IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE SPECTACULAR DANDENONG RANGES
With rolling hills, weathered valleys and thick rainforest, the stunning parks and forests are popular with tourists and Melbournians seeking fresh air, breathtaking scenery, adventure or a slower pace.
The region is home to numerous nature walks, ranging in length and difficulty, as well as spectacular lookouts, picnic settings, wineries, cafes and outdoor activities such as paddle boat rides and garden mazes.
The Dandenong Ranges offer a range of unique experiences, and to perfectly round out your Victorian getaway Park Avenue Accommodation Group is the ideal accommodation choice being a relaxing 20 minute drive from the region. The drive is spectacular, so take you loved ones in the car for a scenic day out. Take the Eastern Freeway onto Eastlink tollway, exit at Burwood Highway and follow the road to Upper Ferntree Gully. Alternatively exit at Canterbury Road and follow the road to Montrose, turn right at the roundabout and follow the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.
Another option is to take the train to Hurstbridge, Lilydale or Belgrave from your nearby train station. All Park Avenue Accommodation Group properties have easy access to train lines, and our knowledgeable and friendly team members are happy to help you plan your day out.
Various bus companies run services between towns and villages in the region. For detailed information, contact Public Transport Victoria 13 16 38 or visit ptv.vic.gov.au
One of the most popular attractions in the Dandenong Ranges for decades, the century-old Puffing Billy is one of the finest preserved steam railways in the world and remains a firm favourite with children and adults alike.
Operating on its original 25 kilometre mountain track from Belgrave to Gembrook, the gorgeous train features open-sided carriages; ensuring that you are well and truly immersed in your surrounds as you take a scenic adventure through the Dandenong Ranges’ beautiful forests and gullies.
You can board the Puffing Billy at any of the many stations along the route, or can travel in luxury in one of the enclosed dining carriages.
A series of special events also take place aboard the Puffing Billy annually. Along with jazz or rhythm and blues nights, there is an annual murder mystery evening and a “Great Train Race”, which sees people race the steam train over 13kms through picturesque terrain.
For more information, visit puffingbilly.com.au
TESSELAAR TULIP FESTIVAL
For well over 60 years, the annual Tesselaar Tulip Festival has been welcoming guests to the Dandenong Ranges for a spectacular display of vibrant colour, along with live entertainment, market stalls and delicious treats.
The event celebrates the blooming of literally hundreds of thousands of tulips across 25 acres of farmland. While the tulips are the star attraction, there is certainly something for everyone on this fabulous day out … even the family dog is welcome to join in the fun (on a lead of course)!
The Tulip Farm showcases over 150 varieties of tulips and is located at 357 Monbulk Rd, Silvan. The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is accessible by both train and car, and a shuttle bus runs to the festival from Lilydale station for convenience.
For more information, visit tulipfestival.com.au
KOKODA TRACK MEMORIAL WALK
For those with reasonable fitness who like to be active, the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk (also known as the 1000 Steps) challenges visitors to a steep, three kilometre climb.
The track is one of the most popular destinations in the Dandenong ranges and represents the ‘Golden Staircase’, which was cut by the Australian Army Engineers and others into Papua New Guinea’s Kokodo Trail during World War II.
The track is now built with wooden steps and concrete paths, but was originally built in the 1900s using the trunks of tree ferns to “sure up” the ground in the wet weather.
The setting is spectacular, as the stairs climb alongside the creek, and are lit by mottled daylight filtering through large ferns and gums. Along the way, a series of plaques depict the lives of soldiers who fought and died on the Kokoka Trail.
The Kokoka Track Memorial Walk is extremely busy on weekend mornings, so plan your visit accordingly.
Of course, there is plenty more to do and see in the Dandenong Ranges. Other suggestions include wine tours, theatre shows and the Burrinja community cultural centre.