Recommended duration: One day
Total distance: Melbourne – Olinda – Melbourne, 95 kilometres
Driving time: Melbourne – Olinda – Melbourne, 2 hours
Feel the bustle and fast pace of the city fall away as you follow the winding road up through the thick, tall forests and cool fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges.
Tall trees and grand gardens
Explore the towering forests of mountain ash trees firsthand in Sherbrooke Forest, and visit the area's famous gardens according to the season.
See the spectacular sight of thousands of rhododendrons in bloom in early spring. The mountain retreat of the George Tindale Gardens is at its best in summer, while the huge old trees of the Alfred Nicholas Gardens look glorious in their autumn colours. Find the half-hidden clay sculptures of Aboriginal figures among rocks and tree ferns at William Ricketts Sanctuary, not far along the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road.
Take tea in the villages before boarding a very famous train
Stop for a famous Devonshire tea, or sit down for a leisurely meal at one of the great eateries dotted through the Dandenong Ranges' lively villages. Browse the antique shops and art galleries.
Stretch your legs and climb aboard Australia's oldest steam train, Puffing Billy. The historic train chugs 25 kilometres from Belgrave to Emerald Lake and on to Gembrook. Time your train ride to enjoy morning or afternoon tea or enjoy a first-class meal in the refurbished dining cars as a great way to end a memorable day in the Dandenong Ranges.