The Yarra Valley is located a short 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne, the capital of the southern Australian state of Victoria, and is an idyllic destination for a day tour or weekend getaway. The Yarra Valley’s rolling green hills are brimming with vineyards, boutique wineries, orchards, cheesemakers and quality restaurants, and the whole region is quite simply a gourmet’s delight. Whatever your interests, Melbourne’s Yarra Valley has something for everyone.
The Yarra Valley is home to many excellent food and wine festivals. In January, raspberry lovers can enjoy the Kinglake Raspberry Fair, while May offers the Kellybrook Cider Festival and the Grape Grazing Festival. In November, the Victoria Strawberry Festival is held in Seville and the Country Harvest Festival is held at the Warratina Lavender Farm. In December, the Victorian Cherry Festival is held at Wandin.
The Yarra Valley is home to at least 23 wineries which are open to visitors and where you can sample their award-winning produce. The wineries range in scale from large operations such as Rochford’s Eyton and Tarra Warra Estate to small boutique wineries such as Ainsworth Estate in Seville and Warramate Wines near Healesville. If history interests you, the historic Yering Station-Yarrabank winery near Yarra Glen claims to be the first vineyard established in Victoria.
Pioneer history can also be experienced with a visit to Gulf Station, an early farm in Yarra Valley now managed by the National Trust. Lovers of Australian animals can pack a picnic lunch and visit the world famous Healesville Sanctuary to view a large variety of native animals including kanagroos, wallabies, wombats, emus. echidnas, goannas and platypus. On a sunny day the Healesville Sanctuary is a great place for a picnic, and there are plenty of picnic shelters for damper weather. Opposite the Healesville Sanctuary is the Galeena Beek Living Cultural Centre, where you can learn more about the cultural heritage of indigenous Australians from the Melbourne region.
Healesville is delightful country town nestled in the Dandenong Ranges and is a haven for lovers of art, crafts and cafes, making it the perfect place to while away a relaxing day. Healesville is surrounded by charming picnic places, including the Maroondah Reservoir Reserve, which has barbecues and bush walking tracks along the Badger Creek. Visitors of a literary or historical bent can visit the magnificent two hectare Singing Gardens of early Australian author C.J. Dennis, located near Toolangi. C.J. Dennis lived in Toolangi from 1915 until his death in 1935, and wrote his famous work The Sentimental Bloke there.
The Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail allows you to independently explore 14 ‘farm gate taste and buy’ gourmet experiences and 11 ‘pick your own’ produce farms. With more than thirty top quality eating places dotted throughout the Yarra Valley, there’s plenty of gourmet experiences to choose from. And all that is before you even consider the Yarra Valley’s world-renowned wineries!
Whether you love fine food and wine and abundant fresh farm produce, are seeking a relaxing, therapeutic or romantic getaway, or are inspired by natural beauty and want to walk through towering eucalypt forests, an unforgettable experience awaits you in Melbourne’s idyllic Yarra Valley.