Everything You Need to Know About Riding the Puffing Billy Railway

Overview

  • Features: Iconic train ride through the Dandenong Ranges
  • Opening Times:  10:30am to 2:30pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In Spring (Sep to Nov)
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Transport Options: Train, car
  • Cost: A$11 – $68
  • Address: 1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Train Ride

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Summary

Ride on Victoria’s favourite steam train, the Puffing Billy and have a truly unforgettable experience as you travel through forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges. 

Puffing Billy Railway

 

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The Puffing Billy Railway is Victoria’s and Australia’s famous steam train that runs through the Dandenong Ranges for 25km between Belgrave and Gembrook, stopping at Emerald Lake. The present line between Belgrave and Gembrook travels through the forests, fern gullies and farmlands of the magnificent Dandenong Ranges and is one of the best ways to explore this part of the world.

If you time your trip for the last Saturday of the month you could catch the local craft and produce market at Gembrook station. Also at Gembrook is the Motorist Cafe and Museum.

 

Puffing Billy History

The Puffing Billy Railway was one of four low-cost 762mm (2’6”) gauge lines constructed in Victoria in the early 1900s to open up remote areas. The present line between Belgrave and Gembrook is the major part of the line which opened on 18 December 1900 and operated over 29km (18.2 miles) between Upper Ferntree Gully and Gembrook until 1953. In 1953, a landslide blocked the track and, because of operating losses, the line was closed.

Public interest resulted in the formation of the Puffing Billy Preservation Society (PBPS). The PBPS’ volunteers by-passed the landslide and reopened the line to Menzies Creek in 1962 with the blessings of the Victorian Railways and the assistance of the Citizens’ Military Forces. Further restoration resulted in Puffing Billy returning to Emerald in 1965, Lakeside in 1975 and Gembrook in 1998.

 

Puffing Billy Route

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Puffing Billy Lunch Option

One of the special trains available on the Puffing Billy Railway line is the Steam & Cuisine Luncheon Train. Travel first class whilst tantalising your tastebuds over a three-course meal or graze over a Natter Platter.

The Steam & Cuisine Luncheon Train operates daily except Christmas Day, departing Belgrave Station at 12:30pm and travels to Lakeside Station located in Emerald Lake Park before returning to Belgrave Station at approximately 3:30pm.

 

Puffing Billy Dinner Options

Dinner & Dance Train

Take your Puffing Billy train experience to another level with the Dinner & Dance Train which provides a truly unique dining experience. During the forward journey you entree will be served. Upon arrival at the ‘Nobelius Packing Shed’ in Emerald you will disembark the train and enjoy a sumptuous main course and dessert. A musical entertainer will have you up on the dance floor before the driver blows the whistle signalling your return to the train.

The Dinner & Dance Train operates on selected Friday and Saturday evenings, departing from Puffing Billy’s Belgrave Station on Fridays at 7:30pm and Saturdays at 7:00pm. The train arrives back into Belgrave Station at approximately 11:30pm.

Themed Dinner Trains

Celebrate that special occasion on one of the Puffing Billy themed trains with family and friends.

  • Jazz on Puffing Billy Railway
  • Murder on the Puffing Billy Express
  • Rhythm & Blues on Puffing Billy
  • Rock & Roll on Puffing Billy Railway

 

Puffing Billy Timetable

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October 2015 – April 2016

 

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April 2016 – October 2016

 

Puffing Billy Tour Options

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Wildlife & Steam Train

Leadbeater have combined some of Victoira’s best hidden gems with three must see attractions – Puffing Billy, Dandenong Ranges National Park, and Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary – to create a truly unique experience at amazing value. On this guided day tour you’ll ride on a hundred old steam train, walk under giant Mountain Ash trees and visit Aussie animals.

Duration: 10 hours
Depart/return: Melbourne
Tour provider: Leadbeater

For more information on this tour, click here.

 

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Private Steam Trains & Great Wines

This private group tour allows you to explore the Dandenong Ranges aboard the Puffing Billy steam train which takes you through Mountain Ash forests before travelling through Victoria’s premium wine region, the Yarra Valley. After a gourmet lunch, explore one of the Moet and Chandon estate properties, Domain Chandon before returning to Melbourne.

Duration: 9 hours
Depart/return: Melbourne
Tour provider: Australian Natural Treasures Touring

For more information on this tour, click here.

 

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Dandenong Ranges Day Tour

This day tour comprises some of the best attractions in the Dandenong Ranges. Kick off the day at William Ricketts Sanctuary; get some perspective at Mt Dandenong and ride on Puffing Billy. Wrap up the day with a visit to Sherbrooke Forest in Dandenong Ranges National Park.

Duration: 10 hours
Depart/return: Melbourne
Tour provider: Leadbeater

For more information on this tour, click here.

 

Puffing Billy Prices

FARES are valid from: 26 JUNE 2015 TO 24 JUNE 2016

Option 1: Belgrave to Emerald or Lakeside OR Emerald or Lakeside to Gembrook

Adult: Single – $31.50; Return – $51.50

Child (Aged 4-16 yrs): Single – $16.00; Return – $26.50

Concession: Single – $25.00; Return – $41.00

Option 2: Belgrave to Gembrook

Adult: Single – $45.00; Return – $68.00

Child(Aged 4-16 yrs): Single – $22.00; Return – $34.00

Concession: Single – $36.00; Return – $53.50

Option 3: Belgrave to Menzies Creek OR Menzies Creek to Lakeside

Adult: Single – $22.50; Return – $30.50

Child(Aged 4-16 yrs): Single – $11.00; Return – $16.00

Concession: Single – $18.50; Return – $24.00

 

Puffing Billy Family Pass

Valid for up to 2 Adults and up to 4 children (Aged 4-16 yrs)

Option 1: Belgrave to Emerald or Lakeside OR Emerald or Lakeside to Gembrook

Return $104.00

Option 2: Belgrave to Gembrook

Return $137.00

 

Puffing Billy Tickets

Puffing Billy tickets can be purchase online at the Puffing Billy website

Note: Passengers who have NOT pre-purchased tickets online are encouraged to arrive at least 1 hour prior to the train’s departure.

 

How to Get to Puffing Billy?

Puffing Billy Railway is located approximately one hour east of Melbourne by public transport or car.

Melbourne to Puffing Billy

The best way to get to Puffing Billy is on the Metro train (Belgrave line) from Melbourne to Belgrave Station.

Belgrave Station to Puffing Billy

From Belgrave Station follow the blue line to Puffing Billy Station.

 

Puffing Billy Parking

At Belgrave Station 

Parking at Puffing Billy Car Park: FREE parking entry via Belgrave – Gembrook Road, between New Belgrave Motors and the Metro Rail Bridge
Parking at the Belgrave CFA Car Park: FREE Parking at 2 Bayview Road, Belgrave
Parking at Belgrave Metro Trains Car Park: FREE Parking – Follow the signposted walkway under the main road bridge to the Puffing Billy station.
Parking at Woolworths Belgrave Car Park: FREE Parking behind the main street shops. Enter via Reynolds Lane. Parking restrictions may apply.
Parking at Mater Christi College FREE Parking during the Victorian school holidays only.

At Menzies Creek Station 

FREE Parking available within the station grounds.

At Emerald Station 

FREE Parking available within the station grounds (Excluding days when our Day Out With Thomas event takes place)

At Lakeside Station 

PARKING is located within Emerald Lake Park adjacent to the station. There is a Council operated ticket machine – $6 flat fee for the day.

At Gembrook Station 

FREE Parking available within the station grounds.

 

Puffing Billy Address

Puffing Billy Railway,

1 Old Monbulk Road,

Belgrave,

Victoria 3160,

Australia

 

Puffing Billy Contact

Phone: (03) 9757 0700

info@pbr.org.au

www.puffingbilly.com.au

 

Puffing Billy Map

Picnic at Silvan Reservoir Park Dandenong Ranges

Overview

  • Features: Landscaped picnic areas and open lawns
  • Opening Times:  10am to 5pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In Spring (Sep to Nov)
  • Duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: FREE
  • Address: Silvan, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Park
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Summary

The Silvan Reservoir Park features landscaped picnic areas and open lawns perfect for picnics and barbecues. The Silvan Dam is located here. 

Silvan Reservoir Park Dandenong Ranges

 

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Set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, Silvan Reservoir Park is an easy drive from Melbourne and ideal for a great day out.

Featuring landscaped picnic areas and open lawns surrounded by an impressive eucalypt forest, this park is perfect for a picnic or barbecue. The Grey Gum walking track takes you through the open lawns and past the eucalypt forest.

The Silvan Dam which is a major Melbourne water supply is located here as well. 

 

Facilities at Silvan Reservoir Park

  • Electric/Gas BBQ
  • Playground
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Toilet
  • Gravel carpark
  • Sealed carpark

 

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Silvan Dam Picnic Area

Directly opposite the designated disabled parking bays within the park is the entrance to the BBQ and picnic area. There are picnic facilities in the open and under shelter. Both areas have accessible picnic tables for wheelchair users. A playground is located at the bottom of the carpark.

 

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Silvan Opening Hours

Non-daylight savings (AEST): 9am to 4:30pm daily.

Daylight savings (AEDT): Entrance gate open 9am to 6.30pm. Exit gate closes 7:30pm.

 

Silvan Reservoir Park Address

Silvan,

Victoria,

Australia

 

Silvan Reservoir Park Map

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What to See & Do at George Tindale Memorial Gardens

Overview

  • Features: Hill top garden for all seasons
  • Opening Times:  10am to 5pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In Spring (Sep to Nov)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: FREE
  • Address: 33 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Gardens
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Summary

Popular for walks and picnics, the George Tindale Memorial Gardens is a hill top garden for all seasons. It contains a marvellous blend of exotic plants, surrounded by scented gum trees and under a canopy of Mountain Ash.

George Tindale Memorial Gardens

 

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Popular for walks and picnics, the George Tindale Memorial Gardens is a hill top garden for all seasons. It contains a marvellous blend of exotic plants, surrounded by scented gum trees and under a canopy of Mountain Ash. The garden was created by research scientist George Tindale and his wife Ruth, who purchased the property in 1958. 

Today the garden is a reflection of George and Ruth Tindale’s vision of having a garden displaying something of interest all year round. The garden contains a number of plants rarely found in cultivation which are thriving in acidic soils, cool temperate climate and shaded conditions found in the Dandenong Ranges. Extensive collections of magnolias, rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, fuchsias, bulbs and hydrangeas will be easily recognisable to the garden enthusiast.

If you’re considering a visit to the George Tindale Memorial Gardens, continue reading below for what to see and do as well as the seasonal highlights for the season that you planning your visit.

 

What to See and Do at George Tindale Memorial Gardens

  • The national registered hydrangea collection of common and unusual shrubs, climbers and tree-like specimens
  • The sculptures on permanent display in the garden, of which two pieces are the works of Ruth Tindale
  • The Mature canopy of trees including the native Mountain Ash and the Monkey Puzzle on the front lawn are complemented by detailed plantings

 

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Seasonal Highlights at George Tindale Gardens

Spring bursts forth with a myriad of flowers from rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, camellias whilst the flowering bulbs in the rock garden are not to be missed.

Summer is cooling, with a marvellous collection of hydrangeas showing off their many shades of blue. Lilliums, fuchsias and summer flowering perennials are a colourful delight beneath the shady canopy of Mountain Ash.

Autumn shocks the senses with gold, red, orange and burgundy foliage on the many mature trees. Nerines, Autumn crocus and other bulbs will remind you that spring is not the only season for bulbs.

Winter will quietly expose the flowers of the Lenten Rose or Hellebore beneath other winter flowering shrubs.

 

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George Tindale Gardens Opening Hours

Open daily 10am – 5pm 

Closed Christmas Day

 

George Tindale Gardens Address

33 Sherbrooke Rd,

Sherbrooke,

Victoria,

Australia

 

George Tindale Gardens Entry Fee

FREE entry

 

George Tindale Memorial Gardens Map

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Things to See & Do at Mont De Lancey Homestead

Overview

  • Features: Historic homestead set in landscaped gardens
  • Opening Times: 10am to 4:30pm, Wed-Sun 
  • Best Time to Visit: Anytime
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Transport Options: Car
  • Cost: Adults $9.50, Concession $8, Family $21.50
  • Address: 71 Wellington Rd, Wandin, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Homestead
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Summary

The Mont De Lancey Homestead is a wonderful preserved house built in 1882 and set in landscaped gardens. The property includes a museum and a chapel among other charming attractions. 

Mont De Lancey Homestead

 

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The Mont De Lancey Homestead is a wonderful preserved house built in 1882 and set in landscaped gardens. The property includes a museum and a chapel among other charming attractions. 

If you’re considering a visit to Mont De Lancey, continue reading below to find out the top things you can see and do there on your next visit.

 

Top Things to See & Do at Mont De Lancey Homestead

1. Pioneer Homestead

The 1860s homestead is furnished with items from the homes of descendants of the pioneer families. The slab hut kitchen contains many household items of the era. There are also blacksmiths, woodturning and vintage machinery on show here.

2. Beautiful Gardens

The Mont De Lancey homestead is set in lawns graced by beautiful trees including a magnificent spreading oak.  Whether it be the rich rustic colours of autumn or come spring it’s blossom time, the white and pink of the flowering cherries and the purple of the lilacs make a stunning setting.

3. Museum

Take a step back in time to appreciate the family, working and social life of the pioneer families displayed  in a comprehensive collection of photographs and artefacts in the Museum.

4. Guided Tour

Visitors can enjoy a personally guided tour of the historic Homestead and slab kitchen, the beautiful gardens, St Mary’s Chapel, Blacksmiths and vintage Machinery with a volunteer. After your guided tour you can browse the grounds and extensive museum collection at your leisure.

5. Art Gallery

The Gallery contains a wide range of artworks ranging from Contemporary to Modern including works by artist from the Yarra Valley.

 

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Mont De Lancey Opening Hours

10:00am to 4:30pm, Wed to Sun

 

Mont De Lancey Address

71 Wellington Rd,

Wandin,

Victoria,

Australia

 

Mont De Lancey Entry Fee

Adults $9.50

Concession $8.00

Family (2 adults, 3 children) $21.50

Visit to Museum and Gallery only $5.50

 

Things to See & Do in Pirianda Gardens

Overview

  • Features: Beautiful woodland garden
  • Opening Times:  10am to 5pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In autumn (Mar to May)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: FREE
  • Address: Hacketts Rd, Olinda, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Gardens
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Summary

Pirianda Gardens is a beautiful woodland garden great for picnics and taking walks through the steep terraced gardens dotted with rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, camellias, hundreds of flowering plants and unusual trees.

Pirianda Gardens Dandenongs

 

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Pirianda Gardens is a beautiful woodland garden great for a picnics and for exploring steep terraced gardens dotted with rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, camellias, hundreds of flowering plants and unusual trees. Pirianda Gardens features beautiful spring displays but is renowned for its unsurpassed autumn colours and its fine tree collection.

Designed to take advantage of the steep slopes, the terraced gardens of Pirianda are distinctive for their combination of botanically important trees, shrubs and perennials with an over storey of large Blackwoods and Mountain Ash towering over the natural fern gullies.

Pirianda Gardens is particularly beautiful in autumn when the trees change colour to the many hues of orange, red and yellow.

Enjoy magnificent views and tranquil walks, bird watching, photography and picnicking on the lawns of Pirianda Gardens. You may even come across some deer as you walk along the paths.

 

Collections at Pirianda Gardens

Pirianda Garden features such delights as 28 different types of maples and 13 birch varieties. Collections of magnolias, eucryphias, rhododendrons, clethra, styrax, pieris, viburnums and many conifers can also be seen.

Three specimens of the unusual and haunting Chinese Handkerchief Tree (Davidia involucrate) are located here. They flower annually in early November. The large bracts are up to 12cm long, pure white and conspicuous when waving in the wind. The sight of these trees in flower is reason enough to visit Pirianda Gardens.

Other unusual plants include members of the aceae plant family, Franklinia spp and Stewartia spp which are both attractive and rarely seen specimen plants. Both species have delicate and beautiful flowers and are related to the better known camellias.

 

Things to See & Do in Pirianda Gardens

As you enter the garden, you will pass through a grassy area containing many northern hemisphere trees rarely cultivated in Australia.

Below this top terrace the bog garden leads past finely terraced walls built from local stone during the Ansell’s time.

At the base of the garden, the natural fern gully is dominated by Blackwoods and Soft and Rough Tree Ferns, providing a shady haven during summer.

 

Seasonal Highlights at Pirianda Gardens

Spring: rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, camellias, dogwoods, Dove Tree and spring bulbs

Summer: Mock Orange, Eucryphia, Clethra, Hydrangeas and NSW Christmas bush

Autumn: Spectacular autumn foliage colours of a wide variety of exotic trees and shrubs, including the unusual sight of Franklinia alatamaha which flowers on leafless branches

Winter: Luculia, Witch Hazel, camellias and early rhododendrons

 

Pirianda Gardens Opening Hours

Open daily 10am – 5pm 

Closed Christmas Day

 

Pirianda Gardens Address

Hacketts Rd,

Olinda,

Victoria,

Australia

 

Pirianda Gardens Entry Fee

FREE entry

 

Pirianda Gardens Map

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A Self-Guided Tour Through Cloudehill Gardens & Nursery

Overview

  • Features: Garden rooms, nursery & restaurant
  • Opening Times:  9am tp 5pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In Spring (Sep to Nov)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: A$10 for adults, children free
  • Address: 89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, Olinda, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Gardens
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Summary

Visit Cloudehill Gardens & Nursery in Olinda, Dandenong Ranges and wander a maze of jewel-like garden rooms, explore the nursery with rare plants and garden art and take in the glorious views as you dine at their Seasons Restaurant.

Cloudehill Gardens Olinda

 

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The Cloudehill Gardens & Nursery is another gem waiting to be explored among the nurseries, parks and gardens in the Dandenong Ranges. A visit to these gardens will see you wandering a maze of jewel-like garden rooms: bluebell meadows, summer borders, a ‘Green Theatre’ and historic Rhododendron woodlands.

There is also a nursery with rare plants and garden art as well as glorious views to be had from the ‘Seasons Restaurant’ located on the premises. Twilight concerts are held here in summer. 

 

Cloudehill Gardens Self-Guided Tour

To experience the best of Cloudehill Gardens, a tour is a must. Cloudehill provide group tours (see Cloudehill Tours) or you can opt for a self-guided tour by following the map and directions below.

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A Diggers Shop and entrance garden, aka ‘Bambouserie’ – a collection of cool temperate bamboos, at their best 12 months of the year. Apart from the black bamboo, there are two golden bamboos: Phyllostachys bambusoides Holochrysa and P. vivax Aureocaulis. You can also find the lovely Sinobabusa tootsik albostriata with creamy variegated leaves here.

B Restaurant Walk – a mixed border, especially good in spring and summer. Structure is provided by a clipped dome-shaped camellia and standard bays rising from a hedge of Rosa rugosa Scabrosa. Look for the lovely ‘wedding cake shrub: Cornus alternilfolia Argentea with silvery-cream layers of foliage, and also the striking lace-leaf maple: Acer palmatum Dissectum Group Emerald Lace.

C The Commedia dell’arte Lawn – cut out sculpture figures float above strips of rough grass which are full of South African bulbs flowering in spring and early summer. Two glorious and rare Japanese shrubs, Enkianthus perulatus, flank the steps at the base of this meadow. These were imported from Japan in the 1920s.

D The Water Garden – is flanked by hornbeam hedges. These are under-planted with American Oakleaf Hydrangeas and ornamental grasses. The bronze ‘nymph of the grot’ pours water into the temple pond. The main pond hosts a collection of grassy aquatics grown in pots and the porcelain fountain is by Ted Secombe.

E The Warm borders – these are mixed borders, though largely herbaceous plants flowering in reds, oranges and plenty of yellows. They’re at their best from late November through to early March, and ‘autumn effects’ make them interesting through to winter. The hedge is copper beech and the purple-leafed shrubs with heart-shaped leaves are pollarded Canadian Redbuds: the dramatic Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy.

F The Maple Court – these two trees are of international significance. They were imported from the famous Yokohama Trading Nursery by Ted Woolrich in 1928 and planted on the outskirts of the garden, then moved to their present location in 1992. The garden is constructed around them. On the railings we have grape vines: Vitis cognetiae and the rare Teinturier grape, V. vinifera Purpurea.

G The Cool Borders – again, mixed borders, at their best from late spring to early autumn. Herbaceous plants are selected for pastel colours, though some crimson and purple and a little creamy-yellow is used. The hedge is Thuya occidentalis Fastigiata, and to each side is a weeping silver pear: Pyrus salicifolia Pendula. The magnolia hanging over the far end is the tremendously vigorous, M. kobus.

H The Summer House Garden – an Enkianthus campanulatus overhangs the Hawthorn brick pavilion, while to the other side is the long-flowering blood-red Rhododendron arboreum Delavayi (the floral emblem of Nepal). Below we have a Tricolour beech: Fagus sylvatica Roseomarginata, and a Fernleaf Beech: Fagus s. Asplenifolia. Both these outstanding trees came from England in 1928.

I Quadrangle Lawn – this place is used to display a sculpture which looks lovely against the collection of topiary made from several different types of box. Between the topiary box at the western end are clumps of Gillenia trifoliata while behind the sphinx bench is the legendary Japanese Botan Tree Peonies. The steps lead to a vista running down to the Theatre and clear across the garden to the Upper Meadow.

J Marquee Lawn – the marquee here is available for special events such as wedding ceremonies. The shrub borders to each side are at their best through all the warmer months while hanging above there’s an enormous hedge of an ancient ‘picking’ Rhododendron, planted by Jim Woolrich for supplying flowers to the wholesale florist market.

K The Gallery Walk – mixed shrub borders, flowering spring to early summer and perennials good for later summer. Many of the roses are Scotch briars, forms of Rosa spinosissima, with black hips and brightly tinted autumn leaves. Look for the Rock’s tree Peony. Its flowers are immense and crystalline-white with purple-black hearts. Here, stone plinths are used for a rotating display of sculpture and garden art.

L The Peony Pavilion – the pots hereabouts and the banks to each side are filled with woodlanders: hostas, astilbes, and the legendary Paris polyphylla. Two columns of golden fastigiate beech, Fagus s. Dawyck Gold frames the view to a copse of Mountain Ash growing next door, and a collection of American lutea hybrid tree peonies grow in the beds below.

M The Shade Borders – three clipped conifers dominate the top end of this area: the weeping Pinus strobus Pendula, and a tradionally topiaried English yew: Taxus baccata, and finally a glorious cloud-pruned Japanese black pine: Pinus thunbergii Yatsubusa. Shade is thrown by a big Japanese Silverbell and an American tulip tree. Below there are shade loving shrubs such as species hydrangeas and variegated camellias.

N The Theatre Lawn – this lawn pays homage to classic theatres in Roman and Greek gardens, and especially to theatres in the Italian renaissance gardens. The lawn is perfect for picnickers attending Shakespearean Twilight Evenings in summer. The huge copper beech is from England and dates from 1928, and the colossal tapestry hedge comprises green and copper beech, planted for cut foliage production in the 1950s.

O The Azalea Steps – to each side are perfumed deciduous azaleas and the trees are green and copper beech except, just for fun, a couple of southern beech, New Zealand Nothofagus sps. The steps lead to a Villa D’Este urn and behind, the rare and exquisite Rhododendron schlippinbachii with pink blooms on bare twigs in September. Below this, there’s a thicket of the wonderful American mountain laurel: Kalmia latifolia.

P The Seasons Glade – ‘the Seasons’ is by Leopoldine Mimovich. Above the stone wall are a row of witch hazels, garden varieties of Hamamelis, and the tall starry maple is Acer cappadocium. Below are original old tree ferns gathered from all over the garden and planted as a grove back in 1992.

Q Upper Meadow – under the apple tree planted in the early days by Jim Woolrich is a colony of an ancient double daffodil. This slope is thick with bulbs, Grape Hyacinths in Aug-Sep; bluebells Sep-Oct, then South Africans through late spring and much of summer. There are daffodils everywhere throughout spring. All these bulbs were planted by Jim in the 1930s. These meadows are astonishing much of the year.

R Beech Walk – These copper beech were planted for flower farm foliage production in the 1960s. They’re wonderful in fresh leaf with bluebells thick below in Sep-Oct, and gloriously coppery-gold in Apr-May. The broad path carries on between banks of various Japanese Miscanthus sinensis varieties to a limey-green garden bench under a giant hedge of the camellia-leafed holly: Ilex aquifolium Camelliafolia.

S Lower Meadow – again, this slope is rich with long-established bulbs and the meadow grass: Yorkshire Fog handily concealing dying leaves with its pinky-mauve flowers in early summer. Overhanging the entrance to our next-door neighbour’s Rangeview Garden is a huge Chinese Yulan Tree: Magnolia denudata. In August this glorious tree produces enormous clouds of chalice-shaped creamy-white blooms.

T Kitchen Garden – our demonstration pottager. Above is a ‘Belgium Fence’ planted to Malus Georgous, with a weeping Chinese apricot: Prunus mume Pendula at one end covering itself in wonderfully perfumed pink flowers all winter. It then ripens astringent fruit, good for sauces. The Lavender hedge is a lovely culinary form of English lavender: Lavendula angustifolia Bridestowe Philippa.

 

Cloudehill Gardens Opening Hours

Open daily 9am – 5pm 

 

Cloudehill Gardens Address

89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd,

Olinda,

Victoria,

Australia

 

Cloudehill Gardens Entry Fee

Adults – A$10

Children – FREE

 

 

Top Things to See & Do at the Alfred Nicholas Gardens

Overview

  • Features: Public gardens with lovely water features
  • Opening Times:  10am tp 5pm, daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In Spring (Sep to Nov)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: FREE
  • Address: 1A Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Gardens
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Summary

Popular for walks, picnics and birdwatching by the lake, the Alfred Nicholas Gardens features rock walls, waterfalls, upper pools and the magnificent lake with the original boathouse. 

Alfred Nicholas Gardens Sherbrooke

 

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Popular for walks, picnics and birdwatching by the lake, the Alfred Nicholas Gardens are the original gardens of the ‘historic Burnam Beeches estate’. 

Established in 1929 as part of the historic Burnham Beeches Estate, Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens has extensive water features with waterfalls, an ornamental lake with the original boathouse and the George Tindale Memorial Garden, with flowering plants beneath Mountain Ash trees. The original Nicholas family home (built 1920s) is located here.

Many of the detailed plantings have been lost over the years but the structure of the garden remains and is emphasised by the many rock walls, waterfalls, upper pools and the magnificent lake.

 

Top Things to See & Do at the Alfred Nicholas Gardens

  • Walks – Linking paths through the gardens take you beneath the canopy of the awesome Mountain Ash trees. Walks are on gravel requiring a degree of fitness
  • Picnics – Walk down to the picturesque lake and picnic by the quaint boathouse
  • Bird-watching by the lake
  • In spring, view the flowering azaleas, cherry trees and viburnum
  • Another point of interest within the garden is the intriguing sculpture by Mark Stoner located next to the gazebo

 

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Seasonal Highlights at the Alfred Nicholas Gardens

The gardens will delight visitors all year round.

In Spring, the gardens are blooming with rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias, kalmias and flowering cherries on the lake.

Summer is the time to see hydrangeas, fuchsias, native ferns, rhododendrons and native terrestrial orchids.

In Autumn, the foliage of maples, beech and the famous golden ginkgos on the lake is stunning.

In Winter, you will see camelias and the early rhododendrons.

 

Alfred Nicholas Gardens Opening Hours

Open daily, 10am – 5pm 

Closed Christmas Day

 

Alfred Nicholas Gardens Address

1A Sherbrooke Rd,

Sherbrooke,

Victoria,

Australia

 

Alfred Nicholas Gardens Entry Fee

FREE entry

 

Alfred Nicholas Gardens Map

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SkyHigh Mount Dandenong

Overview

  • Features: Exquisite views, bistro/restaurant, maze and stunning gardens
  • Opening Times: 9am-10pm, Mon-Thu; 9am – 10:30pm, Fri; 8am-11pm, Sat; 8am – 10pm, Sun
  • Best Time to Visit: Dinner (for spectacular views)
  • Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: Gate entry A$6 a car
  • Address: 26 Observatory Rd, Mt Dandenong, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Restaurant, Lookout
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Summary

Visit SkyHigh Mount Dandenong for exquisite views, BBQs, bistro/restaurant, function & events, maze and stunning gardens.

 

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong

 

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There is plenty to see and do at SkyHigh Mount Dandenong. Bring the kids and enjoy a family day out or head out on a romantic drive. Get lost in the SkyHigh Maze, visit Percy The Possum’s House, Australiana Tree, Giant’s Chair, dine at the SkyHigh Restaurant, visit the Secret Garden or just enjoy the stunning view at the Mt Dandenong Lookout.

 

SkyHigh Restaurant Dandenong

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The SkyHigh Restaurant in Mount Dandenong is a bistro/restaurant offering the best of modern Australian cuisine in a relaxed environment with beautiful views. The Bistro opens for kiosk food and drinks from 9:30am weekdays and 8:30am on weekends and public holidays. Lunch starts at 12pm and dinner at 6pm daily. Lunch and dinner reservations are recommended.

For bookings, visit SkyHigh Restaurant.

 

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong Opening Hours

Open 7 days a daily including public holidays

9am – 10pm, Mon-Thu 

9am – 10:30pm, Fri

8am-11pm, Sat

8am – 10pm, Sun 

 

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong Address

26 Observatory Rd,

Mt Dandenong,

Victoria,

Australia

 

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong Map

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Mt Dandenong Lookout

Overview

  • Features: Lookout over Melbourne city skyline
  • Opening Times:  9am-10pm, Mon-Thu; 9am-10:30pm, Fri; 8am-11pm, Sat; 8am-10pm, Sun
  • Best Time to Visit: At night
  • Duration: 30 mins
  • Transport Options: Train/bus, car
  • Cost: A$6 per car
  • Address: 26 Observatory Rd, Mt Dandenong, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Lookout
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Summary

Visit Mt Dandenong Lookout for spectacular views of the Melbourne skyline; combine a visit to the nearby Mount Dandenong Observatory or the SkyHigh Restaurant and make it a fun day out with the family. 

 

Mt Dandenong Lookout

 

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A visit to the Dandenong Ranges is incomplete without a visit to the Mt Dandenong Lookout. Located at the Mount Dandenong Observatory, the lookout provides spectacular views over Melbourne and its surroundings; in fact, it is one of the top Melbourne lookouts, and visitors and locals alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see the skyline of this cosmopolitan city from this viewing point. The Mt Dandenong Lookout is nestled on the peak at 633 metres above sea-level, and is also the highest lookout in the region. 

SkyHigh Mount Dandenong is also located nearby which can be visited at the same time. Visitors can dine or grab some snacks at the beautiful Sky High Restaurant whilst checking out the panoramic views of the region.

There are also picnic and barbecue facilities at the Mt Dandenong Lookout so you can take the family and make it a fun day out. 

 

Mt Dandenong Lookout Opening Hours

Open 7 days a week including public holidays 

9am – 10pm, Mon-Thu 

9am – 10:30pm, Fri

8am-11pm, Sat

8am – 10pm, Sun 

 

Mt Dandenong Lookout Address

26 Observatory Road,

Mt Dandenong,

Victoria,

Australia

 

Mt Dandenong Lookout Entry Fee

Gate fee of $6 per car applies

 

 

Why You Should Visit RJ Hamer Arboreturm in the Dandenong Ranges

Overview

  • Features: An arboretum of rare and exotic trees
  • Opening Times:  Daily
  • Best Time to Visit: In Spring (Sep to Nov)
  • Duration: 2 to 3 hours
  • Transport Options: Train, car
  • Cost: FREE
  • Address: Chalet Rd, Olinda, Victoria, Australia
  • Type: Gardens
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Summary

The RJ Hamer Arboretum provides a wonderful area for recreation or relaxation. Visitors can enjoy quiet contemplation of the magnificent view, the social atmosphere of a traditional Australian barbecue, or walk along the numerous tracks.

RJ Hamer Arboretum Olinda

 

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The RJ Hamer Arboretum in the Dandenong Ranges was created following a fire in 1962 which resulted in the planting of an exotic forest arboretum using trees from Europe, America and Asia. The resulting arboretum is worth a visit for its excellent walking tracks through 100 hectares of rare and exotic trees. Here you will find over 150 species of native and exotic trees in plantations designed to represent forests, creating a patchwork effect over the hills.

The RJ Hamer Arboretum was named after the premier of Victoria from 1972 – 1981, Sir Rupert Hamer. The arboretum was originally established to provide an area for passive recreation (walking and picnicking) within an environment of varied specimens chosen for their interesting flowers and foliage.

Take a quiet, peaceful stroll along the many walking tracks and roads of RJ Hamer Arboretum and take in the tranquil beauty and stunning scenery across the Yarra Valley out to the Warburton Ranges and beyond.

The majestic gums and oaks and the ornamental willows and birches are at their best in the summer. A rich array of autumn colours provides spectacular views, from the fiery red, oranges and crimsons of the liquid ambers and maples, to the subtle paling of the deciduous conifers. In winter, the tranquil resting of the deciduous trees contrasting with the early flowering species among a mystic lake of low hanging clouds, offers viewing delight.

 

5 Reasons to Visit RJ Hamer Arboretum

  • There are excellent walking tracks through 100 hectares of rare and exotic trees
  • The tranquil beauty and stunning scenery across the Yarra Valley out to the Warburton Ranges and beyond is amazing
  • In summer, you will find the majestic gums and oaks and the ornamental willows and birches at their best
  • Visit in autumn for a rich array of colours, spectacular views and a subtle paling of the deciduous conifers
  • A visit to RJ Hamer Arboretum is free

 

Seasonal Highlights of RJ Hamer Arboretum

Summer

From the majestic gums and oaks, to the ornamental willows and birches, they are all at their best in the summer.

Autumn

A rich array of autumn colours provide spectacular views. From the fiery red, oranges and crimsons of the liquid ambers and maples, to the subtle paling of the deciduous conifers.

Winter

The tranquil resting of the deciduous trees, contrasted with the early flowering species offer viewing delight.

Spring

The flowering beauty of so many species in the arboretum create a kaleidoscope of colours worthy of many international gardens.

 

RJ Hamer Arboretum Opening Hours

Open daily 

 

RJ Hamer Arboretum Address

Chalet Rd, 

Olinda,

Victoria,

Australia

(Shortly after turn-off to Rhododendron Gardens)

 

RJ Hamer Arboretum Entry Fee

FREE entry

 

RJ Hamer Arboretum Map

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