The handpicked, the homemade, the quaint, the quirky and the exceptional. Shopping the villages of the Dandenong Ranges – Olinda, Sassafras, Belgrave, Ferny Creek, Emerald, Sherbrooke, Mt Dandenong and Kalorama (and more) – is a day out to enjoy with friends. Give the shopping centre a miss – you won’t find piped music, bright lights, or endless queues in the Dandenong Ranges, but you will find a park with a view, a relaxed vibe and an unexpected treasure.
If you’re tired of the mass produced, the over-packaged, and the same-same everywhere you go, then a trip to the Dandenong Ranges will reinspire you. Enter a homewares shop and you’re likely to meet the shop owner and be able to discuss the latest trends in soft furnishings. Pop into the gallery and the artists will be delighted to tell you about their latest work and guide you in buying a one-of-a -kind artwork for home. The clothing stores somehow know what suits you, and you’ll find a garment that fits you just right (in those natural fibres you love), the produce and specialty shops stock your favourite old-fashioned lolly, and fresh fruit and vegetables direct from the farm gate – and there’s home-pressed honey, and jams and preserves that you love just having in the pantry at home for whenever. It feels personal because it is.
If you pride yourself on being a ‘vintage’ lover, the villages are wonderful explorations. Down side streets, or tucked away on main streets that exude country charm, you’ll delight in the hunt for a bargain, or a collectable – perhaps both. It’s about ruby glass, or an antique fine bone china tea cup, the missing spoon from your set or a fabulous gilded frame. You won’t find this piece again.
Handknitted beanies, and luxurious woolly throws grow as if by magic as the person behind the counter knits the new season stock – a special order in your favourite colours? – no problem! There’s a good enough reason for your return trip!
When it’s time for a little lunch, the Dandenong Ranges has everything from the simple and fresh, to the decadent and memorable. Step inside one of these amazing eateries and take advantage of a lunch deal – not only will you be replenished for the afternoon shop, you’ll have a little extra cash in your pocket to spend on something special too.
- Brunch at General Food Store in Emerald
- Thali in the trees at Baabji’s Kitchen in Belgrave
- Free dessert at Olinda Tea house in Olinda
- Picnic Pack at Incy Wincy in Emerald
- Steak and Seafood at Copperfields Restaurant in Olinda
If one day just isn’t enough, stay overnight and hop to the next village in the morning. Midweek rates represent great value with the added bonus of feeling like you’ve truly ‘gone missing in action!’ Valley Ranges Getaways have some welcoming cottages and bed &breakfasts waiting for you, or for something a little bit lovely you can stay at Emerald Star Cottages and experience a bonus mini-floristry class. (Did we mention it’s autumn and the marvellous Dandenong Ranges gardens are the perfect inspiration for a little flower arranging!)
Shopping in the Dandenong Ranges is as easy as it is satisfying. The rustle of brown paper shopping bags (or bring your own because our villages are focused on reducing plastic and waste), the purity of crisp fresh air, and the delight in knowing you’ve found something truly unique andsupported a local economy is worth the trip!