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National Rhododendron Gardens

National Rhododendron Gardens

The National Rhododendron Gardens is a popular destination located in the Dandenong Ranges. This serene setting houses a variety of colourful blooms; including azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons and daffodils.

With an international reputation, this group of magnificent gardens attract up to 50,000 – 60,000 visitors every year.

National Rhododendron Gardens Hours, Map & Cherry Blossoms, Olinda

The gardens are known to house some of the rarest and most popular Australian flora and fauna. You will come across a number of garden and fern gullies at this park, apart from its variety of seasonal blooms.

Visitors to the garden can explore the habitat of rare lyrebird species, with a number of visitors heading to this park in winter in order to watch this rare bird. You will also find several other bird species; including king parrots, ducks, peacocks and crimson rosellas.

Whether it is spring or autumn, the gardens always stay vibrant and colourful with its wide variety of blooming gardens; with the gardens also renowned for the flora Mount Ash, the world’s tallest flowering plant.

Set at the foothills of the blue Australian Alps, these gardens offer the best scenic views of the surrounding landscape and its adjacent verdant forest.

Those interested in visiting can take a self-guided tour across the 103 acres of scenic botanic gardens. In addition, a number of tour operators offer mini-bus tours to these gardens during spring. You can take a 20 minute narrated tour across the charming gardens and explore what the place has to offer.

Seasonal changes ensure the gardens are a delight all year around, so there is no best time to visit. However, as you would expect, spring brings with it a seasonal bloom and warmer weather, so is a good time to visit as the days are warm and the evenings cool.

As the gardens house a number of picnic grounds, you can come here for a picnic as well. Also, enjoy watching the native bird life and the stunning views of the Alps from various the lookouts within the garden’s vicinity.

Address
The Georgian Road
Olinda, VIC

Operating Hours
10am - 5pm

Phone
131 963

Email
info@parks.vic.gov.au

Ticket Prices / Admission
Entrance to the gardens is free.

Fees for the Garden Explorer Bus Tour
Adults: $12
Concession: $10
Child: $10
Child (Under 12yrs): Free

87 Comments

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    • Hi Natasha,

      Unfortunately the cherry blossoms are pretty well finished for the season. However the gardens are still magnificent at this time of year with rhododendrons and azaleas combining to create a magnificent garden filled with mauves, pinks, oranges and reds.

      Have a great time at the Rhododendron Gardens!
      Jess

    • Hi Rae,

      October (and Spring in general) is a great time to visit the Rhododendron Gardens. Throughout October, the colours build with rhododendrons and azaleas combining to create a magnificent garden filled with mauves, pinks, oranges and reds.

      Have a great time!~
      Jess

  • Hi,

    I’m planning a visit to Melbourne in November and I’m interested to visit the garden. May I know is there any floral blossom during the month? Or will there be any attractive happenings around during the month?

    Appreciate your advice.

    Thanks

    • Hello,

      Unfortunately the Cherry Blossoms will have finished flowering by November. However the gardens are still very much alive and beautiful in November as it is still Spring. Throughout October, the colours build with rhododendrons and azaleas combining to create a magnificent garden filled with mauves, pinks, oranges and reds. Most of these colours will remain through November with the colours muting sometime in December.

      Have a great time at the National Rhododendron Gardens!
      Jess

    • Hi Lisa,

      As of Tuesday this week on the 26th, it was reporting by Parksvic that “The cherry blossoms are now 90 per cent in bloom. It is hoped they will last for the next few days, weather depending.”

      So based on that information, it sounds like this weekend will be the last chance to view the blossoms. Perhaps give Parksvic a quick call on 131963 before you make the trip out to make sure things are conditions are still worthwhile.

      Thanks
      Michael

    • Hi Jackie,

      No, there aren’t any BBQs located inside the gardens themselves. You are welcome to pack a picnic however to enjoy in the gardens or, if you want to still enjoy a BBQ in the area, head to the nearby Hamer Arboretum. There are free electric BBQ’s located there.

      Regards,
      Jess

  • Hello,

    I would like to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. May I please know if they have fully flowered?

    I am considering to go this Saturday or next Friday. Which date will be better?

    Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you.

    Tina

    • Hi Flora,

      There are currently a few buds and flowers starting to appear at the National Rhododendron Gardens, but there is still a way to go until flowering. With this cold weather, it is expected they may be out in flower sometime in late September.

      Best regards,
      Jess

  • Hi I visited last week but the cherry blossoms weren’t in bloom yet. Looking for an update as to whether they’ll be good this weekend or next weekend is better? I don’t want to miss it! Also whether the garden explorer is available as we would like to bring some old folks but they can’t walk very far. Thanks!

    • Hi Yuki,

      There are currently a few buds and flowers starting to appear at the National Rhododendron Gardens, but there is still a way to go until flowering. With this cold weather, it is expected they may be out in flower sometime in late September.

      The Garden Explorer commenced as from Monday 18 September 2017 through to Friday 3 November 2017. Bookings are required for groups only. The Garden Explorer vehicle is a 24 seater bus which provides comfort and protection to its passengers and high seating for better views of the magnificent garden.

      Best regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Eliza,

      September is a great time to visit, with mild weather and sunny days. However, I would wait until the end of the month when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Early October is probably even better to visit, as we have had a very cold winter, the flowers are taking an extra week or two to fully flower.

      Have a great time!
      Jess

    • Hi Lucy,

      The Melbourne weather will be at its hottest in February, with temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius on any given day. There are typically beautiful blue hydrangeas and multi-coloured lilies in flower during this time, so you will still get a beautiful experience even during the hot months.

      Check the local weather reports regarding bush fires. The Dandenong Ranges is certainly a bush-fire zone during those months, but just check the local Bureau of Meteorology Website for updates in the days leading up. The park remains open all year, unless there is are dangerous weather conditions. The area hasn’t been affected by bushfires in the last few years, so hopefully 2018 remains the same!

      Have a great time at the National Rhododendron Gardens!

      Kind regards,
      Jess

  • Hello Jess. By any chance we can see Cherry Blossom in full bloom this weekend or next? Am thinking of going there with my friends this weekend but not sure what is our best option. Please advise. Thank you and have a great day.

    • Hi Angie,

      The magnolias are looking wonderful and there are early flowering rhododendrons and camellias, as well as daffodils, proteas and hellebores.

      As the gardens are at a 500 metre altitude, the cherry trees bloom later than they do in the suburbs of Melbourne. Blossoms usually reach peak bloom in mid-September to early October. “Peak bloom” starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. Once open, flowers last from 4 to 10 days, depending on the weather conditions. There are a few buds and flowers starting to appear, but there is still a way to go until flowering. With this cold weather, it is expected they may be out in flower sometime from mid to late September.

      Therefore, I would wait another week if possible.

      Best regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Vivian,

      I would wait another week. As the National Rhododendron Gardens are at a 500 metre altitude, the cherry trees bloom later than they do in the suburbs of Melbourne. Blossoms usually reach peak bloom in mid-September to early October. “Peak bloom” starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. Once open, flowers last from 4 to 10 days, depending on the weather conditions. There are a few buds and flowers starting to appear, but there is still a way to go until flowering. With this cold weather, it is expected they may be out in flower sometime from mid to late September.

      Therefore, I would wait another week if possible.

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Michelle,

      The Cherry Blossoms in the National Rhododendron Gardens can be a little fickle, coming out at slightly different times each year depending on weather conditions.

      In 2016, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom around the last week of September and into the first week of October. I would expect similar results in 2017.

      Have a great time in the Dandenong Ranges!
      Jess

    • Hi Ng,

      The gardens are maintained all year round. In 2 weeks will be the height of summer with very warm days. The gardens will give you some lovely shade and the lawns will be green, which is a great place for a picnic!

      There will be some flowers in bloom, however not all are summer plants so some may suffer in the hot temperature.

      Have a great time at the National Rhododendron Gardens in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges!

      Regards, Jess

      • Thanks for the reply. Could you give me some advice on the best driving route and in which sequence to take. We are planning to drive from our place in Ferntree Gully to these places below:

        1. Puffing Billy
        2. Grants on Sherbrooke’to feed the birds
        3. George Tindale Memorial Gardens
        4. National Rhododendron Gardens
        5. Warratina Lavender Farm
        6. Belgrave Farmers Market, will it be open on 29 Jan?

        I think one day is not enough to cover all so do let me know which are the ones not to be missed if I only have a day to cover them. Puffing Billy and Grants to feed the birds is definitely a MUST as we are travelling with kids.

        Thank you so much

        • Hi Ng,

          Well these attractions are definitely too much for just one day, so I recommend you break them down into areas:

          Day 1: Puffing Billy first. Then to Grants on Sherbrooke (only 3kms away). Then to George Tindale Memorial Gardens (only 1.4kms away). These attractions are all close together, so work them around whatever time you choose to ride on Puffing Billy. I recommend catching a morning train as the return trip will take around 3hrs to complete with a stop off at Lakeside.

          Day 2: National Rhododendron Gardens. Then to Warratina Lavender Farm (about 20kms away). The Belgrave Farmers market will not be open on the 29th of January as it runs on the 4th Sunday of each month which will make it the 22nd of January.

          Simply put these places into Google Maps and you will receive information on the best routes from Ferntree Gully.

          Have a great time in the Dandenong Ranges!

          Kind regards,
          Jess

  • Hi, my partners favourite flower is the cherry blossom and I was wondering the best time to visit when they are in full bloom? I assume it will be in Spring, but was wondering if there’s a particular time that is best. Thanks

    • Hi Matt,

      The Cherry Blossoms in the National Rhododendron Gardens can be a little fickle, coming out at slightly different times each year depending on weather conditions.

      In 2016, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom around the last week of September and into the first week of October. I would expect similar results in 2017.

      Have a great time in the Dandenong Ranges!
      Jess

    • Hi Irene,

      Although the garden itself is no longer in full bloom during summer, there are still flowers that like to come out in December making the gardens a great place to visit during this time.

      Summer is a great time to walk around the nature trails in the shade or take a picnic on the lawns. The main burst of colour will come from the blue and white hydrangeas which will be in full bloom in summer and there are large banks of them planted all around the garden.

      I hope you have a great time in the Dandenong Ranges over summer!

      Kind regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Emily,

      Yes as many of the flowers will still be in bloom. The cherry blossoms wont be flowering by that time, but you will still have a lot of magnolias and rhododendrons flowering. The camelias are out now and should still be out at the end of the month.

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Minh,

      In short, yes as many of the flowers will still be in bloom. The cherry blossoms wont be flowering by that time, but you will still have a lot of magnolias and rhododendrons flowering. The camelias are out now and should be out at the end of the month.

      Have a great time at the National Rhododendron Gardens and the Dandenong Ranges!
      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Catherine,

      The cherry blossoms are past their peak and only a few remain. However, the magnolias still looking beautiful, along with the leucadendrons. The rhododendrons are nearly in full bloom with more to come and the camellias are still in flower.

      Have a great day at the National Rhododendron Gardens!
      Best regards,
      Jess

    • Hi there,

      This weekend is a great time to go as the flowers are now in full bloom. There are some picnic tables throughout the gardens and there are plenty of lawn areas for picnic rugs. There are also some nice spots on the lawn near the lake.

      Have a great time at the National Rhododendron Gardens.

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Catherine,

      Tomorrow is a great time for you to visit the gardens as I understand over 80% of the flowers are in bloom!

      And yes, the gardens are only a 1.5km walk (20 minutes) from Olinda. Just type “Rhododendron Gardens” into Google Maps and it will show you the way.

      Regards,
      Jess

  • Hi –
    Are the flowers in full bloom now? Will the coming long weekend (Sep 30-Oct 2) be a good time to visit? I would love to visit the garden during the peak blossom period. Are there any events happening during the time?

    • Hi Smita,

      Parks Victoria gave an update on the 12th of September 2016″
      “The magnolias are at their peak and looking wonderful. Early rhododendrons and camellias are now in flower along with daffodils, proteas and hellebores. As the gardens are at a 500 metre altitude, the cherry trees bloom later than they do in the suburbs of Melbourne. Blossoms usually reach peak bloom in mid-September to early October. Peak bloom starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. Once open flowers last from 4–10 days, depending on the weather conditions. Photos show a few buds and flowers starting to appear, but there is still a way to go until flowering. With this cold weather we expect they may be out in flower sometime from mid-September.”

      There aren’t any planned events during this time, so the best way to enjoy the gardens is to take a picnic and have a relaxing day!

      Best regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Leong, thanks for your question.

      The latest update from Parks Victoria states the following:

      “7 September 2016
      Early rhododendrons and camellias are now in flower along with daffodils, proteas, hellebores and magnolias.
      As the gardens are at a 500 metre altitude, the cherry trees bloom later than they do in the suburbs of Melbourne. Blossoms usually reach peak bloom in mid-September to early October. ‘Peak bloom’ starts when at least 70% of the blossoms are open. Once open flowers last from 4 – 10 days, depending on the weather conditions.

      Photos above show a few buds starting to appear, but there is still a way to go until flowering. We expect they may be out in flower sometime from mid-September, depending on the weather.”

      Hope this helps!

      Best regards,
      Jess

    • Hello Hayat,

      The best time to see the cherry blossom is during the flowering season in Spring – usually late September and October.

      During this time, the cherry blossoms flower and the rhododendrons and azaleas’ colourful flowers combine to make the gardens a magical mix of pinks and reds.

      Enjoy your time in the gardens!
      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Chandru,

      Its going to be very cold this weekend in the Dandenong Ranges and there is a little bit of rain expected.

      The experience at the gardens is very different in winter than in summer. Cyclamen flowers carpet the ground and the vireya collection can be seen. If you dress warmly and have different expectations, there is no reason why you cant enjoy the gardens in winter.

      Also, the crowds will be much less in winter, allowing you to have much of the gardens to yourselves.

      Best Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Pamela, thanks for contacting us.

      Unfortunately we do not sell tours to the Rhododendron Gardens. I cannot find a tour company that offers a specific tour to the gardens, as most tours are centred on a trip out to Puffing Billy.

      The best way to get out to the gardens from Melbourne (or any other location) is to hire a car – I have attached a link for you here.

      As for lunch options whilst at the gardens, there is no cafe within the gardens but there are a number of beautiful picnic spots if you wish to take your own picnic. If you’d prefer to lunch somewhere else, there are a number of cafes in the nearby township of Olinda where you can find brunch or afternoon tea.

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Mel,

      I haven’t ventured out to the Dandenongs this Autumn as yet. However, given we are in the 2nd month of Autumn, I would be very surprised if the gardens haven’t taken on the beautiful rustic hues that they are well known for.

      Perhaps you could take a trip down to the gardens and report back to us? We would love the update!

      Regards
      Jess

    • Hi Esther,

      Here is the park note from the Parks Victoria website:
      “Beginning in August, the vibrant sunshine yellows of daffodils dance with the dignified blooms of camellias announcing the imminence of spring. Throughout September, amidst snowy drifts of flowering cherries, colour will consistently build to a crescendo in October and early November, when rhododendrons and azaleas combine to paint a flamboyant splash of gaudy colour across the Gardens in loud mauves, pinks, oranges and reds.”

      I hope this helps! Enjoy the beautiful gardens in Spring.

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Puri,

      Yes, you can get to the Dandenong Ranges from the Melbourne CBD using public transport. If you are coming from the city, catch a train from Flinders Street Station or Southern Cross Station.

      There are two options:
      1. “Lilydale Line” – Visitors can travel by train to Croydon Station and the Route 688 bus from Croydon to Olinda OR
      2. “Belgrave Line” – Take the train to Belgrave and the Route 694 bus to Olinda.

      Check http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au for scheduled times. The Gardens are just a short stroll from the centre of Olinda.

      In so far as activities with a baby, the Rhododendron Gardens are meant for strolling and picnicking. There is plenty of grass for your little one to play on whilst you relax under a shady tree.

      Enjoy your day in the Dandenong Ranges!

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Puri,

      Yes, you can get to the Dandenong Ranges from the Melbourne CBD using public transport. If you are coming from the city, catch a train from Flinders Street Station or Southern Cross Station.

      There are two options:
      1. “Lilydale Line” – Visitors can travel by train to Croydon Station and the Route 688 bus from Croydon to Olinda OR
      2. “Belgrave Line” – Take the train to Belgrave and the Route 694 bus to Olinda.

      Check http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au for scheduled times. The Gardens are just a short stroll from the centre of Olinda.

      In so far as activities with a baby, the Rhododendron Gardens are meant for strolling and picnicking. There is plenty of grass for your little one to play on whilst you relax under a shady tree. The gardens are stroller friendly and you can also wander through Olinda with a pram and visit some of the smalls shops in town.

      Enjoy your day in the Dandenong Ranges!

      Regards,
      Jess

    • Hi Dee,

      To quote some of the Parks Victoria material, it is stated that “Autumn is ablaze with colour as the deciduous trees and shrubs turn every shade of yellow, red and orange. The views by the lake are spectacular as many of the hydrangeas take on rustic colours and the colours are reflected in the cool calm waters”.

      If our summer runs longer like it did last year, you might still see a bit of colour out of the hydrangeas.

      Hope this helps and have a great time up there in March.
      Michael

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