The Dandenong Ranges may only be a stones throw from the centre of Melbourne, but don’t let that stop you from ditching the couch in exchange for waterfalls, fallen trees and friendly birds. Follow Nathan’s lead and head out of the city this weekend.
- Olinda Falls
- Sherbrooke Falls
- Exploring dense green forest
With the sun shining outside the window as I sat on the couch, I thought this could be yet another lazy Sunday just sitting around or I could get off my rear end and do something with my day. After a little bit of research and minor planning for a quick day trip, I decided to get up, go out and about and make the most of the rare Melbourne sunshine. Quickly grabbing an apple, my drink bottle and a couple of cameras, I saddled up my Subaru and headed for the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Driving through Ferntree Gully via the M3 was not only a nice way to avoid the tolls, but also allowed me to drive the beautiful and busy Mt Dandenong Tourist Road. An abundance of cyclists decided to join me on the roads, along with hundreds of others fighting for a parking spot at the renowned tourist spot, The 1000 Steps Kokoda Track Memorial Walk. Making my way through the traffic and the tall trees that surrounded, I arrived at my first destination, Sherbrooke Picnic Ground.
From the picnic ground, an established walking track leads through a forest containing the tallest flowering hardwood in the world, the Mountain Ash, forming the Sherbrooke Falls Walk. Accompanied by a variety of ferns, the density of the forest saturates you in a peaceful green glow. With the morning sun piercing through the treetops, a tinge of orange pops and catches the eye. Fallen trees provide a fun obstacle and at parts form a bridge across Sherbrooke Creek, and I couldn’t help but capture some Kodak moments on my old 80’s film camera. Continuing the walk, I heard the sounds of the birds and the falls getting closer. The little flow of the creek cascades over the small rocky outcrops forming Sherbrooke Falls. After the hour long walk I stopped for some food at the picnic ground before moving on to the next stop, only to be greeted by some overly friendly Rosellas and Lorikeets.
Continuing through the National Park along Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road, the 10km drive from Sherbrooke Falls took me to Olinda Falls Picnic Area. The picnic area leads onto the gravel track in a vast opening between the surrounding trees, with only a 350m walk to the top viewing platform, or 500m to the base of the falls. Walking over rails to get to the top of the falls gave me a wonderful view downstream of Olinda Creek as it fell off into the forest. Trying not to slip and make a fool of myself, I managed to make it down to the viewing platform where the different levels of Olinda Falls all come together and cascade into a stream continuing through the ranges. I set up the tripod and chilled for a while, taking snaps and getting eaten alive by mozzies.
The short walk, steep in parts, lead me back to the car with a smile on my dial having seen 2 small yet very satisfying streams and falls. Driving the dirt path and gravel road up the hill, I couldn’t help but think to myself that experiencing this little slice of green heaven certainly beats sitting around at home doing sweet nothing all day.
I’ll certainly be back again soon to see what more you have to offer Dandenong Ranges. Until then, stay fresh.
- Hiking boots / good trainers
- Hat / beanie, sunscreen, water
How To Get There
Melbourne to Dandenong Ranges National Park via M3 (41.5km)
- Bush walking
- Bird watching
Beginner — Intermediate (reasonable level of fitness required)
Sherbrooke Falls — 2.4km return / 45 mins
Olinda Falls — 700m return / 15-30 mins