Daytrip from Melbourne
The gardens were created by a local couple, Harvey and Gillian Ansell, in 1959 on 28 acres. On their annual overseas holidays, the Ansells bought and imported new and unusual plants that were planted amongst the native rainforest species. In 1977, the Ansells donated the garden to the Victoria government.
2. National Rhododendron Gardens
Did you know there are 950 species of rhododendrons in the world? Nope, I didn’t either, but this Victorian garden contains approximately 550 of these species.
|We saw this cheeky Kookaburra literally swoop down and steal some chicken from a picnic table!|
We saw dozens of cockatoos and lorikeets here, but they were perched too high up in the trees to get any good photos. Here is a walking map of the area.
|Does anyone know what these metallic blue bugs are? Such a strange color!|
5. William Ricketts Sanctuary
This sanctuary was created way back in the 1930s by local sculptor William Rickets when he bought a four-acre bush block and called it Potter's Sanctuary. Over the years, he made frequent trips and befriended the Pitjantjatjara and Arrente Aboriginal people, whose traditions and culture inspired his sculptures. In the 1960s, the Victorian government heard about his work and bought his property and additional adjoining land. Ricketts lived at the sanctuary into his nineties and continued to create his sculptures until his death in 1993.
This sanctuary is truly a magical place! I felt like the sculptures, half hidden among the ferns, were literally coming out of the ground and becoming part of the surrounding forest. It’s really tragic to think how the Aboriginal people were treated when the first “white people” arrived in Australia and then destroyed acres and acres of land and killed thousands of local animals such as koalas, kangaroos and wallabies.
Have you visited the Dandenong Ranges? Do you have any other tips for our next trip?