Spring at Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens
Any time of year is a good one to visit the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens. But if you have to pick one, make it spring, when hundreds of thousands of buds burst into a bloom of riotous colours.
The Australian Rhododendron Society established the garden in 1960 in order to show off the species (which is endemic to the Northern Hemisphere) in all its brilliance, before handing stewardship to Parks Victoria in 1995. Its team of groundskeepers now maintains some 15,000 rhododendrons, 12,000 azaleas (a sub-species of rhododendron), 3,000 camellias and 25,000 daffodils spread over 42 hectares, with a tranquil lake in the middle. At least 50 rare and endangered rhododendron species are preserved here, meaning the garden has international importance.
Some five kilometres of sealed paths ramble through the site, giving you plenty of opportunity to explore. The Dandenongs' rich volcanic soils and high annual rainfall ensure plants of all sorts thrive here. Apart from the rhododendrons, there are cherry trees, ferns, hydrangeas and magnolias. Towards the back of the garden, don't miss Serenity Point, an east-facing vantage with 270-degree views over the Yarra Valley.
No dogs permitted.
Open daily 10am–4.30pm