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Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

Trip.com
24 Feb 20201961

Take a respite from the hustle of Melbourne’s City and make your way east to the lush rainforests of Dandenong Ranges. If driving through tranquil surroundings with towering Mountain Ash trees is what you would envision as a perfect getaway to the countryside, the Dandenong Ranges will make for an unforgettable day trip for you and your family. Not forgetting your pals if you are travelling to Melbourne with them - this mountainous hideout will excite anyone!

Table of Contents

1. SkyHigh Mt Dandenong
2. William Ricketts Sanctuary
3. Grants Picnic Ground
4. Kangaroo Viewing Trail at Cardinia Reservoir Park

Here’s our guide to the Dandenong Ranges with spots you can head to on your first day trip. We would advise renting a car for this one as it will make it easier for you to travel between different locations in this humongous forested region of Dandenong.

1. SkyHigh Mt Dandenong

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

Source: Wozzie/Shutterstock.com

Start your exploration of the Dandenong Ranges at SkyHigh for majestic views of Melbourne’s skyline. Located at the tallest reach of this region 633 metres above sea level, you can bask in the beauty of the panoramas around you. Trace the outlines of the Port Phillip Bay, You Yangs Ridges as well as Mount Macedon, and unless the clouds have sunken low, you can also see Melbourne’s cityscape against the wilderness of Brisbane.

There are other activities within the area too. One of the popular attractions is the SkyHigh Maze which families and kids will find fascinating, especially for its horticultural appeal. Amid the beautiful sculptures and illusions lie a wondrous collection of fauna, which includes the native Wonga vine, Pierre de Ronsard climbing rose and the Evergreen Clematis, with Lilly Pilly forming most of the maze structure.

Before you head off to explore other attractions in Dandenong Ranges, have a decadent feast at SkyHigh Bistro to charge yourself up for the rest of your day trip!

With an entry fee of AUD7 (SGD6.60) per car, you may enter SkyHigh 9am onwards on weekdays and 8am onwards on weekends. The Bistro starts service 15 minutes after. You can come in early, roam about and then rest during lunch.

2. William Ricketts Sanctuary

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

Source: Nils Versemann/Shutterstock.com

A five-minute drive via Ridge Road from SkyHigh lies the William Ricketts Sanctuary, a place for reflection and spiritual connection to Mother Nature. Sitting peacefully in one of the fern gullies in the Dandenong Ranges, the sanctuary is an ode to Aboriginal philosophies, one that reminds us all of our often forgotten relationship with Earth and its spiritual beauty.

If you are looking for a serene and calm spot in the Dandenong Ranges during your day trip, this sanctuary will bless you with the peace you need.

William Ricketts, the man behind the spiritual haven, put together 92 different ceramic sculptures to depict the lives of the Aboriginal people and how they communicated with Earth in the dense forests.

Although he was not trained as a potter, William’s work has always been an inspiration. For over 10 years, he lived among the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte people in Central Australia to learn about their traditions and culture that influenced the creativity behind his clay masterpieces. The sanctuary is by far his major work through which he attempts to encourage visitors to reflect and be inspired by the spirit of the Aboriginal connection to the country.

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

Source: Nils Versemann/Shutterstock.com

A walk through this sanctuary will be unbelievably therapeutic!

You should visit this attraction in the Dandenong Ranges in the first half of your day trip as the sanctuary is only open from 10am to 4.30pm every day. Entry is free!

3. Grants Picnic Ground

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

We reckon a good cup of coffee amid the lush greenery of the Dandenong Ranges would be a good energy booster during your day trip here. How about having one in the company of some cockatoos, kookaburras, rosellas and galahs?

Just over eight kilometres from the William Ricketts Sanctuary, via Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, you can sit down for some delicious “Bush Foods” from the café at the Grants Picnic Ground itself. While you have your meal, listen to the songs of the birds and serenade yourself to the serenity of the forests. Bird-lovers, be ready to get thrilled!

The picnic ground, situated in the Sherbrooke Forest of the Dandenong Ranges National Park at Kallista, is all you need to experience what it is like to have a picnic in the bushlands. With wooden benches, footpaths strewn with fallen leaves and towering Mountain Ash trees, there can be nothing more earthly romantic than this at the Dandenong Ranges! Of course, there are also lots of photo opportunities here!

There are bushwalks you can trail along into the forests too - catch some birds there if you can!

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

Previously, visitors could feed the birds after purchasing a token from the café. However, the park has ceased bird feeding as of 12 February 2020 as it found that the activity was inconsistent with the country’s regulations pertaining to feeding wildlife. Nonetheless, you can still head down to the Grants Picnic Ground to admire the variety of unique Australian natives!

Entry to the Grants Picnic Ground is free unless you wish to eat at the café.

4. Kangaroo Viewing Trail at Cardinia Reservoir Park

While Puffing Billy would have been the next ideal stop that could complete your day trip at the Dandenong Ranges, we want you to go off the beaten path and head down down to Cardinia Reservoir Park towards the Kangaroo Viewing Trail that starts at the Spillway Carpark next to the reservoir wall. It takes you about 18 minutes to drive down from Grants Picnic Ground if you follow the Belgrave-Hallam route.

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

The kangaroos typically come out after sunset so should you reach just after the sun descends, keep a lookout for these wild grey Australian natives hopping across the roads towards the grassy grounds of the Crystal Brook Picnic Area.

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

You should visit the Cardinia Reservoir itself, a massive oasis of blue, the second-largest water reservoir in the whole of Melbourne. It is also a water-supply dam that provides water for many of Melbourne’s suburbs.

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

If you happen to drive down before sunset and are still waiting for the kangaroos to appear, drive up to the reservoir to admire the azure blue blanket of water and catch the magnificent sunset!

Dandenong Ranges: What to cover on your first day trip

The kangaroos also come out in the morning - you can choose to start your day trip here when the park opens at 8.30am. The park, however, closes at different timings throughout the year. You may ring the Parks Victoria Information Centre to check if you are planning to end your day trip here.

Are you ready to plan your trip to Melbourne? Do include the Dandenong Ranges in your itinerary - a day trip is a good start but you can consider living in a loft and exploring more of this forested region if it fits your schedule!

Disclaimer: This article has been used directly from the Qingqi Qiu Platform, the copyright belongs to the original author. If there is any discrepancy with the copyright please contact us directly and we will immediately delete the content.Index for Network Information Infringement Protection
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