This wondrous attraction is just out of Melbourne and will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fantasy novel. At only an hour’s drive out of central city, it’s easy to get to in your Melbourne Airport car rentals.

This area changes with the seasons. In the summer the foliage is bold and bright, while in the winter you will get softer scenery that is shrouded in mist and dusted with snow.

The Dandenong Ranges National Park has many hiking opportunities in a landscape that will take your breath away. The floral delights of the National Rhododendron Gardens are abundant. Along with the flower that gave the park its name, there are azaleas, camellias and daffodils adding colour to the garden.

Coffee shops and restaurants, as well as stores that sell crafts and antiques, are nearby, along with the Puffing Billy train. This ancient steam train is still running on its original track. You can see the sights and feel the wind on your face through the open windows.

For sculptures that could also fit into the fantasy novel, go to the William Ricketts Sanctuary. There are Aboriginal figures sculptured out of clay right in amongst the trees and shrubbery. If you feel like a challenge, climb the thousand steps of the Kokoda Walk.

It’s easy to discover the major attractions or on your own. In your car you can take a scenic drive through the ranges. Take the opportunity to see the glory of the area at the lookouts and viewing areas, and stop off to have a picnic in the Sherbrooke Forest or at One Tree Hill.

If you’re still around for dinner and are looking for a place to get some food, the Sky High Restaurant sits above the ranges so you can get a gourmet meal while the sun sets over this picturesque landscape.