Northeast of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley stretches out towards the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, with Yarra Glen and Healesville the targets for excursions into the wine country and the superb forest scenery beyond. To the east, and still within the suburban limits, the cool Dandenong Ranges have been a popular retreat for city folk for over a century, with quaint villages, fine old houses, beautiful flowering gardens and shady forests of eucalypts and tree ferns. To get to all these destinations and to have a good look round, you really need your own vehicle.

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Undiscovered Australia: 7 places to get off the tourist trail

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The rebirth of Perth: how the city got cool

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12 tips for backpacking Australia

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