National Rhododendron Gardens, Tourism Victoria

Population 1568

Olinda is in the centre of the Dandenong Ranges, a landscape of towering mountain ash forests, lush fern gullies, waterfalls, English gardens and picnic spots. The ranges have been a retreat for Melburnians since the 1800s. Olinda and nearby Sassafras are known for their many galleries and cafes, particularly the numerous tearooms serving traditional Devonshire teas.

Visitor Information

Dandenong Ranges Information Centre, 1211 Burwood Hwy, Upper Ferntree Gully; (03) 9758 7522


Nearby national parks

  • Yarra Ranges National Park

    Lofty mountain ash bathed in mist, rare and endangered plants and animals, snow in winter and pristine pockets of bushland make Yarra Ranges...more

  • Kinglake National Park

    Surrounding the township of Kinglake, this bush retreat close to Melbourne offers views of the Yarra Valley, the city skyline and Port...more

  • Brisbane Ranges National Park

    In Brisbane Ranges National Park low mountains are dissected by rugged gorges and hidden gullies with basalt grasslands and woodlands. An...more

Nearby towns

  • Emerald

    Emerald is a delightful little town set in the Dandenong Ranges, which lie behind Melbourne's eastern suburbs. Over the weekend people come...more

  • Yarra Glen

    Yarra Glen is in the heart of the Yarra Valley wine region, nestled between the Yarra River and the Great Dividing Range. It is a gorgeous...more

  • Healesville

    To the west of Yarra Ranges National Park and within easy reach of Melbourne, Healesville has a charming rural atmosphere. There are good...more


Dandenong Ranges National Park This park offers great walking tracks and picnic facilities. Visitors may be lucky enough to spot an elusive lyrebird, a species renowned for its ability to mimic sounds – from other bird calls to human voices and even chainsaws. Most walking tracks leave from picnic grounds, such as the Thousand Steps Track from Ferntree Gully Picnic Ground (south-west via the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd) and the walk to Sherbrooke Falls from the Sherbrooke Picnic Ground (via Sherbrooke Rd from the Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd). The park extends to the east and west of town. Contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963; 2 km NE, 6 km SW.

William Ricketts Sanctuary William Ricketts was a well-known artist and conservationist whose intricate sculptures focus on Aboriginal people and the complexities of Australia's native vegetation. Many sculptures are displayed in a bushland setting on the scenic Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd. Contact Parks Victoria on 13 1963; 3 km N.

National Rhododendron Gardens: the gardens begin just east of town and are something of a mecca for garden enthusiasts, with superb displays of rhododendrons and azaleas in season.

R. J. Hamer Arboretum: good walking tracks through 100 ha of rare and exotic trees; Olinda–Monbulk Rd, shortly after turn-off to Rhododendron Gardens.

Cloudehill Gardens: twilight concerts are held here in summer; south of R. J. Hamer Arboretum.

Mt Dandenong Lookout: spectacular views over Melbourne; picnic/barbecue facilities; 3 km N.

Alfred Nicholas Gardens: an ornamental lake with the original boathouse and the George Tindale Memorial Garden, with flowering plants beneath mountain ash trees. The original Nicholas family home (built 1920s) is here; Sherbrooke; 4 km SE.

Kawarra Australian Plant Garden: an impressive collection of native plants; Kalorama; 4.5 km N.

Markets: art, craft, plants and homemade goods; nearby markets include Kallista Market, 6 km S, 1st Sat each month, and Upper Ferntree Gully Market, 12 km SE, every Sat and Sun.

Burrinja Gallery: a memorial to artist Lin Onus, with Aboriginal and Oceanic sculptures and paintings; Upwey; 10 km SW.

Silvan: prominent flower-growing region with many tulip farms. The famous Tesselaar's Tulip Farm hosts a popular festival each Sept–Oct with sales of flowers and bulbs, and traditional Dutch music and food; Monbulk Rd; 15 km NE.

Silvan Dam: an area to the north of this major Melbourne water supply has walking tracks and picnic/barbecue facilities; turn-off after Silvan.

Mont De Lancey: wonderfully preserved house, built in 1882 and set in landscaped gardens; includes a museum and a chapel; open 2nd Sat each month; Wandin North; 22 km NE via Mt Evelyn.

Fishing spots near town

Patterson River 31 km

The Patterson River is well known for bream, and walking and bike tracks on both sides of the river offer ease of access for bank fishing. The most productive waters are in the marinas between the Mornington Peninsula... Find out more

Carrum 32 km

The Launching Way boat ramp facility at Carrum is the best in the bay but during snapper season anglers who haven’t launched their boats and parked their cars by about 6am have to go elsewhere. Managed by Parks... Find out more

St Kilda 34 km

St Kilda Marina gives boat anglers easy access to excellent snapper and whiting grounds. Inshore there is plenty of seagrass and sand areas for whiting while the deeper waters offer reef areas for snapper. The St Kilda... Find out more

Maribyrnong River 40 km

The age-old adage about the grass supposedly being greener somewhere else applies to fishing around Melbourne. Many anglers who head out of town do so because they don’t believe any serious fishing is possible... Find out more

Yarra River 41 km

Mulloway are one of the most sought and least caught Victorian species. Anglers often put in hundreds of hours in unsuccessful quests for a trophy of this enigmatic species. During autumn, reports tell of mulloway being... Find out more

Altona to Williamstown 44 km

The skyline stretching around the shore from Altona to Williamstown provides an unlikely backdrop for top fishing. Industry dominates, in particular refineries, with flames burning off gases. However, anglers who fish... Find out more

Middle Spit 56 km

One of the most popular destinations for boating anglers is the Middle Spit, located along the western shore of French Island. Regarded as a whiting hotspot, it’s just a matter of knowing where to go and the tide... Find out more

Snapper Spots 60 km

Many snapper anglers prefer to concentrate along the edges of the main shipping channels. The deep water running along the western shore of Phillip Island from the Nobbies to Cowes (Buoys 1–13) is a proven snapper... Find out more

Werribee 61 km

The Werribee River is popular, both as an access point to the bay and the estuary itself. Excellent catches of whiting and flathead are made inshore near the weed beds. Further offshore, the deeper reefs have a big... Find out more

Elephant Triangle 64 km

Fishing for elephant fish in Western Port has become an institution. Anglers hang out for the first signs that the fish are starting to migrate into the bay. In general terms, the Elephant Triangle (GPS: S38.26.826,... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Dandenong Ranges National Park 3 km

About an hour’s drive out of Melbourne, some 35 kilometres east of the city, this park has forests of towering mountain ash and lush, damp fern gullies. Around 300 kilometres of walking tracks crisscross the park,... Find out more

Bicentennial National Trail - Healesville starting point 26 km

Acclaimed as the longest-marked, nonmotorised, multi-use trekking route in the world, this track traverses an incredible 5330 kilometres from Healesville to Cooktown in north Queensland, passing through 18 national... Find out more

Cycling around Melbourne 34 km

Melbourne has an active cycling community that has helped develop and establish some great routes and a network of cycle paths. One of the best sources of information is Bicycle Victoria. One option is to hop on the Main... Find out more

Indigenous tours - Melbourne 35 km

To grasp what Melbourne was like before the skyscrapers arrived you can take a two-hour Koori Heritage Trust walking tour. You will gain an insight into Indigenous history and the natural and cultural landscape of the... Find out more

Mountain-biking around Melbourne 36 km

With 20 kilometres of tracks developed by the Mountain Bike Association of Australia, Lysterfield Lake Park has something for all standard of mountain-biker, including family-friendly loops and exciting single-track... Find out more

Melbourne Zoo 37 km

Melbourne has a choice of two excellent zoos: Melbourne Zoo, with more than 320 species on display; and the 225-hectare open range zoo at Werribee, about 30 minutes drive from the city centre (access from the Princes... Find out more

Kayaking on Phillip Island 67 km

For a great way to start the day, join a kayaking breakfast tour at Phillip Island Holiday Hire, which starts with a 45-minute paddle from Cowes and includes a civilised breakfast at a cafe. There is also a Devonshire... Find out more

Golf courses around town

The Heritage Golf & Country Club (St John course) 16 km

Jack Nicklaus, the golfer, was the most powerful player of his generation and also its finest strategist, a man who could win a tournament based on smart play and at other times on pure heroics. Jack Nicklaus, the... Find out more

Riversdale Golf Club 22 km

Victoria’s second oldest club, formed 18 months after Royal Melbourne, began life in humble circumstances as the Surrey Hills Golf Club. After a brief stint at Camberwell the club moved to its present location... Find out more

Spring Valley Golf Club 23 km

The story of Spring Valley Golf Club’s early days is not dissimilar to that of many clubs which now call Melbourne’s sandbelt home. Spring Valley began its existence outside the sandbelt, as Forest Hills... Find out more

Huntingdale Golf Club 24 km

Huntingdale – Royal Melbourne and Kingston Heath aside – is arguably the most famous of Melbourne’s sandbelt courses, home to the Australian Masters for 30 years. A parade of the game’s best... Find out more

Metropolitan Golf Club 25 km

Metropolitan has changed dramatically over the past century but has never been short of plaudits. The club, the second oldest on the Melbourne sandbelt, was established in 1908. J. B. Mackenzie was one of the founding... Find out more

Southern Golf Club 25 km

Southern is one of the Melbourne sandbelt’s least-known courses, but in recent years its star has been on the rise. The original layout was created by Sam Berriman, a British expat who began his working life in... Find out more

Commonwealth Golf Club 26 km

It is nearly 90 years since the first rounds were played where the Commonwealth Golf Club now lies. The club was constituted in 1920 and land – regarded as scrub country, and comprising only 89 acres – was... Find out more

RACV Healesville Country Club 26 km

Of the 120 golf courses featured throughout these pages, the new layout at Healesville is the odd one out. It could, in fact, be considered a minnow among giants, for this par-68 measures only 4872 metres from the... Find out more

Yarra Yarra Golf Club 27 km

First-time visitors to Yarra Yarra Golf Club, expecting the river with the similar name to play a pivotal role, might be surprised. The closest the Yarra gets to this acclaimed sandbelt course is the spot where it... Find out more

Kingston Heath Golf Club 27 km

Kingston Heath has long been regarded as the second best course in Australia, only marginally behind nearby Royal Melbourne’s West course. Both layouts call on players to be strategically smart from tee to... Find out more

Cafes & restaurants around town

Lady Hawke Cafe

Named after a 1980s Michelle Pfeiffer movie, Ladyhawke is a place that relishes eccentricity. The converted 1920s homestead has a labyrinth of quirkily decorated rooms and a wonderfully homey atmosphere, complete with... Find out more

Miss Marple’s Tea Room

In nearby Sassafras, this ever-bustling tearoom in an English Tudor-style cottage is evidence that the Devonshire tea tradition is alive and well in the Dandenongs. Visit the Tea Leaves shop next door for an incredible... Find out more

Ripe – Australian Produce

Again in Sassafras, this gem of a place is a haven for foodies who travel from near and far to sample the delights of the food store and cafe. Housed in what appears as a rustic dwelling, it is set back from the street... Find out more

Wild Oak Restaurant and Wine Bar

Overlooking the floral splash of a neighbouring nursery, this contemporary eatery has always been popular with locals and visitors alike. Serving modern Australian food with a French influence, it offers a good-value... Find out more

Nearby breweries

Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company 22 km

Craft brewers come from all sorts of different backgrounds but classical pianist Simon Walkenhorst and his opera singer wife Beth Williams are among the more exotic. Together, they started Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company... Find out more

Matilda Bay Garage Brewery 25 km

Previously operating as the Stockade Brewery, this South Dandenong-based microbrewery was acquired by the Foster’s-owned Matilda Bay Brewing in 2004 and re-badged as their ‘garage’ brewery. Then head... Find out more

2 Brothers Brewery 28 km

A microbrewery is not exactly what you might expect to find tucked away among panel-beaters and sheet-metal fabricators in the industrial estates of Moorabbin, 20 minutes south-east of Melbourne. While the location may... Find out more

Mountain Goat Brewery 31 km

Kicking off in 1997, home-brewer Dave Bonighton and music industry booking agent Cam Hines proved that two good mates can start a successful microbrewery with no money, but with unlimited enthusiasm, dogged perseverance... Find out more

3 Ravens Brewing Company 32 km

This microbrewery began operating from the basement of the successful Thornbury-based engineering company Zetkin and has proved to be an interesting diversion or sideline for the principal business. Some of the company... Find out more

Foster's Group (Abbotsford Brewery) 32 km

Re-branded as the Foster’s Group in the 21st century, Carlton & United Breweries was formed in 1907 through an amalgamation of the city’s six largest beer-makers: McCrackens City Brewery, Victoria... Find out more

Red Hill Brewery 67 km

Becoming hop farmers wasn’t part of their business plan when David and Karen Golding first applied to develop a microbrewery and cafe from their Mornington Peninsula property. Ultimately, though, they were advised... Find out more

Campsites around town

Kurth Kiln camping area 19 km

This camping area is accessed via Soldiers Rd, which branches off the Gembrook–Launching Place Rd. As you stroll through the mountain ash, keep your eyes peeled for swamp wallabies and echidnas.... Find out more

Longridge Park camping area 21 km

A one-time cattle-grazing area set within the pretty Yarra Valley Parklands, the turf at Longridge can now be booked through Parks Victoria (by phone or online) by individuals or groups of up to 40 for relaxing camping... Find out more

Nash Creek camping area 30 km

In the heart of the park, Nash Creek has an isolated feel. It’s reached via Black Snake Creek Rd, west of the junction with Bunyip River Rd. From the nearby Dyers Picnic Ground you can undertake the 17 km Dyer... Find out more

Blue Range camping area (bush camping) 32 km

You can go bush camping in a cleared area in the north of the park along Bunyip Ridge Track, off Bunyip River Rd. You’ll need a 4WD and must be fully equipped, as there are no facilities here. The pay-off is that... Find out more

Nioka Bush Camp 33 km

The tiny 1.2 ha Nioka Bush Camp is a Parks Victoria site beside the Plenty River on the outskirts of Melbourne. It’s a peaceful retreat where you can fish, bushwalk or just hang around doing not much at all.... Find out more

Starlings Gap camping area 39 km

Starlings Gap is in the path of 2 excellent forest walking tracks, with the 9 km walk to Big Pats Picnic Area, which follows the 1933 federal tramway, arguably the highlight. In the camping area itself, take a look at... Find out more

Bush camping 41 km

Walk–in sites only along the Walk Into History trail. No facilities, but toilet located at Big Pats Creek. Trail brochure available from DSE.... Find out more

Gentle Annie camping area (bush camping) 41 km

Like Blue Range, this is another cleared bush camping area in the north of the park. It’s close to the Lawson Falls Picnic Ground, where walking tracks provide a gentle half-hour or a more-challenging 2-hour... Find out more

Ada No. 2 Mill camping area (walk-in camping) 41 km

Tucked away deep in the forest, this is a walk-in bush-camping spot on the 33 km, 2-day Walk into History Trail that leads from Warburton to Powelltown. The section of the track heading from the mill up to Highlead... Find out more

The Gums camping area 43 km

The Gums camping area can be reached by travelling 4 km down Glenburn Rd from Kinglake, and then continuing for another 6 km down Eucalyptus Rd. While the campsites here in the midst of the Great Dividing Range have been... Find out more

Caravan parks around town

Wantirna Park 13 km

This is a large park with a limited number of tourist sites. Located in the eastern suburbs, its facilities include tennis courts and a recreation room. It is good value. Bookings are required in peak periods.... Find out more

Crystal Brook Tourist Park 20 km

This park caters for tourists. It has good facilities and is located in a leafy area of the northeastern suburbs of Melbourne. A minimum-length stay applies during holiday periods.... Find out more

BIG4 Dandenong Tourist Park 25 km

Just 6 km south of Dandenong, this is a good quality park, ideal for those wanting to stay on the eastern side of Melbourne. It is very close to the Jayco factory. Bookings are required in peak times and a minimum-stay... Find out more

Melbourne BIG4 Holiday Park 37 km

This is a tourist park in a quiet area of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, just 9 km from Melbourne’s CBD. The park has relatively easy access to the Hume Highway and other northern approaches and is a popular... Find out more

BIG4 Frankston Holiday Park 40 km

This is a good quality park in the far outer south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. It is a great base for those exploring the Mornington Peninsula or those connecting with the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry. Bookings are... Find out more

Glen Cromie Caravan Park 52 km

In a large, park-like setting on the banks of a stream, this is a popular caravan park during weekends and holiday periods. It is a great place for a family break and just a short drive from the greater Melbourne area.... Find out more

Warragul Gardens Holiday Park 60 km

This owner-operated park has spacious grassy sites, good facilities and great amenities. However, the focal point is the magnificent gardens; these alone make the park worth a visit. Bookings are required in peak... Find out more

Bellarine Bayside Holiday Parks - Portarlington 69 km

This beachfront park with a large number of powered sites is a very popular summerholiday park on a safe, bayside beach, with loads of appeal for families. The park has extensive facilities and is just 1.25 km from the... Find out more

Hotels, motels & B&Bs around town

Folly Farm Rural Retreat

Light and bright, this stand-alone cottage is located on 4 hectares of gardens that include a commercial blueberry farm, a chestnut plantation, lovely dry-stone walls and one of just ten remaining intact Edna Walling... Find out more

Lochiel Luxury Accommodation

Squirrel yourself away in one of the contemporary treetop cottages or the larger 1920s-built family-style cottage. Set amid 2 hectares of rainforest, Lochiel has three one-bedroom treetop cottages built over three... Find out more

Woolrich Retreat

This Art Deco–style executive retreat is set among historic gardens on the top of Mount Dandenong. Ideal for just one couple, or indeed two couples travelling together, it is self-contained with two bedrooms, two... Find out more

Japanese Mountain Retreat

Set on 2 hectares of ravishing bushland, this retreat is the pinnacle of luxury and relaxation, perfect for slowing down and restoring yourself. Two serene Japanese guest suites balance tradition with plush contemporary... Find out more

Eco-friendly places to stay around town

Alto Hotel on Bourke 36 km

Although it is not doing anything radical, this plush hotel on Bourke Street is one of the most ecologically aware in Melbourne, and should be commended for its power-saving measures, garbage sorting, supply of... Find out more

Rest areas around town

Gumbuya rest area 35 km

77km E of Melbourne (L) or 40km W of Yarragon (R)

Secluded among trees well off the highway.

Bunyip rest area 47 km

29km W of Yarragon (L)

Adjacent to the highway. For westbound only.

What's on around town

Rhododendron and Daffodil Festivals: AugNov.

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