For a romantic getaway close to Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges has everything. Explore walks through tree ferns and mountain ash, picturesque villages, great restaurants, gardens, and dayspas. A weekend or mid week romantic getaway is perfect to escape the crowds.
Here are some special destinations and activities that are sure to get you all loved up on your Melbourne romantic getaway in the Dandenong Ranges.
At anytime of year, the hills are beautiful, but spring and summer are probably the best for exploring. While many people only experience the hills by driving through it, to really experience the beauty of the forests there are lots of spectacular walking tracks to explore.
Explore Sherbrooke Falls
Take a gentle walk to Sherbrooke Falls through stands of grand mountain ash, ferns and native birdsong. If you listen carefully and watch out for rustling in the undergrowth, you may even spot a lyrebird, echidna or wallaby. Mountain ash are impressively tall trees. They are the biggest flowering plants in the world and many are over 200 years old.
From Sherbrooke Picnic Ground on Sherbrooke Road, take Sherbrooke Track to the Falls. If you’re feeling energetic, continue over the bridge and turn right onto Hillclimb track. This will take you down the hill to Macawber Tavern, where you can enjoy a glass of wine or beer in the garden, beside the creek, before returning.
Romantic Picnic Lunch
Throw out a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the sunshine. There’s something instantly romantic about opening a hamper of food to share on a warm, grassy slope with no one around. Prepare your own picnic or pre order a delicious hamper from the Deli Platter in Olinda.
For traditional romantics, Alfred Nicholas Gardens, The National Rhododendron Gardens or Pirianda Garden provide lots of places to enjoy a picnic among established and rare plants and lovely walking tracks. For more privacy in a natural forest setting, access Neuman track from Grantulla Road in Kallista. There are a number of sunny, grassed clearings along this track that winds its way through the forest.
On a weekend, wandering through a local hills market hand-in-hand, before enjoying a late brunch may be just the sort of low key way to start your romantic getaway. There are a number of chic markets where local artists sell their work and visitors can enjoy a massage and delicious food.
Belgrave Big Dreams Market is held on the 2nd Sunday of the month at St Thomas Moore Primary School in Belgrave, from 9am to 2pm. This gorgeous market sells high quality handcrafted items, secondhand goods and food.
Kallista Market has been running for many years and is an eclectic mix of plants, food and hand made items. The market happens on the first Saturday of every month at 2 Church Street Kallista from 9am till 1pm.
Cafes & Romantic Restaurants
If you prefer to eat out at a cosy cafe or a more elegant restaurant, there are plenty of places to enjoy good food.
Lunch or a snack: There’s a great choice of places to eat in the Dandenongs, catering to all tastes. For a delicious, wholesome lunch, try Earthly Pleasures or (for vegans) The Laughing Owl in Belgrave. Proserpina in Sassafras is a new bakery cafe, where everything is baked onsite. Ripe in Sassafras has a great reputation and offers delicious local fare. The Deli Platter in Olinda offers a delicious deli style menu and friendly service.
For something a little more special, try Seasons restaurant at the stunning Cloudehill gardens or Coonara Springs. On a sunny day The Piggery Cafe on Sherbrooke road is fantastic for a glass of wine and some lunch, although choose a day mid week if you want to miss the crowds.
For dinner: Copperfields or The Wild Oak in Olinda are perfect for a romantic dinner.
Romantic Dayspa Pampering
A romantic getaway wouldn’t be right without a couples massage at a dayspa. There are a number of quality dayspas located in the hills offering a range of therapies, including the sumptuous Spa de Marrakech.
Romantic Couples Hot Mineral Bathing
For the ultimate in romance and seclusion for couples, Japanese Mountain Retreat is a hidden oasis offering deluxe private packages for couples. This romantic resort offers hot mineral spa bathing in natural spring water outside or in an authentic Roman bathhouse. Massage and treatment packages include massage, a deluxe couples mud spa treatment and a range of dining options in the resort restaurant.
Accommodation is also available for one or two nights in Japanese style villas with private hot tub, as well as the exotic Balinese Retreat.