant tree register.
Colour your day with bright winter blooms
While spring might be considered prime time for most gardens, those in the know travel to the Dandenong Ranges for the beauty of its winter blooms. There’s an impressive range of seasonal flowers you’ll only see in the Dandenong Ranges. Colour your day with the brilliant seasonal blooms of rhododendrons, azaleas, camelia, daffodils and cherry blossoms.
The roadside flower stalls of Monbulk, village florists and local nurseries are abundant with blooms and foliage if you’d like to take a piece of the Dandenongs home with you.
R.J. Hamer Arboretum near Olinda contains a collection of early flowering species along walking tracks overlooking stunning scenery across the Yarra Valley and out to the Warburton Ranges and beyond.
George Tindale Memorial Gardens in Sherbrooke was designed to look stunning during all four seasons. During the winter months, one of the highlights includes the Cyclamen and Hellebore on full display beneath flowering shrubs and deciduous
Cosy up in gorgeous villages and cafes along the way
The fresh, crisp air sure helps you work up an appetite, luckily there is no shortage of cafes and eateries dotted across the Dandenong’s charming villages.
Sassafras is a popular destination for day-trippers. Offering a cosy cafe culture, amazing scenery and beautiful national parks, there is sure to be something to please. Try the daily baked fresh bread, cakes and pastries at Proserpina Bakehouse. Delicious smells from the oven mean all you need to do is follow your nose. Across the road you can snuggle in to the cosy Ripe Cafe, Miss Marple's Tearoom or browse exquisite toys at Geppetto's Workshop or the magnificent international tea selection of both leaves and teapots at Tea Leaves.
From cooking spices to homewares, hand-crafted jewellery, fashion and old-fashioned sweets – you can spend hours browsing Olinda’s stores and boutiques for treasures.
Emerald is a stunning little village that is brimming with country charm and wonderful hospitality. Pop into the much loved General Food Store for an abundance of tasty baked treats. Try Behind The Trees & Incy Wincy for homewares, fabulous coffee and scrumptious snacks.
Kalorama is a small, scenic village perched atop the Dandenong Ranges 40 km east of Melbourne on the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, pass through for beautiful winter scenes and charming cafes.
Wander a little longer...
Just like home, but better. Let your escape last a little longer by nabbing yourself one of the many winter special deals on offer. Settle in with a drop of the Yarra Valley’s finest after your time at one with nature. The magnificence Beechmont Garden Retreat, leave the kids at home and enjoy the luxurious spa life at Balinese Retreat or get into the trees at Cottage in the Forest, Olinda.