The prospect of dangling from ropes high in the towering tree tops of the Dandenong Ranges was a daunting one for climbing novice Joanne Lau.  

But with the expert guidance of the team at Trees Adventure in Belgrave the experience turned into the highlight of a mid-week stay.

Ms Lau, 28, a finance analyst at David Jones Sydney, said she initially baulked at the idea of tackling the challenging ropes course due to a lifelong fear of heights. “I was so scared at the beginning – I looked at the photos and I didn’t want to do it,” Ms Lau said.

“But I was convinced to try and I am so glad I did. Up there you really are in the moment – it was quite peaceful and so quiet in the middle of the tree tops. It looked very beautiful.’’

Ms Lau, who travelled with partner John Hartshorn, said her visit to the hills was nothing like what she expected. They took in the misty CBD views from the highest point on Mt Dandenong over lunch at SkyHigh restaurant, ambled through the boutique arts and crafts shops in Olinda Village and sampled local wine at Olinda Cellars

They dined at Copperfields Restaurant in Olinda where Ms Lau said each course of “amazing food” was generous in size and matched well with local wines.

Ms Lau said she was impressed by the location of their accommodation at The Blackwood in the heart of Sassafras. “It was so quiet, and I loved the design of the one-bedroom villa and the floor heating!

When asked about her overall impression of the Dandenong Ranges Ms Lau said: “It’s amazing – it totally changed my mind about Melbourne which is so well-known for its hipster cafes and arts.”

“I didn’t expect to see such a beautiful natural environment and the people are so friendly and welcoming.

“It was perfect for us as a mini midweek break; it was so quiet and romantic - I might even retire here!’’ 

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