You love tennis, you have your Australian Open tickets in the bag but you want to stay and play in Melbourne a little longer? Escape the city heat for just a day or two and Find Your Self in the Dandenong Ranges and see why it's become such a smash hit tourist destination.
Some days you need to get off the court. This is a chance to get back to nature, breathe in the cool mountain air and escape the summer city crowds. It’s less than an hour from Rod Laver Arena and if you plan your visit mid-week there is a good chance you will find you have the place to yourself.
A day trip to the Dandenong Ranges will do wonders for your soul. Take a scenic drive through the National Park where, at every turn of the road, you will marvel at the towering trees, the crisp green fern gullies and the stunning views stretching out far across the Yarra Valley and beyond.
Around every corner there is a quaint place to pull-up stumps and enjoy great coffee, local wine and sweet treats - what you would expect of foodie Melbourne culture - but with a touch more serenity. The only hot shots you will see are those you take with your camera.
If you are a fan of getting out and about in nature, you can easily explore some of the shady forest trails. One of the most popular short walks in Sherbrooke Forest that takes you past tall mountain ash trees (the tallest flowering hardwood in the world), through lush fern gullies to the storybook pretty Sherbrooke Falls. Listen out for the elusive lyrebird, watch out for a wombat or just enjoy the peace of this wonderful sanctuary. There are scores of trails throughout the park with plenty of variety to suit all ages and abilities.
Don’t have a car? Not a problem: a few of the forest walks start right near the Belgrave Train Station and there is a bus service for those keen to see as much of the beautiful scenery as they can.
Another fun option is to wander about the various cool-climate gardens the region is famous for. To name a few, Cloudehill Gardens and nursery, Alfred Nicholas Gardens or the nearby George Tindale Gardens should be high on your must-see list or use our interactive Cool Climate Gardens Trail map as a guide.
So before the grand slam action starts on centre court (or after), take advantage of a Mid-Week break to the Dandenong Ranges.
You will be winning points with family and friends. Game. Set. Match.