New Years Eve In The Mountains

Posted on: January 9, 2009


‘Christmas Time In The Mountains’ by Palace Songs (Bonnie Prince Billy)

I’ve decided to work backwards. So, let’s start with our amazing week in The Dandenong Ranges. For the non-Melbournites, The Dandenong Ranges are not to be confused with the altogether different location of Dandenong the suburb. Whatever you do, do not go to the suburb of Dandenong seeking luscious greenery and mountain zen bliss. I’m not sure what it is with the people that did all the naming of locations and streets in Melbourne but they seemed to only have access to a very limited range of names, that they reused in every few kilometres alternating whether it was a street, ave, or entire suburb they were christening, just to confuse out of towners.

It only took us about and hour to drive out to the wonderful Olinda, which is the highest town on the mountain.

We stayed at this quaint, dog friendly cottage named Azure Cottage. Highly recommended! We found it through the Holidaying With Dogs book/ website.

It was more spacious and pretty than it was looked on the website, great size kitchen equipped with everything we needed to cook (as we did several nights) not to mention stocked with tomatoes, bacon and eggs to cook breakfast for our stay. The owners live next door and were so friendly and helpful, it felt like home straight away. Oh and did I mention the double spa?
I cooked up a pre-marinated roast lamb with some delicious organic vegetables we picked up from a store at the bottom of the mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted asparagus so juicy, tender and sweet!

There are countless walks and gardens you can visit in this serene neck of the woods. It’s a windy road up the hills, with beautiful trees and lots of ferns on either side. The air was so fresh and crisp, and it reminded me of beloved Tassie.

There are only a few dog friendly gardens so we planned our mornings with a long walk for Elliott, to tire him out as much as possible before leaving him at home for some adventuring on our own. He was absolutely in his element up there.

I particularly enjoyed the National Rhododendron Gardens in Olinda and Alfred Nicholas Gardens (which had a stunning lake).

But my favourite garden of the trip was the William Ricketts Sanctuary. Parks Victoria describe it:

William Ricketts Sanctuary is the perfect setting for the blending of the natural and spiritual realms. It is a place of beauty and tranquillity displaying sculptures of Aboriginal figures set in the natural environment of the Dandenong Ranges.
This Sanctuary is a testament to one man’s philosophy, William Ricketts, who believed that the natural environment is entrusted to us all and by nurturing the earth, we nurture life.
But it truly must be EXPERIENCED. It was a wonderful way to spend my 30th birthday afternoon. Such a serene and spiritual setting.
We spent New Year’s Day at RJ Hamer Arboretum. We listened to Ivor Cutler on our drive in and imagined we were in the Scottish Highlands and that Elliott was a hunting dog.

Lots more photos:


2 Responses to "New Years Eve In The Mountains"

Hi Moo, happy belated birthday! What a great way to spend it as well. William Rickets Sanctuary is a magical place. We visited a few years ago now, and spent the entire day there. There is just so much to see! Glad you had a great getaway.


I love William Rickets Sanctuary too, everytime I’ve been it has been drizzling and there has been no one else there, very special. Glad you loved it and had a great time! Congrats again!

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