Exploring Mt. Dandenong ranges

A year ago at this time I was making plans to travel internationally, tick some more off my bucket list. Who ever thought that 2020 would be what it was, a year that brought us new perspectives and made us take a deeper look at ourselves and what’s around us.

While we wait apprehensively to travel around the world again, perhaps wondering and knowing it would be a longer wait than we anticipated, exploring the backyard is definitely a good way to start a New Year – 2021.

This was my thought process in taking baby steps to explore Melbourne and regional Victoria. I am hoping these blogs and write ups will help you to discover more of this beautiful state, Victoria slowly and quietly when you are ready.

hiking in Mount Dandenong Ranges, hikes, hikes in Melbourne, Easy hikes in Melbourne, things to do in Melbourne
Hiking in Mount Dandenong ranges, Victoria, Australia

Can I start by saying that I am no expert in this area and everything is new to me.
There are many interesting trails and treks in this region and this is my first one – Marthia’s walking trail. I am hoping I can share more in time to come. Hiking in Mount Dandenong is an easy getaway from city dwelling. A easy 45- minute drive from Kew, a leafy suburb based just outside the city of Melbourne brought us to this beautiful region. The drive it self to the region is refreshing.

My first impression of the foothill of Mount Dandenong ranges was that I was in a tropical rainforest, largely due to the humongous Fern trees ( I must confess that I am a big fan of these giant Ferns! They are incredibly gorgeous and exotic) and I can’t get enough of them.

Marthia’s Walking Trail

About
Marthia’s walking trail starts from the carpark at the entrance to Marthias road in Olinda. This is easy to find – just use google maps as I did and it will take you to a small carpark. In case the car park is busy as it can be at times, you can park along the road quite securely.

Time
Time to complete the trail can vary between 1- 3 hours depending on how much you decide to explore. The trail can vary between 6 – 9 km. I’d rather explore more than less as they are not exhausting and easily manageable.

Type of Trails
on Marthias Road
This is an easy trail if you decide to take Marthias road. Dogs are allowed. If you are thinking of walking your dog and getting yourself some fresh air on a comfortable walk, the trail along the main road and return to the car park is a great option.
There are many options on this trail including a short 3km loop passing the old Golf course plus plenty of small routes into the forest. We opted to go along to the end of Marthias road and de routed on more exciting trails in the forest to come back again to Marthias road. This led us to main road around half way through which was really a superb alternative to taking the main trail right throughout.

Intensity of the Trail
Easy to Moderate

What to expect on Marthias walking trail – Mount Dandenong ranges

Hiking on Mount Dandenong ranges
Off the main track on Marthias walk

Marthias road is a broad well laid road and you will find other walkers/hikers plus it is not overly crowded. We went on a weekend and there were many others on the main trail, mostly those who walked their dogs. Out of the main trail (what I loved most) have narrower paths and takes you through the forests.

Off the main track on Marthias walk

If you are a birder make sure you take some of the trails off the main path. Such an amazing range of birds can be found in close proximity. I am not too familiar with Aussie birds so not many names can be put down here. There were flocks of Crimson Rosella. As the name denotes, such colourful and a beautiful birds happily flying from one tree to another. Could not get good shots of these beauties but managed to spot a feather that really doesn’t do justice to their natural gorgeousness.

A couple of Eastern whipbirds ignored us and got about their activities, while there were echoing sounds of continuous laughters of Laughing Kookaburra taking back to my memories of the song … Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree…..

There were tiny red mushrooms growing under the foliage and I was told by another hiker that there are lot more fascinating mushrooms popping up in winter. I loved the way the wildflowers grew under the canopies as if they knew that adding colour to the lush verdant forest would be breathtakingly beautiful to passers by.

Wild flowers – Mount Dandenong Ranges
Wild flowers – Mount Dandenong Ranges
Wild flowers – Mount Dandenong Ranges

For me end of any hike should be treated with some indulgence. So we headed to Olinda, a quaint little town with little boutiques filled with treasures that encourage even the most controlled shopper to buy something or the other ( and I did ending up with scented handmade soaps and candles). There are lovely little cafes all around serving regular burgers, fish and chips to country pies, a glass of wine or two for to fill a hungry hiker. There is gelato for children and the child in you.

Olinda - Mount Dandenong Ranges
Olinda – Mount Dandenong Ranges
Olinda - Mount Dandenong Ranges
Olinda – Mount Dandenong Ranges

Make sure you carry enough water and a few snacks to energise and keep you hydrated throughout the trail. A light jumper is a good option and handy on a cool summer day. Walking shoes are suitable for this trail in case wondering about hiking shoes.

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