Nat. Rhododendron Gardens
Set in a natural amphitheatre of mountain ash, oaks, maples and beeches which tower over 43 ha of outstanding botanic gardens which are home to 15 000 rhododendrons, 12 000 azaleas, 250 000 daffodils, cherry tree groves and laburnums, all of which blossom in spring. The 3000 camellias are best seen in winter and there are also proteas, magnolias and Japanese maples.
Murrindini Scenic Reserve
Situated at the northern end of the Toolangi State Forest near Healesville, the Reserve provides excellent opportunities for recreational activities such as camping, bushwalking, picnicking, fishing and mountain biking. The Murrindindi River is suitable for bathing and paddling, but is generally not deep enough for swimming or canoeing.
An award winning wildlife park, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park vonsists of 10 hectares of bushland, where visitors can meet endangered species, feed kangaroos and wallabies, pet koalas and enjoy encounters with colourful birds, reptiles, dingoes and many other animals. At night, Moonlit Sanctuary comes alive with its popular lantern-lit tours.
Set in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, Silvan Reservoir Park is an easy drive from Melbourne and ideal for a great day out, be it for couples or families. Set around a dam, the park features landscaped picnic areas and open lawns surrounded by an impressive eucalypt forest. The park also has vast open areas for games and views of the reservoir.
This incredably picturesque formation boasts deep gorges, steep sloping sides, exposed rocky outcrops and diverse flora snd fauna. Early geological exploration recognised its significance and it was listed as a reserve in 1907. Its rugged steep slopes and dramatic terrain has allowed Werribee Gorge to remain in its natural state.
Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve
The Langwarrin Flora and Fauna Reserve is one of the few remaining areas on the South Eastern fringe of Melbourne recognised as an important area for the conservation of indigenous flora and fauna. The reserve which covers 214ha has an important place in military history with almost a 100 year history of military use spanning from 1886 to 1979.
R.J. Hamer Forest Arboretum
This Arboretum has an outstanding collection of over 150 native and exotic tree and shrub species from around the world, including maples, liquidambers, ash, elms, birch, conifers and oaks (which are at their best in autumn). There are bushwalking opportunities, picnic, barbecue, toilet and parking facilities. The site is open daily and entry is free unless you book a site.
Healesville Sanctuary is a showcase for more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles, all viewed in a natural bushland setting. Permitting visitors to get closer to Australia s wildlife than normal zoos, the Sanctuary has made a feature of the unique experiences visitors can have with kangaroos, koalas and Australia s birds of prey.
Devilbend Natural Features Reserve is a 1,057 ha park on the Mornington Peninsula 55 km south-east of Melbourne, Australia, between Hastings and Mount Martha in the traditional country of the Bunurong people. It contains two decommissioned water-supply reservoirs, Devilbend and Bittern, which were the original reason the land was not developed.
You Yangs Regional Park
The granite peaks of the You Yangs rise dramatically from the surrounding volcanic plains between Melbourne and Geelong. Although only 340 metres high, they dominate the landscape, and are clearly visible from as far away as the bay side of Melbourne and beyond. The main ridge runs roughly north south for about 9 km, with a lower extension running for about 15 km to the west.
Woodlands Historic Park
Woodlands Historic Park provides a fascinating glimpse of the landscapes and wildlife seen by European settlers in the 1840s. The park has a 150-year old homestead, Indigenous canoe trees, native woodland and grassland. Picnic, walk or bike ride or explore this fascinating relic of the landscape that European settlers saw in the 1840s.
Royal Botanical Gardens Cranbourne
The leeser known branch of Melbourne's Royal Botanical Gardens - at Cranbourne - are four times the size of the city gardens, and take a radically different approach to displaying flora. The Cranbourne division specialises in Australian native plants. The total area of this division of the botanic gardens is 363 hectares, including heathlands, wetlands and woodlands.
William Ricketts Sanctuary
Located in the rainforests of the Dandenong Ranges, William Ricketts Sanctuary features a series of kiln-fired clay sculptures executed by William Ricketts who bought this land in 1934. From 1949 to 1960 he made numerous trips to Central Australia to live with the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people whose culture and traditions inspired his sculpture
Cardinia Reservoir Park
Cardinia Reservoir Park is the perfect setting for a picnic, barbecue or stroll along the reservoir wall or one of the tracks. The park contains three picnic areas each with its own wonderful views of the surrounding bushland and open lawns. There are two reservoir viewing areas offering spectacular views over the water and surrounding district.
The Moorooduc Quarry Flora and Fauna Reserve is located within the boundaries of the Mornington Peninsula and Western Port Biosphere Reserve. There are several walking tracks throughout the reserve. One track encircles the high cliffs of the quarry and another the lake at the base of the cliffs. Rock climbing and abseiling are now strictly prohibited.
Yan Yean Reservoir
Yan Yean Reservoir Park provides visitors with peaceful picnic areas, a variety of walking tracks and breathtaking views of Melbourne's oldest water storage site. The reservoir was Melbourne's first and has supplied the city with water since 1857. It was the plan of James Blackburn, a civil engineer who unfortunately died before ever seeing his dream developed.
One of Melbourne's oldest and best known reservoirs, Maroondah is somewhat of a magnet on sunny weekends and school holidays as it has everything people expect of an inland leisure reserve - plenty of room for big crowds, large lawns with room for ball games, large picnic and barbecue areas, all set within the shade of tall eucalypt trees.
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
Like most of the gardens and reserves in the Dandenong Ranges, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens are set on the side of a steep hill, and the gardens slope down to a small lake and creek. Stone paths zig zag their way through tree ferns, exotic trees and flowering plants which grow under tall mountain ash trees. The lake is surrounded by terraced stone walls.