As enticing as the shops are, we've hired a car and are heading
to the Dandenong Ranges. Once through the suburbs we enter the
eucalyptus forest, towering above us long straight trunks soar to
the sky, protected by the canopy tree ferns flourish below. It is
beautiful. We stop just shy of the village of Kallista at Grants
Picnic Ground. Here 20-30 enthusiastic cockatoos and multi-coloured
rosella birds greet us, looking to us to feed them, it isn't long
before one settles on Cea's shoulder! It sits quite happily there
for some time until we move on to walk one of the three loop tracks
Keen for more we stop five minutes further on and walk to the
Sherbrooke Falls. A lack of rain means they aren't as spectacular
as their potential but the easy stroll amongst 80 year old
eucalypts, 60-100 metres high, with the birds-song keeping us
company, makes for a very pleasant 45 minutes.
Coffee calls and we're drawn to the village of Sassafras, not
only for the name but its institutional 'Miss Marple's Tea Rooms'.
The service is outstanding and the homemade scones are light and
fluffy, accompanied by raspberry jam and cream they hit the
We meander through quaint shops including the exquisite
Geppetto's Workshop. With thousands of puppets hanging from the
roof alone, we're told there's not an electronic toy in site -
From here it's recommended we visit the Mt Dandenong Lookout,
not only are the views superb back to Melbourne but the English and
Secret Gardens are a delight, as is The Giant's Chair, I feel like
Alice in Wonderland perched up there. There's even a maze on
The Yarra Valley calls - well, it's just over the hill...it
would be rude not to. Within 45 minutes we find ourselves relaxing
having a glass of something cold at Mandalla Vineyard.
Looking out on the vines with a gentle breeze keeping us cool, it's
the perfect spot for a late lunch.
We drive the 50 kilometres back, we hit commuter traffic so when
we cross over Lygon Street we all immediately agree drinks and
tapas is a great idea. This famous street is buzzing and it's only
7pm. Harleys zoom up and down which never ceases to get my
husband's attention. The Syrah hits the spot.
It's back to the hotel to watch Federer beat Murray in a forth
set that sees one game last over 19 minutes! We're off to the
tennis tomorrow - what a great holiday this is!