With a free weekend (no basketball, footie or swimming- yay!), the sun shining and willing parents, we decided to go Pokémon hunting in the Dandenong Ranges.

With Generation 2 out earlier this year and Generation 3 being released towards the end of 2017, there's still lots of Pokémon to catch.  This article was originally published in August 2016 but we still found Pokémon in the same places.

For those who are unfamiliar with Pokémon, it is basically a game about catching, training and battling "pocket monsters" (the word Pokémon is pocket monsters shorted). The latest version is Pokemon Go, an app on a smartphone or tablet, which uses GPS to show where Pokémon are available in your surrounding area.  PokeStops are places to find eggs or PokeBalls. You can also put down lures to have more chance of good Pokémon spawning. PokeGyms are match arenas where groups battle to "own" the gym. These groups are usually colour coded such as Blue (Team Mystic), Red (Team Valor) or Yellow (Team Instinct) and you, as a player, can join a particular group.

Starting off in Monbulk, we found 12 PokeStops - and lots of motorbikes parked outside the bakery.  We saw some classic cars along the main street including a Corvette with the front raised and the back almost scraping the ground.  

After loading up on PokeBalls, we drove along the Olinda-Monbulk Road and found more PokeStops at Pirianda Gardens and Cloudehill Gardens (which also had a PokeGym). Although a bit narrow in parts, the road has gorgeous trees, ferns and bushes alongside it.  

Coming into Olinda, we found the Olinda Recreation Reserve has a PokeStop with Olinda itself having three in total.  The Cuckoo Restaurant, as well as the local church, also host a PokeGym.

Continuing on to Sassafras, along the main street we found there were four PokeStops and a PokeGym at Miss Marples Tearooms. Unfortunately, the PokeGym was "owned" by the red group and they had too many Pokémon for me to fight and win.  A little further up the road, the Uniting Church at Sherbrooke also had a PokeGym.  There were also PokeStops at the Ferny Creek Reserve, Ferny Creek War Memorial and Ferny Creek Post Office.

With so many eggs caught, I had to walk to hatch them.  Being so near to the 1,000 Steps was a great opportunity to see how many we could hatch.  While we parked on One Tree Hill Road, I could see that there were three PokeGyms and eight PokeStops.  There were also a couple of tame magpies that let us get real close and take a photo! 

By this stage, the clouds were coming over and the sun was intermittent so, after hatching a couple of eggs (a Pidgey and a Venonat), we drove home via Kalorama and Montrose.

Below is a list of the PokeStops and PokeGyms we found in the Dandenong Ranges.  I'm sure there are more but at least these will get you started on your hunt. And don't forget to take an extra battery - Pokémon hunting takes a lot out of smartphone resources.  And watch out ... too many Zubats seem to spawn around here!

POKEGYMS

  • Cloudehill Gardens
  • The Cuckoo Restaurant
  • St Matthews Anglican Church
  • Miss Marple's Tearooms
  • Sherbrooke Uniting Church
  • Kokoda Memorial Walk (1,000 Steps)
  • Silvan Dam lookout
  • Kalorama Reserve
  • Karwarra Native Garden
  • Kalorama Post Office
  • Montrose Recreation Reserve
  • Montrose Church of Christ
  • Warratina Lavender Farm

POKESTOP

  • Wandin North War Memorial
  • Wandin North Uniting Church
  • Pirianda Gardens
  • Sassafras main street
  • Ferny Creek Reserve
  • Ferny Creek War Memorial
  • Ferny Creek Post Office
  • Kalorama Memorial Gardens
  • Ken Dowling Pavilion, Montrose
  • Cloudehill Gardens
  • The Cuckoo Restaurant
  • St Matthews Anglican Church
  • Miss Marple's Tearooms
  • Sherbrooke Uniting Church
  • Kokoda Memorial Walk (1,000 Steps)
  • Silvan Dam lookout
  • Kalorama Reserve
  • Karwarra Native Garden
  • Kalorama Post Office
  • Montrose Recreation Reserve
  • Montrose Church of Christ
  • Warratina Lavender Farm

Make sure to get as many Pokémon as you can - according to sources, you can evolve quite a few of the Gen 1 Pokémon when Generation 4 comes out in mid 2018.

By Christopher Stevenson

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