Much is said about the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges, but there’s more to the ‘Nongs’ than magnificent forests and scenic drives.

Here are 10 interesting Dandenong Ranges facts you may not be aware of. 

1. It all started with a bang

The Dandenong Ranges were formed by a volcano and its lava flows.

This volcano was last active 373 million years ago.

Aeons of erosion have created the slopes and deep gullies we see today.

2. Tallest in Victoria

The peak of Mount Dandenong, where SkyHigh is situated, is the highest point on the range.

It’s also the tallest natural viewing spot in Victoria.

Elevation: 633 metres above sea level. 

3. Traditional custodians

Before European settlement, the Wurundjeri people used the region for hunting and gathering. 

We would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, the traditional custodians of the Dandenong Ranges, including the land on which Ferny Hill Retreat stands.

4. Two names

Two names have been used to refer to the ranges:

  • Corhanwarrabul (traditional) 
  • Dandenong Ranges (adopted after settlement) 

Both names are derived from the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people. Sadly, the meaning of the word ‘Dandenong’ has been lost in time. 

5. Snow

Snow typically falls in the Dandenong Ranges 1 – 2 times a year. 

This is most common at higher elevations, between the winter months of June and October. 

6. Early parklands

Such is the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges that much of the area was protected by parklands as early as 1882. 

One of the first of these parklands was in Ferntree Gully where the 1000 Steps / Kakoda Memorial Trail can be found. 

 7.  TV Antennas

The first TV transmission mast was erected on Mt. Dandenong in 1956 when television came to Melbourne. 

Today there are several TV and FM Radio towers in the ranges. 


8. Artists in residence

Over the years, the Dandenong Ranges have been home to many famous artists and writers, including: Sir Arthur Streeton, C.J. Dennis, William RickettsTom Roberts 

Image: Across the Dandenongs by Tom Roberts, 1889.

9. Wildlife protection

Parts of the Dandenong Ranges have been set aside as breeding and protection areas for at-risk and endangered species.

These include the Leadbeater’s Possum and Victoria’s bird emblem, the Helmeted Honeyeater.

Image: Leadbeater’s Possum

10. The magic of the hills

Wicca and Pagan devotees have long believed the Dandenong Ranges are a powerful source of magic.

One of Australia’s most famous Witches, Kerry Culkins (dec) established a Magic Shop in Belgrave, and it still exists today.

Kerry’s niece, Sarah, a 7th Generation Kulkens Psychic, continues her aunt’s legacy.

And so ends Ferny Hill Retreat’s 10 interesting facts about the Dandenong Ranges. 

Drop us a comment if any of these facts gave you an, “Oh wow!” moment.

And we’d love to hear of any other interesting facts about the ‘Nongs’ that we didn’t cover.