One day in the Dandenong Ranges…..

I have finally found time to sit at my desk!! Yayyy! I am literally every single dancer in this music video!

I look forward to the holidays, but bloody hell, school is just the best!!! Two weeks of jam packed activities last school holidays left me crawling back to school on the Monday, with acne, bags under my eyes, and the urge to not go back at pick up time.

I’d packed so much in to the break that day one of the hols started like this…

“Every body get up, quick!  Quicker…. or we’ll be late”

Sleepy child #1 “Mum, hold on I have to make my bed like you said”

“Oh sod the bed, we’re going to be late, GET MOVING”

…and the rest of the holidays followed in the same way. Unmade beds, laundry everywhere, apple cores strategically placed on window sills, and the car became a health hazard.

So now a few weeks on, it’s absolutely freezing in Melbourne, I’m still finding rotting apple cores, and I have a hangover that’s lasted two weeks. So unfair.

We have been super busy exploring more of Melbourne and more of phenomenal Victoria! Once we were over the holidays, we headed out to the Dandenong Ranges. It’s not far from here and Mr W and I are experts at eye spy even if the kids aren’t.


Our first stop was Grants Picnic Ground where you can hand feed the Cockatoos, Rosellas and parrots. After living in Sydney, where the Cockatoos are blatantly out to kill you, and the Parrots just loved to pee on me, I thought this would a) be dangerous and b) worth the risk. Well, the children have been particularly annoying recently. Come on birds, it’s payback time!

We purchased our bird seed tokens at the kiosk ($4 each), and headed to the fenced area where a sweet little bird loving lady (who claimed one of the cockatoos was her treasured pet (They all look the same??)) handed us our silver trays filled with bird seed. Poppy reversed out and stood well back. Monty followed. Tim and I entered the circle of doom alone! My plan to have the kids eaten alive had backfired tremendously. Tim was gracefully attending to the birds, meanwhile, I had about 64 Cockatoos swoop upon me like something out of  Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds‘…. I couldn’t move; I was being closely stared at by hundreds of little black, beady eyes. I had four on my shoulders, three on each arm, one literally clawing at my skull, perched on my head, and the dish was full of greedy peckers.

Each cockatoo weighs a ton, (not literally, that would be awful) so you need to be holding your dish with two hands. (That’s a good tip!!) One cockatoo decided he liked the look of my shoe laces and clung on to my ankle for dear life. I wished I’d worn a Tena!!

The children thought this was hilarious of course, and realised that as nearly all the birds were attached to me, it was probably safe to come in and have a go themselves.

Once the bird seed was gone and the cockatoos had given up fighting whilst perched across my body, we headed into the forest. There are a few different paths you can take depending on how far you want to walk. We did the shortest walk, with the obligatory detour after taking a wrong turn. The scenery is stunning. Huge mountain ash towering above us, thick moss growing amongst fallen trees which have become home to all sorts of little critters. Ancient ferns, and huge sloppy puddles perfect for sliding through. Along the paths are small boards filled with information on the fauna and wildlife surrounding you. You couldn’t be anywhere else in the world.

Typically, we hadn’t banked on needing boots, so like the ‘City Kids’ that we have become, we managed to hike through the mud in a selection of stylish runners… When will we learn?

Once we’d scraped the mud off our shoes, and had our picnic eaten by a few pesky but splendid Kookaburras we headed to explore a couple of the many wonderful villages that the Dandenong’s hold. There are so many places to choose from.

You don’t need to feed them as they’re expert thieves…

We bumbled through the winding forest, and quaint little villages, whilst Monty hollered things out of the car window like, “I will destroyyyy you” and “watch out baaaaad maaaaan”….  I think he even shouted “The eeeend is neaaaar”….

Suprisingly we managed to arrive in Sassafras without too much attention, and got out to explore. We poked our heads into the lovely little shops, we looked through a fab antique centre, then Monty managed to cut his hand in the toy shop so we had to make an emergency dash for some bandaids… Never a dull moment! By the time we had got ourselves to the much talked about Miss Marple’s Tea Room it was full… We couldn’t risk another hour of trying to keep the kids safe on empty stomachs so we walked a little further and found the delightful Fat Badger Cafe. Phew!!

Our day trip to the Dandenong’s ended with all four of us snuggled up on the sofa, in front of the log fire, drinking steaming hot chocolates and eating freshly baked cakes.

Yes folks, it was another awesome adventure in Oz…..

Olivia xx

‘I’d rather look back at my life and think “I can’t believe I did that!” – Instead of saying “I wish I had done that” – Unknown


Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges are a set of low mountain ranges, rising to 633 metres at Mount Dandenong, approximately 35 km east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The ranges consist mostly of rolling hills, steeply weathered valleys and gullies covered in thick temperate rainforest, predominantly of tall Mountain Ash trees and dense ferny undergrowth. (Wikipedia)

Visitor Information Email:

Accomodation: Click here for some ideas

Activities and things to do: Click here for a whole heap of things to keep you out of trouble.

Next time on The Wilson’s of Oz…….

Our trip from Melbourne all the way to the Twelve Apostles…. 

Yes that’s 227.4km in the car with the gang… I felt it, I can assure you!!



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