A Trip To ‘The Nongs’

Being a busy Thursday, I decided what better to do than bugger off out of town & head to the local mountain/forest range.

(Some) locals call these “the nongs”, but officially they’re the Dandenong Ranges. It’s about an hours drive east of where I live.

Anyway, they’re green, and, you know, mountainy. That’s all I care about. Thursday was one of those days where I definitely needed more green.

So what do they look like? Great question. I’m glad you asked, because I have pictures, nothing but pictures, just for you. Really, just you!


Before you enter the ranges, there are important notices to pay attention to. Note the picture. I was relieved my arms & legs would still be attached when I’d left. I was less sure about my head.


There are lots of these. Birds in Australia are very bright, and make particularly unusual sounds. I’m not sure why. Maybe because there are crocodiles (‘crocs’) here. Not the kind you wear on your feet, although they have those too. The kind that eat your feet. If I had neighbours like that, I’d make weird noises too.


Here’s a tree that utterly captivated me. Bizarre thing is, it’s actually dead (or perhaps just faking it very well). It still managed to be incredibly majestic. The stunning blue sky backdrop helped. There was a natural clearing right next to this which seemed a great place to hang out for an hour, lying in the sun, listening to birds complaining about our intrusion & watching the trees sway in the gentle breeze.


Here’s what walking through the Dandenongs is like. ’nuff said.


A peculiarity of Australian trees is that they naturally lose their bark in summer months. This creates a ton of kindling which helps spur bush fires in the undergrowth. If the fires happen regularly enough, then the forests as a whole are spared. How this evolved just boggles my mind, but man, it’s awesome. You can see in the above pics a whole stand of trees where the fires have come through – the trees are still alive, and the burn marks go about 20 feet up the trees.


Here’s a close up – an alive tree, but the entire inside has burnt out. Crazy, crazy country this.


I also saw a camo goat.


& in case you had trouble spotting the goat in the above pic, here’s a close up. You’re welcome.

So anyway, after walking for, I dunno, 4 or 5 hours, leaving from a town called Sassafras, we ended up in a town called Olinda. Umm. We were trying to go back to Sassafras, honest. Middle of the day, being pretty careful to backtrack as accurately as possible, and still ended up one town over. Sure am glad it wasn’t raining. Or dark. Or full of man eating goats.


Turns out there’s an award winning pie-ary in Olinda.

Oh, and if you’re curious (I know you are) a pie floater consists of pea soup, with a meat pie floating in it, all covered in tomato ketchup. It’s a lot tastier than it sounds – I had one once. My Dad used to live on them.

Not the best choice for a raw foodist, but I figured we were in pie country now.

I had a salad.