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RJ Hamer Arboretum (Olinda)

Visitors to the RJ Hamer Arboretum can take a quiet, peaceful stroll along the many walking tracks and roads providing access to the 126 hectares of breathtaking scenery and tranquil beauty that the Arboretum has to offer. 'Arboretum' is a Latin word meaning a place for trees and an Arboretum can simply be called a 'tree museum'.

Things to Do
  • Open daily with free admission, there are many things to see and do at the RJ Hamer Arboretum.
  • The picnic area with free electric barbecues is a great place to meet with family and friends.
  • Stroll, jog or run through the mix of exotic and native tree species or simply relax and enjoy the breathtaking views across the Yarra Valley out to the Warburton Ranges and beyond.
  • The RJ Hamer Arboretum lookout on Woolrich Road hosts two paintings featured in the Heidelberg School Artists Trail. The paintings are "Golden afternoon in Olinda" c 1924 and "View from Farmer's, Olinda" c 1924, both by Arthur Streeton. The lookout has panoramic views stretching out over the east of the Dandenong Ranges across the Yarra Valley to the Great Dividing Range.

  • The RJ Hamer Arboretum provides electric barbecues and toilets.
  • There is a gazebo at Woolrich Lookout.
  • Baby changing facilities.

The RJ Hamer Arboretum land is a small part of the original Dandenong and Woori Yallock State forest, proclaimed over 110 years ago. A succession of fires destroyed the original eucalypt forest and during 1948 -1955 softwood trees were planted on site as part of plans to improve Victoria's timber supplies.

The fires of 1962 destroyed the majority of these post war plantings and the government then investigated the future use of the area. Plans were developed for the establishment of an exotic forest Arboretum to be used as part of a firebreak for the Olinda township. The RJ Hamer Arboretum is the first known occasion in which a forest style Arboretum was completely established by planting. A basic planting design was completed in 1970 and planting was carried out for the next 15 years.

There are over 150 species of native and exotic trees in the arboretum in plantations designed to represent forests (rather than single specimen plantings common to many arboreta), creating a patchwork effect over the hills. The majestic gums and oaks and the ornamental willows and birches are at their best in the summer. The flowering beauty of so many species in the RJ Hamer Arboretum create a kaleidoscope of colours worthy of many international arboreta.

A rich array of autumn colours provides spectacular views, from the fiery red, oranges and crimsons of the liquidambers and maples, to the subtle paling of the deciduous conifers. In winter, the tranquil resting of the deciduous trees contrasting with the early flowering species among a mystic lake of low hanging clouds, offers viewing delight.

Looking After the Park
  • Take your rubbish with you.
  • Dogs are allowed in the arboretum but must be on a leash at all times in order to protect the wildlife. No other pets are permitted in the arboretum.
  • No fires, including barbecues, may be lit on days of Total Fire Ban.
  • All plants and animals are protected.
  • Leave the gardens as you find them.

How to Get There
The RJ Hamer Arboretum is located about 2 km east of the township of Olinda along Chalet Road.

Opening Hours:

The Arboretum is open every day of the year to pedestrians 24 hours a day.




It is a lovely walk through an ever changing variety of trees. Near the car park is an elevated area with two tables, four BBQs, toilets and lovely views. There is also a lookout shelter near the parking area which overlooks a very long line of Japanese Cedars. There is signage which explains the name, country of origin and date planted.

Highlights included the sequoias with their weird curved branches, an area where we waded through Pin Oak leaves during autumn and the beautiful patterns of the birch trees.

Some tracks are a bit slippery when wet and sections are quite steep. It took about 70 minutes to walk from the car park to Valley Picnic ground (which can also be reached by car) which has wooden fuel BBQs, unshaded tables and toilets. It is strongly advisable to take a map so that you know how to get back to the starting point.


Address | Contact

26 Chalet Road,  Olinda 3788, Victoria, Australia. View Map Map opens in new browser window
Map: 122 Ref: B9

Web Links

Link RJ Hamer Arboretum

Link RJ Hamer Arboretum - Park Notes / Map (PDF)

Link The Best Family Activities in the Dandenong Ranges

  Reader Feedback  

Corianda Li      Posted:    3:18 PM June 20, 2012

My husband and I had been to the Hamer Arboretum twice. The first time we saw the 'Ginkgo Track' we didn't have enough time to walk it. Last Wednesday (13/6/2012)we went there again and walked the complete track, anticipating to find some Ginkgo biloba trees. To our disappointment, we couldn't find any Ginkgo trees or any fallen leaves. Can anyone tell us if there are any Ginkgo trees in this lovely place? We then went to the Geelong Botanic Gardens two days later and found the magnificent Ginkgo biloba tree that was nearly 150 years old. We strongly feel that we should have some Ginkgo trees in the Arboretum. Thanks!

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