If an overseas visitor flies into Tullamarine Airport and looks round, the land seems flat until travelling into Melbourne on the airport freeway. Looking east, a small, blueish mountain appears about thirty kilometres from the city. This is Melbourne’s pride and joy and the home to all the television relay towers linked to the main stations in this capital city of Victoria. Mount Dandenong is tops on the places to see for the overseas visitor. The actual mountain is covered in Australian native gum trees and many people prefer to live in this semi- rural, sub mountain atmosphere and commute to their jobs in the central business district.
The actual Mount Dandenong is at the northerly end of what is termed the Dandenong Range and there are many little towns in what is locally referred to as,”The Dandenongs”. They have many interesting and different names and are all worth a visit once the visitor has experienced the summit of Mount Dandenong with it’s views down the valley looking towards Melbourne. Some of their names are Cockatoo, Emerald, Tecoma, Ferntree Gulley and Belgrave. Here in the beautiful green gullies, full of ancient tree ferns (some two hundred years old) can be heard the sweet sound of the bell bird, and if you are lucky and go walking through the bushland tracks, the visitor may even see a wombat or wallaby.
To get to Mount Dandenong from Melbourne, hire a car and spend some time in these luxuriant gullies and small ridges. Drive out in an easterly direction along the Burwood Highway and Mount Dandenong will get closer and closer. When you get to Upper Ferntree Gully, drive up through Ferny Creek, Olinda and on to Mount Dandenong. Here on the summit there is a fine restaurant and if you continue on from here you will come down through Montrose and eventually arrive at Mount Evelyn. From here take Canterbury Road back to Melbourne.
Mount Dandenong would have been home to aboriginal tribes, who in the ancient past would have roamed through the gullies hunting, taking only what they needed and respecting the area. Today we can be grateful that this attitude prevailed and Mount Dandenong and surrounds can be enjoyed by all people around the world. This area has many craft shops, restaurants, coffee shops and the famous Puffing Billy Railway running up from Ferntree Gulley to Emerald. Mount Dandenong and the towns around have lots of accommodation.