Autumn in the Dandenongs

Victoria had a long weekend recently, so we took advantage and headed up the mountain for a picnic lunch.  We live a stones throw from Mount Dandenong, and it is such a beautiful place to live.  We decided to head to the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, in Sassafras.  I have never been there before, which is amazing, given I grew up in the area!  

So we drove up the mountain, winding our way past the huge line of cars and people who had decided to visit the Dandenong Ranges National Park and, I’m assuming, the 1000 steps Kokoda Memorial Trail.  Yep, you heard right, the 1000 steps.  Have you been there?  It is a three km 1.5 hour return walk, that was created in the early 1900’s and was adopted by Victoria Veterans of the Kokoda campaign (WW2).  Apparently, the walk is very similar to the first 100 metres of the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea.  People were parked for miles up the road!  

Alfred Nicholas Gardens

We kept going though, and found ourselves at the lovely Alfred Nicholas Gardens.  They’re amazing, and we didn’t even get to see the majority of them.  Because, you know, small children.  We took a picnic and a pram, but the next time we go, I would not take the pram and I would pack the picnic in a back pack.  The paths are great, and if you need a pram, they are definitely suitable, but it would have been easier without I think.  Unfortunately they were draining the lake for maintenance when we visited, but there was still a lot to see.  Ms 3 insisted we would find fairies, and took along her wings to help the search. 

Autumn in the Dandenongs

 The paths lead down to the lake, and to a boat house, and to a fabulous large space, where the kids just wanted to run and run.  They found a ‘fairy’ tree, they were amazed by the size of the trees and it was just so wonderfully quiet and peaceful.  Just gorgeous. 

Autumn in the Dandenongs

Fairy Tree

 If you’re in Melbourne, and haven’t been, I recommend making the drive up the mountain.  Especially now, as we head into Autumn.  The colours are always amazing this time of year, and I think we’ll be taking another trip soon.  Plus, all that walking tuckered out the little ones! 

Alfred Nicholas Gardens

Do you like to take breaks in your own backyard?  Tell me about it! 

  • I am not local to the Dandenongs so I’ll have to make a special visit to check them out one day. You have reminded me to explore more of my home region (Newcastle NSW) I sometimes just forget to do – it’s sad when such beauty is close by and you neglect to make the most of it?

    • Kirsty, I know! I think sometimes we get so used to things that we can’t see how special they are. Thanks for stopping by xx

  • Aw, this is such a lovely post and your images are gorgeous. This really takes me back…I used to live in Melbourne and loved visiting the Dandenongs too. Hope to get back there some day soon. Thanks for sharing this precious place with us. (stopping by with FYBF).

    • Thanks for your lovely words Tonia 🙂 They’re such a beautiful place, I feel a lot of gratitude that we’re able to live so close 🙂

  • I have often wished we lived closer to Mount Dandenong. It always look stunning in peoples accounts. I would love to tackle the 1000 steps too, when I’m errr not quite so knocked up!
    Looks like a delightful spot for family outing xx

    • Oh yes Vicki, definitely when your are less knocked up!!! But some of the gardens around the area are amazing, and not so challenging as the 1000 steps 🙂

  • I live close to the Dandenongs too. Most school holidays I tend to take my girls up in the hills to explore the quaint shopping strips, have lunch in a cafe and breathe in the fresh mountain air but I haven’t been to these gardens yet either. I’ve added it to my to do this for a future school holiday trip – sounds like a lovely place for a picnic.

    • Erika, I love those little shopping strips too! I’m glad it’s on your list for a visit now, they were just lovely. Make sure you go when the lake isn’t being drained though!! Haha, that would be our luck 🙂

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