Introducing The Dandenongs
The low ranges of the verdant Dandenongs, just 35km from Melbourne, feel a world away from the city and make a fantastic day trip. On summer weekends, the hills are alive with daytrippers – time your visit for midweek for the best experience. Mt Dandenong, at just 633m, is the tallest peak, but the hills do occasionally get a winter sprinkling of snow. The area was intensively logged and most of the majestic mountain ash had been cleared by the end of the 19th century. European settlers planted deciduous oaks, elms and poplars, and now the landscape is a patchwork of exotic and native flora with a lush understorey of tree ferns. Take care driving on the winding roads – apart from other traffic, you might see a lyrebird wandering across.
The consumption of tea and scones with lashings of jam and cream is de rigueur in the many cafes in the hills, or you can stop for lunch at some quality restaurants in lovely towns such as Olinda, Sassafras and Emerald.