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Yarra Valley, Melbourne Overview

Yarra valley is a world-famous Australian tourist location, covering the upper regions surrounding the Yarra River in Victoria and home to more than 50 wineries and microbreweries.

You can take in the scenic ranges while indulging in food made using fresh agricultural produce and sipping high-quality chardonnay, pinot noir, and sparkling wine. Some of towns included in the valley, which you can visit, are Coldstream, Yarra Glen, Healesville and Warburton.
Just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the valley was traditionally the land of Wurundjeri people, but is now a premium wine and wildlife-viewing region. Besides world-class wine and food, the valley also offers colorful gardens and dense forest with sightings of various animal species such as Lyrebirds, Wombats, Koala bears, and Kangaroos. You can also look at beautiful and serene waterfalls to add another memory to your trip.

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Yarra Valley Wineries

Yarra Valley is home to some of the finest wineries of Australia, some of which are mentioned below:
  1. Domaine Chandon is situated at 727 Maroondah Highway in Coldstream, and serves traditionnelle sparkling wines along with a tasting bar, and lunch and dinner options.
  2. Soumah is situated at 18 Hexham Road in Gruyere, and is world-famous for their Northern Italian and South Eastern French wine varieties including Pinot Grigio, Savarro, Brachetto, Syrah, Viognier, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, and Chardonnay.
  3. Yering Farm Wine is situated at 19-21 St Huberts Rd in Yering, and serves their wines in three categories - Farmyard, Estate, Reserve. Other wines available at the estate are cider and dessert wines.
  4. Rochford Wines is situated at Cnr Maroondah Hwy & Hill Rd in Coldstream, and is famous for their Chardonnay,  Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and ultra-premium single vineyard wines.
  5. De Bortoli is situated at 58 Pinnacle Lane in Dixons Creek, and with over 240 hectares of vineyards, the winery serves pinot grigio, chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, and sparkling wine.
  6. Acacia Ridge Winery is situated at 169 Gulf Road in Victoria, and is famous for their Moscato, Cabernet Shiraz, and Pinot Gris, and also cater for multicultural weddings.

Yarra Valley Winery Tours

While the Yarra Valley is famous for its wineries and microbreweries, there are so many places to see that it might get difficult to choose. You can take customized winery tours that include the must-visit wineries in the valley. Some of the tours include A Day on the Vine, Australian Wine Tour Company, Driven Indulgence, Jump On Tours, Yarra Valley Touring Company, Tours by The Providore, and Wine Compass Tours.

Yarra Valley Accommodation

You will find many luxury and peaceful places to stay in any of the town near the valley. Here are some of the top hotels where you can book your stay:
  1. Chateau Yering Hotel in Yarra Glen is a heritage mansion with Victorian-style suites.
  2. Oscar's On The Yarra in Warburton offers scenic views of the Yarra river.
  3. Yarra Valley Grand in Yarra Glen is a heritage-listed hotel and is located in Victoria's premier wine region.
  4. Black Spur Inn in Narbethong is famous for beautiful gardens and BBQ facilities on the property.
  5. High Street Homes in Healesville is a holiday home perfect for couples and families.
  6. Blackwood House in Healesville is known for private gardens and patios that come with their rooms.
  7. Sanctuary Park Cottages in Healesville have a rustic appearance to them and come with a fireplace and garden.
Other ideal stays include The Old Mechanics, Yarra Gables Motel, Haven at Healesville, Deville, Graceburn Gardens, and Harvest Farm.

Yarra Valley Restaurants

Yarra valley is home to restaurants with unique themes, where you can have a memorable culinary experience. have a satisfying eating experience. From wineries to restaurants with a garden kitchen, you are literally in for a treat. Here are some of the must-visit places:
  • Ezard at Levantine Hill - 882 Maroondah Highway
Timings: Wednesday - Monday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Average Cost for 2: AUD 300
The restaurant serves Australian and European cuisine, and is famous for its eye-catching architecture including giant wine barrels that serve as private tasting booths. Some of their bestsellers include Wagyu, Jamon Iberico, Polenta Chips, and Croquettes.
  • Meletos - 12 St Huberts Road
Timings: 11:00 AM - 9:30 PM
Average Cost for 2: AUD 150
The place serves Italian and Australian cuisine with dishes prepared from fresh local produce. Some of the bestsellers include wood-fired pizzas and regional Victorian delights.
  • Monroe's Burgers & Beers - 228 Maroondah Highway
Timings: 11:00 AM - 8:30 PM
Average Cost for 2: AUD 40
The casual dining place serves finger food including their famous char-grilled burgers. Try their cheeseburger fries and tribute burger for a blast of taste in your mouth.
  • Dixons Creek Café Bar & Grill - 1925 Melba Hwy, Dixons Creek
Timings: Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Average Cost for 2: AUD 40 - AUD 80
Famous for its steaks and slow cooked ribs, the place is usually a watering hole for thirsty bike riders, and most-visited by families on holiday. The food is made with high-quality fresh ingredients.
  • Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery - 35 Old Healesville Road
Timings: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Average Cost for 2: AUD 55
The place is a heaven for people with a sweet tooth, featuring over 250 different chocolate products, specialty sweet treats, and ice creams.
  • The Stables at Stones - 14 St Huberts Road
Timings:
Friday: 7:30 PM - 11:00 PM,
Saturday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, 7:30 - 11:00 PM,
Sunday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Average Cost for 2: AUD 110
Located in the rustic, renovated barn called Stones of the Yarra Valley, The Stables is a premiere food and wine destination.

Other famous places include ‘Carne Grill’ for its local meat and seasonal seafood delicacies, ‘The Beechworth Bakery’ for its baked delicacies, ‘Bella Restaurant’ for its provincial menu, and ‘DiVino’ for its delicious Italian delicacies.

Yarra Valley Cycling

There are many well-made cycling and biking trails you can explore in the Yarra Valley. You can rent a bike from cycle rentals here and go on a bike ride on the following trails:

  1. O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail, a 30 km trail set in the mountains that runs from East Warburton to Don Valley
  2. Diamond Creek Trail, a 12 km trail that runs from Eltham Lower Park to Diamond Creek
  3. Lilydale- Warburton Rail Trail, a 38 km trail running from Wandin through the Yarra Junction and finally ending at Warburton
You can also ride a bike to various wineries and attractions instead of taking a trail.
Bike rentals: Yarra Valley Cycles, Yarra Valley Bike Hire, Freddy’s Bike Tours and Rentals

Yarra Valley Racing

Yarra Glen Racecourse is a popular attraction in Yarra Valley where you can experience horse-racing, while indulging in farm-fresh produce and local wines. The racecourse is famous for hosting many events of harness racing.

Things to Do in Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley is a lively place where you can indulge in a number of activities mentioned below, based on your preference:
  1. Wine Tours: Go on a wine tour on a bus or bike ride, to some of the famous wineries including Giant Steps, De Bortoli Wines, Oakridge Wines, Seville Estate, and Tarrawarra Estate.
  2. Golfing: Play golf on scenic and diverse golf regions at Maroondah Adventure Golf Park, Yering Meadows Golf Club, Heritage Golf & Country Club, Warburton Golf Club, and Gardiners Run.
  3. Trails: Go walking or cycling on various man-made trails including O'Shannassy Aqueduct Trail, Maroondah Reservoir Park, Yarra River Walk, and Toolangi State Forest.
  4. Shopping: Shop for local produce, handmade craft, and bakery items at various farmers’ and community markets such as Healesville Community Market, Eltham Farmers’ Market, and Warrandyte Community Craft Market
  5. Picnic: Have a picnic in any of the many beautiful gardens including Burnley Gardens, Yarra Valley Parklands, and Carlton Gardens.
  6. Flora and Fauna: See native flora such as daffodils, cherries, camellias, azaleas, and rhododendrons, and fauna such as emus, wombats, dingoes, kangaroos, and koalas at Healesville Sanctuary and throughout the valley.
  7. Air Adventure: Go on an air adventure in a hot air balloon at Global Ballooning Australia or Picture This Ballooning; enjoy a helicopter ride at Melbourne Heli; or skydive at the Lilydale Airport.
  8. Horse Riding: Go horse riding on race tracks at Yarra Valley Racing or man-made trails including The Australian Bicentennial National Trail, Chum Creek, Green Wedge Trail, and Panton Hill Bushland Reserve.
  9. Spa and Wellness: Have a rejuvenating experience at luxury spas such as Natskin Day Spa Retreat at Balgownie Estate, Eltham Leisure Center, and Miss Josie’s.
  10. Fruit-Picking: Go cherry, strawberry, and other fresh-fruit picking at a local farm including Cherryhill Orchards, Kookaberry Strawberry Farm, Rayner’s Orchard, Sanders Apples, The Farmer’s Market Pick, and Chappies.
You can also visit Funfields theme park and go on adventurous rides, visit art museums, or go on a rail adventure.

Yarra Valley Attractions

The Yarra Valley is home to many tourist attractions that will make your visit even more memorable and exciting.
  • Kokoda Trail
The Kokoda trail is a 1000 step-climb that will take around 2 hours to climb, and is perfect for an exhilarating experience in Yarra Valley. The trail is dedicated to the World War II soldiers who died during the Kokoda campaign in 1942. You can start at the Ferntree Gully Rangers Office, climb your way up to One Tree Hill Picnic Ground, and enjoy scenic spots and beautiful viewpoints on the way.
  • Olinda Falls
Olinda Falls are a picturesque waterfall situated within the Olinda Reserve. Home to beautiful native flowers and picnic grounds, the falls can be accessed through Falls Road. You can also visit the Pirianda Gardens and William Ricketts Sanctuary, which are located near the falls. The falls are open to the public during daylight hours.
  • Alfred Nicholas Garden
The stunning Alfred Nicholas Gardens are situated in the Burnham Beeches Estate on Sherbrooke Road. The Gardens are home to a variety of native birds, ducks, kookaburras, and exotic trees, and also famous for picturesque waterfalls, an ornamental lake, and a beautiful boathouse. The Gardens are open to the public from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week.
  • TarraWarra Museum of Art
TarraWarra Museum of Art is a cultural gem of Yarra Valley, where you can admire exquisite art collection from famous Australian artists such as Rosalie Gascoigne, Dale Hickey, John Olsen, John Brack, Arthur Boyd, Russell Drysdale, and Susan Norrie. The museum features unique architecture and stunning modern and contemporary art. The museum stays open for public from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, except on Mondays.
  • Healesville Sanctuary
The Healesville Sanctuary is a haven for native Australian wildlife including majestic birds of prey, parrots, Barking Owls, Black-breasted Buzzard, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Platypus, Echidna, Black-headed Python, Eastern Bearded Dragon, Spotted Tree frog, and many other megafauna. You can also get a megafauna experience where you can look at real-life replicas of extinct animals. The place stays open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the year.

Yarra Valley Markets

Yarra Valley hosts various markets where you can buy different products including organic produce, craft items, bakery items, and clothes. Given below are some of the markets you can visit and shop whatever you like:
  • Eltham Farmers’ Market, Yarra Valley Organic Market, Hurstbridge Farmers' Market, and Wonga Park Farmers’ Market offer fresh, local, seasonal produce, along with great entertainment
  • Healesville Community Market, Upper Yarra Community Market, and Marysville Farmers’ Market offer food stalls by local pubs and cafes, and nearby communities
  • St Andrews Market, Warrandyte Community Craft Market, and Yarra Glen Racecourse Market are famous for clothes and handmade craft items
Some of the other places you can shop include A Local Baker for bakery items, Creswick Natural Fibres for clothes, Kookaberry Strawberry Farm for organic jams, and Paperbark Café for gifts and souvenirs.

Yarra Valley Food

Yarra Valley is famous for its diversity in food options available. You will find everything ranging from a local food stall, cafes, to a fine-dine restaurant, where you can relish Australian, Italian, Contemporary, French, Cafe food, Argentine, Japanese, and Modern European.
Some of the must-try dishes include places include Southern Fried Chicken Burger at Three Sugars Cafe, Beef Tataki at Isshin, Antipasti Platter at Zonzo Estate, and parmigiano reggiano at Locale at De Bortoli Estate.

Yarra Valley Gardens

Yarra Valley is home to beautiful gardens lush with greenery and scenic views of the ranges and the valley. Given below are some of the gardens you can visit:
  1. Coombe: The Melba Estate is located at 673-675 Maroondah Highway. You can take a guided garden tour at AUD 18 per person on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, and on Saturday at 10:00am.
  2. Alowyn Gardens are located at 1210 Melba Hwy, and are open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week. An entry ticket will cost you AUD 10 per person above the age of 16.
  3. National Rhododendron Gardens are located at The Georgian Rd in Olinda, and are open all days of the week from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Entry to the Garden is free of cost.
  4. Cloudehill Nursery and Gardens are located on 89 Olinda-Monbulk Rd, and are open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week. An entry ticket will cost around AUD 10 per person.
  5. Skyhigh Maze is located at 26 Observatory Road in Dandenong Ranges National Park, and is open from 9:15 AM to 10:00 PM on all days of the week. The entry ticket will cost you around AUD 7 per person.
  6. Alfred Nicholas Gardens is located at 1A Sherbrooke Rd, and is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week. Entry into the gardens is free of cost.
  7. Blue Lotus Water Garden is located at 2826 Warburton Highway, and is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week. An entry ticket will cost you around AUD 14 per person.
  8. Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden is situated on Falls Road in Marysville, and is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on all days of the week. An entry ticket will cost you around AUD 14 per person.

How to Reach Yarra Valley

By Car: A drive to Yarra Valley from Melbourne should take about an hour. To reach Healesville, start from the Eastern Freeway and continue along Eastlink tollway. Exit at the Ringwood Bypass, and turn left to enter the Maroondah Highway. Stay on the highway through Ringwood and Lilydale to reach Healesville. When you cross Coldstream,  exit the Maroondah Highway and enter the Melba Highway to reach to Yarra Glen.

By Train: The nearest railway station in Yarra Valley is Lilydale. There are multiple railway stations from where you can catch the train to Lilydale, including Croydon and Ringwood stations. After getting down at the Lilydale station, you can catch bus number 685 to Healesville. Depending on the physical activity you prefer, you can also rent a bike instead of taking the bus. You will need a Zone 1+2 ticket to make the trip.

By Bus: If you are planning to travel from Melbourne to Yarra Valley via bus, you may have to change multiple buses. It is better to reach Yarra Valley by road or train, and take a bus tour to go around within the Yarra Valley.

Best Time To Visit Yarra Valley

The best time to visit Yarra Valle yis in the months of March and November when it experience the most ideal weather

Tips for Visiting Yarra Valley

  • The valley is home to many picnic spots that offer scenic views of the whole range. You can pack a picnic basket or get food packed from a restaurant nearby and enjoy a peaceful picnic.
  • If you are on a budget and still wish to taste exquisite wines, you can choose to go to smaller wineries rather than the big ones.
  • To make your visit convenient, you should self-drive instead of taking the bus. This way you will not get tired and will be able to cover most of the valley.

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