February 14, 2020 / By Oceana Setaysha
There’s a little spot in the Dandenong Ranges that will ignite the spark of gardening inside you, and it’s called the National Rhododendron Garden. In fact, that’s not true. It’s actually now called the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens, but being home to more than 15,000 rhododendrons means the old name is stuck fast.
Of course, that’s not all that’s there. Nature lovers will find quite a bit more inside this 104-acre garden that is close to Olinda township, including azaleas, camellias, cherries and more than a quarter of a million daffodils. When the garden is in bloom, it’s a popular place and worth visiting even with the crowds.
The colours delight the senses at every turn, and a stroll around the Garden’s easy-going loop footpath, which takes in all there is to see, is quietly incredible. There aren’t too many other places where you can see such a variety of plant species located in a small bubble environment that is undoubtedly Australian. This only adds to the allure.
Of course visiting in spring is hardly a requirement. The fact is the National Rhododendron Garden is a riot of colours just about all year around and a fantastic example of nature’s display at the changing of the seasons. From the autumn leaf falls of the maples, to the summer sunshine and winter fogs, this is one location with something to offer all through the year.
If you happen to visit on a quieter day, walk lightly and you might even catch a glimpse of a lyrebird or echidna wandering along, as you listen to the chorus of kookaburras echoing in the distance.
The National Rhododendron Garden has free entry and operates 10am to 5pm all year around (except Christmas Day).
We think you should know: The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in, or referred to in this article.