Dandenong Ranges

Sep 6th, 2005, 06:28 PM
  #1  
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Dandenong Ranges

Hi, you guys have given me such great advice. I am trying to finalize my itinerary. I will be driving from Adelaide to Melbourne on the GOR, walking through the rainforests along the way. When I leave Melbourne I am headed to Beechworth through the Alpine National Park via Healesville. The Dandenong Ranges, especially Ferntree Gully, are mentioned in some tour books as worthy sights. But since I will have already walked in the rainforests along the GOR, will the Dandenong be different? Are they worth a detour?
tomatogal is offline  
Sep 6th, 2005, 11:09 PM
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I'd have to say that the Dandenongs are pretty rather than spectacular - lots of little cafes and gift shops. The drive from Lilydale to Healesville is through the Yarra Valley vineyards, and then the country between Healesville and Marysville is really beautiful, with spectacular tall trees.
I'm puzzled as to how you are getting to Beechworth via the Alpine National Park and Healesville. Or do you mean to go to Beechworth and then take the alpine road across the mountains to Omeo and the east coast? Or am I just totally confused?
From Melbourne you would normally take the Hume Freeway and turn off near Wangaratta to Beechworth. We often visit that area and turn off the freeway between Glenrowan and Wangaratta to take the road to Oxley and Milawa where there are some great wineries (Brown Bros especially). From there you can wander across to Beechworth or go further to Bright - another nice holiday spot.
Incidentally when you are in Beechworth, you should visit the Beechworth Bakery - yummy cakes and pastries.
Hope this helps or have I just confused you totally?
marg is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 12:12 AM
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As Marg said, I think you can safely give the Dandenongs a miss. The rainforest area around there is very similar to what you would have ben through down on the GOR. Are you thinking do the Otway Fly - a walk across the treeetops? I think that it is well worth it.

Marg, I think from earlier posts that tomatogal is not intending to do the whole of Great Alpine Road coming up from Omeo, he/she will be simply picking up the very last section of it after travelling to Beechworth via Alexandra and the King Valley in order to eliminate the quicker but oh so much more boring Hume.
shandy is offline  
Sep 7th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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You are right, Marg. I was mistaken when I said I am going to Healesville and Alpine National Park. I plan to go to Warburton and take the Acheron Way to Marysville (The Acheron Way was recommended as a scenic drive in a guidebook.) Then we plan to drive to Alexandra, Merton , Mansfield, Whitfield, Moyhu, Milawa and Beechworth - all this to avoid the Hume Hwy for a more scenic route. Do you think it is too circuitous and is it scenic enough to be worth the extra miles and time? Another alternative would be to take the scenic route as far as Merton, then head over to the Hume Hwy. What do you think? We will be in Beechworth 2 nights and plan to drive to Bright the second day and do a short hike in Mount Buffalo National Park.
Also, thanks for the info about the Otway Fly. It must be new because it was not in any of my guidebooks. I know there are also falls on Lavers Hill Road - Houpetoun, Beauchamp, Stevenson and Triplet. We don't have time to do all of them. Which of these are the most rewarding. Also what about Erskine Falls near Lorne?
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Sep 7th, 2005, 03:34 PM
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Tomatogal, to give you an idea of how long your drive up to Beechworth will take, if you were to drive direct from Melbourne to Beechworth via the Hume, you will be there in about three to four hours. For your proposed trip I would allow basically the whole day by the time you add in the extra mileage and have a number of stops along the way. If you have the time to allow a day to get to Beechworth I would much prefer the scenic route and, in fact, often travel that way myself.

I do think that your route is a little bit too circuitious and I would suggest cutting out the Black Spur to Marysville, which whilst quite preety, is very windy and the scenery you will be seeing is not that different to what you will encounter in the rainforest sections of the GOR. If you do this, than you can simply stay on the Maroondah Highway all the way through to Mansfield, or alterntively go up the Melba Highway to Yea and cut across to Mansfield and proceed as planned. Either of these options would be suitable.

I note that you mention that you are going to Bright for a day. If you are after an excellent meal you can't go pass Simones of Bright in the main street (03 5755 2266). As they are very popular you need to book at night, perhaps not for lunch. Simones is considered one of our better country restaurants and specialises in regional italian cooking. It is not a place to go for a quick bite though, you need to spend some time to really enjoy the experience.

To find out more about the Otway Fly I mentioned see www.otwayfly.com.au. In relation to the waterfalls, I like Stevensons Falls and Triplet Falls. The access track to Triplet was closed for repairs the last time I was there and I don't know if it has reopened so check with the local tourist office before you go. I've not been to Beauchamp or Hopetoun so I can't comment on them. Check out http://www.greatoceanroad.org/highli...waterfalls.asp for more deails. If you do a google search for each waterfall you will probably find some decent photos of each to give you an idea as well.
shandy is offline  
Sep 8th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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Shandy, thanks for the info. Are the Maroondah and Melba equally scenic? If I go through Healesville and have not yet gotten my fill of wildlife, do you recommend the Healesville Sanctuary?
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Sep 8th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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Maroondah is more scenic and incorporates the very lovely Black Spur Rd - all tree ferns and mountain ash (Australia's tallest trees) and has the added advantage of passing through terrific wineries. Healesville Sanctuary is very well regarded by visitors - you'll get to experience the animals you'll mostly only see elsewhere as roadkill. The other must-see in Healesville is TarraWarra winery - it houses in a superb new purpose-designed art gallery a great collection of Australian paintings and its cafe/winebar is terrific, with great views. There is forest/scrub along the Melba too but not as dramatic. Re the Dandenongs - I agree with Marg and Shandy and I actually live on top of Mt Dandenong so would normally recommend the area. The best sights are fairly tame - the view from Mt Dandenong over the city is good at night or on a clear day but given the other places you're going I wouldn't necessarily go out of my way to visit here unless you're especially interested - as I am - in European-style gardens (the pretty National Rhododendron Garden at Olinda if you're here in spring). If you do find yourselves here anyway, don't believe what your guidebooks say about Ferntree Gully - it's a semi-industrial suburb with a pretty name. It's Olinda and Sassafras you want, and apart from crafty-touristy things the best place to go is Ripe Cafe in Sassafras - it only uses Yarra Ranges produce and wines, is hardly publicised and is something of an anonymous gem in a main street filled with Ye Olde Worlde teashops.
PaulS is offline  
Sep 9th, 2005, 02:25 PM
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PaulS, Is the Black Spur Rd well marked? It is not on my map.
tomatogal is offline  
Sep 10th, 2005, 03:30 PM
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Tomatogal, the Black Spur is just a small part of the Maroondah Hwy near Narbethong sop it may not be listed separately as an actual road - widely viewed as the most spectacular part of the drive with really huge treeferns and soaring mountain ash. The very small detour (9km and 11km out the other side) to Marysville is part of its charm, given you're driving on further north. P
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