Melbourne to Dandenong Ranges Itinerary

via Yarra Valley, Dandenongs and The Ranges.

Day 1: Melbourne - Belgrave - Mt Dandenong

Distance 57km Approx drive time 1 hour

Allow an hour's drive from Melbourne along the Burwood Highway to Belgrave, where each day the Puffing Billy Steam Railway winds through the forests and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges National Park. When your return, wander the villages of The Dandenongs, where a bric-a-brac, crafts and antiques abound. Linger at one of the many quaint tea rooms and casual safes for a specialty of the region, a "Devonshire Tea". Feed the crimson rosellas at Grant Picnic Ground, while garden lovers should visit one of the many nurseries for beautiful local gardens. A stroll amongst rhododendroms and azaleas at the National Rhododendrom Gardnes or the sculptures at William Ricketts Sanctuary is a must.

Day 2: Mt Dandenong - Healsville - Yarra Valley

Distance 28km Approx drive time 30 minutes

Over to the Yarra Valley. For those who enjoy an early rise, a hot air balloon ride at dawn followed by a champagne breakfast is the way to start, or, if you enjoy a sleep in, head to Healsville Sanctuary. With over 200 native animals, it is a must see. Now it's time to explore the will known wineries of the Yarra Valley. There are over 35 cellar doors to choose from, including famous names such as Domaine Chandon, Fergusson, De Bortoli, Yering Station, Coldstream Hills and Eyton on Yarra. Magnificent settings, award winning wines, with many wineries featuring a restaurant serving local produce.

A visit to the Yarra Valley Dairy to sample the local cheeses is recommended, or you should thread your way through the Toolangi Hills to the Forest Discovery Centre or unearth some real Australian history with a visit to the Singing Garden of CJ Dennis - immortalized by his famous poem "The Sentimental Bloke". Don't forget to take time for local potteries too.

Day 3: Marysville - Warburton - Melbourne

Distance 95km Approx drive time 1 hour and 45 minutes

Make your way along the Maroondah Highway and over the Black Spur to Marysville. This delightful town has lots to see and do, including a vintage car museum and Bruno's Art Gallery - where you are transported into a world of imagination inhabited by kindly spirits and cheeky gremlins. Specialty stores, wild waterfalls and autumn colours make Marysville a must visit. You'll see why locals call it the "Mystic Mountains". Australia's best cross country snowfield, Lake Mountains is also close by. Take the scenic drive to Warburton via some spectacular sites - don't miss climbing the tower at Mt Donna Buang, where you can see for miles. Stretch your legs for a walk along the meandering Yarra River at Warburton or stroll through the village shops. Then travel the Warburton Highway, where you will be tempted to stray off the road to visit more wineries such as the Yarra Burn Winery, as you head back to Melbourne.

Suggested Accommodation

· Chateau Yering
· The Sebel Heritage Yarra Valley

Mt Dandenong Puffing Billy Dandenong Ranges Dandenong Ranges & Tall Trees Sebel Heritage Exterior Chateau Yering Exterior