The Dandenong Ranges are home to many established that are particularly spectacular in spring and autumn. Wander amid huge rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and daffodils in the and enjoy an ornamental lake surrounded by mountain ash, gingko, maple and liquid amber trees at the . Ponder Aboriginal spirituality as you discover the sculptures of Aboriginal people tucked among the ferns of the tranquil . Admire the kaleidoscope of colour at the (early September to early October) and check out the 20 English “garden rooms” of . You’ll find a patchwork of 150 species of native and exotic trees at the , and kids will love the hedge maze at , which also has fabulous views over Melbourne.
Go for a ride on the Puffing Billy steam train
Breathe in the cool mountain air through the open-sided carriages of one of the world’s finest preserved steam railways as it wends its way for 24 kilometres (15 miles) through the tall mountain ash forests and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges. trundles along timber bridges, stops at historic, small-town railway stations and offers views of farmland all the way to Port Phillip Bay. You can even dangle your legs over the side of the open carriages (kids love it). There are also special train journeys including lunch and dinner in fully enclosed, first-class dining carriages.