Dandenongs and Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

We ventured out of soulful Melbourne for a taste of its eastern suburbs. It was a great day trip with a pleasant mix of nature, wildlife and winery. 

Blue Dandenong Ranges

Blue Dandenong Range, Victoria, Australia

We drove to the Blue Dandenong Ranges, a set of low mountain ranges located about 32 km from Melbourne.  It was a rainy spring day so we didn’t get to explore much of it,  but we were content with just driving through its rolling roads and admiring the dramatic forest from our windows.

Blue Dandenong Range, Victoria, Australia


Blue Dandenong Range, Victoria, Australia


Blue Dandenong Range, Victoria, Australia


Healesville Sanctuary

Nestled in the foothills of Yarra Valley and about an hour drive from Melbourne, Healesville Sanctuary is a 70-acre bushland that is home to 200 species of  native Australian  wildlife. Healesville is renowed for saving endangered indigeneous animals.  Its Wildlife Health Centre  treats over 2000 orphaned, ill or injured wildlife every year.

Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

A shy emu.

What we enjoyed about Healesville was the opportunities it gave us for close encounters with Australian wildlife in their natural habitat.  We were beyond delighted to see these animals for the very first time.

A Koala in Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

A Cuddly Koala checking out a meal

A Dingo in Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

A handsome dingo

A Laughing Bird in Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

A Laughing Bird

Wedge-tailed Eagle in Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Wedge-tailed Eagle

A Red Kangaroo in Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

A Red Kangaroo

Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Keith making friends with Kangaroos.


Yarra Valley Wine Region

Ferguson Winery, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

After a delightful time with Australian wildflife, we headed to the wine region of Yarra Valley and were greeted with spectacular panorama of vineyards and rolling hills.  Yarra Valley is a home to thrving wine industry with over 100 vineyards and 50 wineries, thanks to its cool climate and fertile land.

Ferguson Winery, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

 We visited Fergusson Winery, one of Yarra Valley’s award winning wineries.

Ferguson Winery, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

 The vineyard of Fergusson Winery.

Ferguson Winery, Yarra Valley, Australia

We enjoyed wine-tasting in Fergusson Winery. We really liked their wines and we thought that it was too bad that they were not sold back home in the U.S.

Ferguson Winery, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Despite some burst of rain, it was a fun and beautiful day trip from Melbourne. We recommend  this trip if you have at least 3 days in Melbourne.

  • For more info about Healesville Sanctuary, click here.
  • For more about wineries in Yarra Valley, click here.
  • For more ideas about day trips from Melbourne, click here.


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Linking to Travel Photo ThursdayOh, the Places I’ve Been and Travel Photo Monday.

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About Marisol

Taking you on our journey one photo - and footstep - at a time.

52 responses to “Beyond Melbourne: Dandenong Ranges and Yarra Valley

  1. Great “dramatic forest” shots. Blurry parts of those came out very arty.
    Bokeh on “A Laughing Bird” photo looks interesting.
    Love wine testings!
    You two look great! and your friend Kangaroo looks good too 😉
    memographer recently posted..EuroTrip 2013: Czech Republic and BelarusMy Profile

  2. noel

    gorgeous country side, I love this place with all the wildlife, it must have been fun to be so up close to all these indigenous animals at this sanctuary…I must visit Melbourne some day soon!
    noel recently posted..Filoli Gardens in Summer timeMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Noel, I hope you get to visit it soon. There are so many photogenic places around Melbourne that you and your camera will love to capture.

  3. Erica

    These photos are BEAUTIFUL! Your adjective “dramatic” describes those forests perfectly, and the animals are so sweet!
    Erica recently posted..Week recap: uh, where’d it go?My Profile

    • Marisol

      Thanks Erica! Glad you enjoyed them.

  4. Agness

    Wow, these photos are spectacular and its huge size make them even more powerful. The wildlife is so incredible there. The first few photos make me feel like I was watching the Twilight movie – the scenery is so mysterious. I really really love it!
    Agness recently posted..5 Free Things To Do in Santa Fe, North AmericaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Agness, great to see you back! Glad you enjoyed the photos and their new size. It was really amazing driving through the mysterious forest and seeing the native wildlife.

  5. Beautiful shots, Marisol! Love the way you presented your Blue Dandenong Ranges pictures. One of my favorite memories from Australia was visiting Yarra Valley. My husband and I agree that we loved that wine region even more so than Napa Valley. It’s a blur on how many wineries we visited on that day trip :) But, I do remember bringing back a couple of those Fergusson wines. Keith’s picture with the kangaroos is a classic. Love it!
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..A Step Back In Time at the Roman Baths EnglandMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Ha! Ha! I can totally imagine what a blur it was and I don’t blame you! Sounded like a great honeymoon:) Yes, we loved Yarra Valley much better, too. I guess because the wineries are of boutique types and/or family-owned and nothing huge that are into mass production.

  6. I love the mystery of a foggy forest scene, like out there somewhere evil is lurking. . .of course you balanced that with that cute little Koala and then washed the fear away with those lovely wines!
    Jackie Smith recently posted..When the Sun Shines on Amsterdam. . .My Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Jackie, I like how you summarized our balancing act:)

  7. Great photos – especially your pics of the Dandenong Ranges. And your wildlife photos remind me of my visit to Featherdale Wildlife Sanctuary when I was in Oz. I remember that the dingos were jumping so high behind their cages. They’re very deceptive looking because they look like normal house dogs, but they can be fierce!
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..Out & About in IstanbulMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Dana, thanks! It’s great that you also got to enjoy one of Australia’s wildlife sanctuary. I know that dingos can be aggressive so I was surprised that the one we saw were actually tamed.

  8. I know these places! Glad to see you got some Victorian winter sunshine – ie rain!

    Cheers – Stewart M – Melbourne
    Stewart Monckton recently posted..A golden boughMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Oh, is that what you call it? We really didn’t mind the Victoria winter sunshine. It was still beautiful everywhere.

  9. Marcia

    Love those rain photos, Marisol. Good thing you didn’t let the rain stop your exploration of soulful Melbourne. Visiting wineries is the perfect way to end a day (or a post). I didn’t realize kangaroos were so tame.

    • Marisol

      HI Marcia, yes we tried to make the most out of it. Besides, there’s always a beauty in the rain. Those Roos we encountered were really tamed and friendly.

  10. Alex

    Its great to see such nice view of Australian wildlife. I especially like the photo with Kangaroos. 😉

    • Marisol

      HI Alex, glad you enjoyed the view and the kangaroos. They were adorable creatures.

  11. Bama

    I love how the mist hovered around the trees in the forest, creating a mystical ambiance. It’s always a fun experience to encounter wildlife. I’m sure we share the same feeling as we both live in big cities. :) That dingo looks really tame and doesn’t live up to its rather infamous reputation.
    Bama recently posted..Nusa Lembongan: Small Island, Big AllureMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Bama,
      Yes, it was we a fun encounter with the wildlife, especially because it was the very first time we saw Australian native animals. We were really excited to see the koalas and kangaroos in particular. I was a bit wary of the dingoes at first but the ones we encountered were really tamed.

  12. What an amazing daytrip! I love how spooky those fog-laced roads look–like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie. I would love to visit that sanctuary. You guys are such lucky ducks :)
    Amy | Club Narwhal recently posted..CHICAGO | THREE FUN THINGS TO DOMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Amy, you guys are such lucky ducks, too! I’m sure you would enjoy this sanctuary. There’s something special about seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat.

  13. Renuka

    oh my gosh…incredible photographs! I have been to Melbourne, but could not manage to visit Yarra valley…maybe next time!
    Renuka recently posted..Jodhpur – From The RooftopMy Profile

  14. I am enjoying following your Australia adventures. This looks like an excellent daytrip. Were you as excited to be up close to a kangaroo? My oldest boy got a little too close to one and it hit him in the face.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Kids and Nintendos at The LouvreMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Michelle, it really was a great day trip. Yes, we were excited to see kangaroos for the very first time and to get upclose and personal with them. Fortunately, the ones we met were really tame.
      Marisol recently posted..Beyond Melbourne: Dandenong Ranges and Yarra ValleyMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mo, thanks. Glad you like the photos.

    • Marisol

      Thanks Salika. It was really delightful to see all these Australian animals for the first time.

  15. Sophie

    What beautiful photos, especially the soulful forest and the animals. I love the Dandenongs, so much to experience there, unique wildlife, peace and quiet. My daughter (then 12) loved the colourful crimson rosella birds and the kangaroos.
    Sophie recently posted..Helsinki by InstagramMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Sophie, I’m so pleased you found them soulful! That’s one of my favorite wold “soulful.”
      Dandenongs truly has so much to offer. I’m glad you and your family enjoyed it as well.

  16. Leigh

    Looks like a wonderful day trip – and very scenic even with the rain.
    I would love to spend a day wine tasting in the Yarra Valley – though I hate to waste good wine by spitting.
    Leigh recently posted..A Visit to Grand Manan Island, New BrunswickMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Leigh,
      It truly was wonderful. Hey, you don’t have to spit:) Just make sure you have a designated driver!

    • Marisol

      Thanks Nancie! It certainly was a great day.

  17. Denise

    I love the sanctuary you’ve visited, and found the Yarra valley spectacular on a sunny day. Unfortunately, it does rain a lot in the region!
    Denise recently posted..Kyoto deserves a million postsMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Denise, it was still beautiful even with the rain, so it didn’t really bother us much.

  18. Flora

    I especially loved the pictures of trees! They are gorgeous!
    Flora recently posted..The PopsicleMy Profile

  19. Peggy

    Those forest shots are so spooky! Looks like a wet day. Maybe I should think about venturing out of Melbourne the next time I am down there. Great pics.
    Peggy recently posted..Moving Abroad: Build a social networkMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Thanks Peggy! You should definitely venture out Melbourne next time. There’s so much to see around.

  20. nicole

    zomg. look at that emu. He’s emO. I don’t think I’ve met a shy emu. They always run up to people and get in their face. =D Your photos are very pretty. =)
    nicole recently posted..A Patio Rocking Chair Memory of PragueMy Profile

  21. Dennis

    Great set once again Marisol! I’m especially drawn to the second photo – it’s so textural I could almost feel the droplets!
    Dennis recently posted..Anchorage Once MoreMy Profile

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