I had heard of the spectacular National Rhododendron Gardens in the village of Olinda. And the Interwebs also told me it was Tulip Festival time in the nearby village of Silvan. So to make a weekend out of it we hopped in the car to see the sights of a small part of the Dandenong Ranges.
First stop was Olinda and the National Rhododendron Gardens.
So our weekend began trekking through this beautiful park and the Sonofaguns got lost when they wandered off in another direction after getting bored of the Amazona taking ALL of the photos of every single thing.
Unfortunately the Japanese Cherry blossoms were about 2 weeks late and the Azaleas were not yet flowering, but the Rhodies were beautiful and the views of the far off Blue Dandenongs were breathtaking.
|I'm a real sucker for a gorgeous Mag that's bigger than my head...|
|Carpets of Helleborus everywhere|
|Sonofagun No.1 contemplates like, bushes and stuff.|
|I love driving around these curvy mountainy roads. Just beautiful!|
We were running a couple of hours behind a very casual schedule so we first checked into our cabin at Healesville Tourist Park, before driving a short kilometer to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.
|Healesville Tourist Park. The view from our cabin. How's the serenity...|
Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the three Zoo Victoria zoos, this one featuring Australian native wildlife.
I've visited all three zoos now and whilst it's always lovely to visit Melbourne and Werribee zoos, I really loved this one.
The Sanctuary is set in lush bushland with all sorts of close encounters and zoo experiences. There are also lots of beautiful places to sit and have a cuppa or picnic while the kiddies play.
One of the first animal enclosures we found was the Emu enclosure where these inquisitive huge birds were at the low fence and the keepers were handing containers of lettuces and greens to the kids to hold up for the birds to eat. Sonofagun No.2 thought this was the best!
Similar to the Koala Sanctuary on Phillip Island, you walk around on an elevated bridge with the Koalas dozing and gazing sleepily at us from their perches just out of arms reach. Just as well. We all know they are closely related to their vicious cousins the Drop Bears and turn on you any minute....
|Will rip your head off. But easily deterred by a smear of vegemite behind the ears.|
|Cute as a button Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)|
In my misspent youth, I was a horticulturist so was very familiar with Tesselaar Bulbs being a major producer of bulbs in Australia and as such I was keen to see what kind of displays they could produce.
|Where's Tiny Tim when you need him?|
|Does this blossom make my bum look big?|
|Sonofagun No.2 is hiding. 10 bucks says you won't find him.|
Floriade is truly amazing with garden beds and sculptures following a theme, this years being 'Reflection' with the garden displays created to represent the ideas of war and peace as a part of the 100th Anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli. I am super sad I won't make it this year.
The Tesselaar Tulip Festival was beautiful but the key difference is the bulb beds are in long nursery fields. On one hand it's a little boring. But on the positive side they are set up so you can walk right in and take lots of photos of yourself and the kids tiptoeing through the tulips. And all the different varieties were clearly labeled which was fantastic.
|Sonofagun No.2 thinks mum is awesome for saying 'yes' to a ride on the Tulip Tractor. Mum just couldn't be arsed walking all the way down the the end of the field. |
It's a Win-win!
Each weekend over the 4 weeks of the festival have a theme. This weekend was Turkish Weekend because apparently tulips originated in Turkey!
|I almost blew the weekend budget to buy one of these beauties. But I was a good girl and opted for a much cheaper little bowl instead.|
|See that yellow flower bowl up in the back left corner? That's now in my loungeroom!|
Sonofagun No.2 and I went on a Tulip Train (a truck with a couple of carriages) whilst Sonofagun No.1 slunk off in his teenage angsty way to discreetly find a pressie for his girlfriend.
In the 'Top Garden' there are beautiful perennial garden beds and a gorgeous fairy/ gnome garden filled with lots of different varieties of violets.
|My favourite opportunistic pic of the day...|
Hope you all are enjoying your Spring and Autumn wherever you are in the world!