Thursday, May 03, 2007


View of Melbourne from atop of Mount Dandenong

For over 100 years the Dandenongs and the Yarra Valley have been a traditional Summer retreat for people from Melbourne. These ranges, 50 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne, are a renowned beauty area and tourist attraction.
There are a number of pretty townships dotted throughout the hills. Many of the gracious old homes have now been converted into guest houses and restaurants. The Yarra Valley, in particular, boasts the best Wineries with restaurants that also serve local produce ( I know of this especially due to colleagues going on wine tours in the Yarra Valley....well, nurses do love their wine....right?)
'Skyhigh Restaurant' atop of the Mount Dandenong
The entire area is famous for its beautiful gardens and for its great variety of European trees. These are particularly attractive in the Spring and Autumn. Many excellent restaurants and galleries aswell as antique shops are ideally placed for a relaxed day out from Melbourne. Avid birdwatchers would also enjoy a tour of the area, you can even hand feed some of the birds in some locations.

By far, my favourite place of all to visit is the William Rickett’s Sanctuary on Mount Dandenong Road is a natural forest area in which Rickett’s, a musician and naturalist, has sculptured in clay a number of Aboriginal figures and symbolic scenes. It is believed there are over 93 sculptures in total. From 1934 until his death in 1993, William Rickett continued to work on his masterpieces.

Puffing Billy, one of the Dandenongs most popular tourist attractions, leaves from Belgrave and travels 13 kilometres to Emerald Lake. This little train, loved by children of all shapes and sizes (yes, adults too!) is pulled by the only surviving locomotive that was designed for narrow guage tracks. The locomotive celebrated its Centenary in the year 2000.
Emerald Lake

Silvan is a pretty township located in the Dandenongs, it has the annual Tesselaar Tulip Festival. This has been going on for 53 years now and growing larger in popularity by the year. The history of how the Tesselaar Tulip Farm came about can be read HERE. It is a wonderful place to go and just relax.

There is so much more I could mention here, but it would be too long a post. So, when in Melbourne, pay a visit to the Dandenongs, its beauty and its history will not dissapoint you.


MrsCoach2U said...

You always leave me longing for a passport and a packed bag! I hope to see some of these in person some day!

Metal Mark said...

Nice pictures.

Queen of Dysfunction said...

As usual, your photos and virtual guide make me want to live in Australia. The sculptures are gorgeous!

Wow. Just wow.

poody said...

what fun and it looks loveley I want to go !

Stace said...

I used to get myself up there quite often, so you're making me miss the area... I haven't been in ages. I keep subtly mentioning it to Aidan, but I might give up on subtlety and try the sledgehammer approach instead!! :)

Jay said...

You are a great virtual tour guide Cazzie!

Andrew said...

I have always known it as Emerald Lake, but in a book someone recently leant me, History of the Dandenongs, it has a photo captioned Lake Treganowan, Emerald Park. It looks like the same lake to me. I would guess that the name fell into disuse. Nice work as always Cazzie.

Keshi said...

I'd def go there next time Im in Mel. tnxx Caz it's a beauty! Love the pics.


Aidan said...

i think stace wants me to take her up the dandenongs i have this strange feeling she is trying to coax me up there... that and a sledge hammer aimed at my head...

I do like the dandenongs but havnt been on puffing billy since i was a young fella, all i remember is lots of ash with my head out the window.

tony said...

It looks a wonderful place.Gives me itchy feet just reading about it! Great photos too.
Regards & Thanks From

Steph said...

What an awesome place. It's almost spiritual in it's beauty.

Beefcake Almighty said...

I love my wine like a fat kid loves cake.

LPC said...

The pictures are nice.

rosemary said...

Beautiful although I must admit the train looks a bit precarious on those tracks. Yes, we nurses do like wine. We want to see Australia on our next big trip if we can.

Bibi said...

Those sculptures are fantastic. I'm going to have to get over there one day!

When I was in England in Feb, they had a show on about Brits moving to Australia and it looked wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Cazzie.

Lovely sights and interesting background. Gets the travel bug buzzing again!

Eternally Curious said...

I love those statues! Wow!

Cazzie!!! said...

Mrs Coach, that would be cool :)

Metal Mark, thanks mate.

QOD, yes, the sculptures are my favourite :)

Poody, come on down :)

Stace, it is just like when I go for a trip up bush where my AUnt lives, I am drawn t it, and I never wanna leave :( LOL at the sledge hammer..

Jay, thanks.

Andrew, I love that this post brings up all sorts of things we never knew..thanks for shining light on this, it sure is interesting. Wondering if the locals know anything more than this. I may ask my Grandpa as he raised my dad up there in the hills at Silvan.

Keshi, cool, come through soon.

Aidan, yes, that I also my memory, I forgot about that..the ash in the hair and up the nostrils, hehe, a train enthusiasts dream.

Tony, yes, the travel bug gets to me when I read some of the other blogs about the place too. Especially my friend Ginnie (in my blogroll), she has been everywhere!!

Steph, such apt words young laydeee, yes indeedy.

Beefcake, LOL, as much as the Pope is Catholic and Bears shit in the woods hey, haha.

lPC, welcome and thankyou.

Rosemary, I know, the short width of the track does make it all look procarious for sure. I haven't had a drop of wine in a very long time, over 2 years, but I do have the occasional ouzo and cola. Maybe time to hve a small drop of wine, there is so much to offer here in Victoria now too.

Bibi, that would be great if you came, we could show you around and even have picnics too.
Most of the English people tend to go to Perth in Western Australia. They love the climate there. When we went to Perth as torists, we met many English residents, they absolutely love the place.

Winters, oh no, is that a good thing I got the bug going for you again? I hope so :)

Etenally Curious, ditto.

Ginnie said...

Cazzie: I always enjoy your history lessons and would love to get to Melbourne & pay a visit to the Dandenongs.
If you see a round-trip ticket floating around...just send it to me and I'll be on the next plane. Barring that, I guess I'll just have to live vicariously through your posts! Thanks.

Cazzie!!! said...

Ginnie, no worries, I will do my best to deliver great posts every Friday :) I have afew more great things up my sleeve for the coming Friday's History Posts from our area of Victoria.

Princess Banter said...

Oh my, how lovely! I'll be visiting Melbourne this July... I'll surely take note of your tips ;) Thanks!

Shelley said...

Wow! I'll be right over. ;)

pink ginger 珂琳 said...

Interesting info and I enjoyed reading it.
have a nice weekend

Cazzie!!! said...

Princess and Shelley, come on down :)

Pink Ginger, heya girl, hope your weekend was great too :)

homo escapeons said...

What a coincidence, back in the 70s I went to high school with a guy named Puffing Billy!

Quit making Australia look so damned picture perfect! It's hard enough convincing myself that I have to voluntarily endure 6 months of freezing temperatures and stark isolation every Winter.
All of these Edenic travelogues make me feel even worse about living in a climate that alternates between Pluto and Mercury every six months. Must you be so cruel?

Why didn't my grandfathers emigrate there dammit!

Menchie said...

oh wow! I know Puffing Billy! We rode that train when we were there for a visit. :D

G-Man said...

Great info as always Cazzie, I love Aussi Wine!
Awesome post....xoxox

Andrew said...

And of course all the info was there on then on the net where I should have checked.

Stefanie said...

Wow Cazzie, I now have another thing to add to my "to do list" when I go to Melbourne one Day. This, plus the Great Ocean Road. Hugs, Stef