Mount Dandenong is not only a mountain, it is also a quaint township. It is situated between the tourist towns of Olinda and Kalorama in the Dandenong Ranges. In the 2006 Census Mount Dandenong was recorded as having a population of approximately 1,276. The Mount Dandenong community doesn’t have commercial centre as such but they have plenty of restaurants and stylish accommodation options available that are situated along the forest roads. Due to its closeness to Melbourne and the ideal situation, Mount Dandenong is the home to numerous television and radio transmission towers.
Mount Dandenong is home to the Dandenong Ranges National Park that offers a broad range of walking tracks and a scenic mountainous environment. The Mount Dandenong Observatory is the premier tourist attraction within the area. At certain times of the year light to moderate snowfalls occur in Mount Dandenong. Christmas Day 2006 witnessed an unusual summer snow fall take place in the area.
Day Tours in Mount Dandenong
Mount Dandenong is only 35km east away from Melbourne’s CBD, positioning it as the perfect get away. Here are some activities you can check out in Mount Dandenong during your next day visit to the area:
- Puffing Billy
Puffing Billy is considered as an iconic and historic steam train. Passengers can sit on the ledges of the carriage and dangle their legs outside as the train puff its way from Belgrave up to Gembrook. You can make a stop and hop-off / hop-on at several stops like the Emerald Lake and enjoy a quick picnic and a walk.
Special train rides are available during special events, just be sure to take a look at the Puffing Billy website. The Puffing Billy train station is only a short walk from Belgrave train station.
- Trees Adventure
Trees adventure is a must when visiting Mount Dandenong. They have 5 different courses that are suitable for all ages. The beginner section is appropriate for kids as young as five years old. You can hurl yourself along the flying foxes and blast on full speed without any concerns at all with the supplied safety gear.
- William Ricketts Sanctuary
The place is named after William Ricketts, a sculpture who is fascinated in Aboriginal spirituality. He continued working on the sculptures right up until his death in 1993. There are clay sculptures of animals and people that mysteriously stand in each corner. The sanctuary is open daily from 10.00am until 4:30pm.
- Tesselaar Tulip Festival
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival is a must see event in Mount Dandenong. A sea of flowers is open for the public eye from September 13 to October 9 each year. Over half a million of tulips and about one hundred different kinds of varieties is available in the festival. Aside from tulips, visitors can also enjoy live entertainment, market stalls and theme days along with the Dutch pancakes among other delicacies.
- Sky High at Mount Dandenong
Sky High is the highest peak of Mount Dandenong. It is the perfect place to visit to escape the stresses of the city. Watch the spectacular sunset and enjoy watching the greatness of Melbourne and the surroundings from above. As well as appreciating the beautiful view above, you can also try the garden maze for the kids.
Places to Dine in Mount Dandenong
Mount Dandenong offers not just the best picturesque view but also beautiful food. Whether you’re up for a coffee or fine dining experience, the restaurants in Mount Dandenong will leave you wanting more. Here are a number of restaurants that you may like to try in the Dandenong Ranges.
1. The Independent
The Independent is a former hardware store turned into a vibrant restaurant. The restaurant has a rustic feel with a modern twist. It has airy ceilings, industrial floors and exposed-timber panelling. The restaurant is not just known for their unique style but it is the food itself that makes this place famous for locals and foreign visitors. Their menu is of Argentinian heritage and is inspired by their head chef and co-owner Mauro Allegra. The Independent is located at 79 Main St, Gembrook.
- Wild Oak Restaurant and Cooking School
If you want to experience fine dining, then the Wild Oak Restaurant and Cooking School is the place for you to visit. The restaurant specialises in modern Australian cuisine with a French twist. The restaurant head chef and owner Ben Higgs is the one responsible in making the mouth-watering dishes. He ensures that each dish is complemented with a matching wine. Wild Oak is also a cooking school; they teach everything from BBQ to Thai cuisine. Wild Oak Restaurant and Cooking School is located at 232 Ridge Rd, Olinda.
The Elevation @ Emerald restaurant has floor to ceiling windows that are similar to that of a childhood tree house. The menu is carefully crafted to ensure that there is food for everyone regardless of individual preferences. Their wood-fire pizza is a must try and you can also head on over to the bar for their delicious cocktails. Elevation @ Emerald is located at 374 Main St, Emerald.
- Cuckoo Restaurant
The Cuckoo Restaurant has a fairy tale vibe. It has frilly gables, ornate and the windows are decorated in a Bavarian chalet style. Its interior is filled with cuckoo clocks, checkered tablecloths and the staff wear folk dresses. Most of their famous dishes are German goulash, sauerkraut and Bratwurst kartofel. The Cuckoo restaurant is located at 508 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Olinda.
- Sky High Mount Dandenong
Sky High is 600 meters above sea level, making it one of the best lookouts in Victoria. You can explore the view as far as your eyes can take you. The panoramic view of the restaurant creates the most unique dining experience. Their menu consists of the regular Australian favourite’s. Sky High Mount Dandenong is located at 26 Observatory Rd, Mount Dandenong.
Copperfields offer a fresh and ethically sourced produce that offers a warm welcome to their guests. The restaurant specialises in seafood and free range products. Copperfields Restaurant is located at 543 Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, Olinda.
- Bensons in Belgrave
Bensons in Belgrave offers a wide variety of menu options. They cater for vegetarians and for people with food intolerance. They are open from breakfast until dinner. Bensons is a perfect place for a quick coffee or for fine dining alike. Their venue is both sophisticated and intimate. Bensons in Belgrave is located at 1710 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave.
What is your favourite aspect of Mount Dandenong?