It’s so close to Melbourne that it makes for a cultured and convenient weekend getaway for city dwellers; but it’s fresh, eucalyptus-drenched air, gourmet wine and food, and spectacular scenery entices those from afar just as easily – it’s the beautiful Yarra Valley.
No matter the season, this pocket of Victoria has a little something for everyone. Art, food, wine and nature draw thousands of visitors here every year, so we’ve put together an itinerary for you that showcases the best of each type of holiday experience. The rest is up to you!
Food and wine
The cool climate gives the region extremely verdant flora, and the abundance of local wineries produce some of the best wines in the region, ranging from pinot noir to chardonnay, shiraz and Spanish-origin tempranillo.
Visit the cellar doors of Innocent Bystander in Healesville, or De Bortoli, where the art of traditional winemaking has been passed down through several generations since the early 20th century and you can see sustainable viticulture practices in action. Yering Station in nearby Yarra Glen also has top-shelf blends that suit budgets big and small. Their Reserve Shiraz Viognier is considered one of the finest of its kind that is produced in Australia.
Flora and falls
In the picturesque valley adjacent to the Dandenong Ranges, Warratina Lavender Farm is a sensory knockout, with fields of mauve swaying in the wind and that all-too-marvellous smell of lavender swirling around you. Located just outside of Seville, about an hour from Melbourne, lose yourself in the purple sea, and learn about the different species of lavender and their uses. From beeswax, to oils, tea, skincare, candles and soap, the gift shop is stocked with a range of fragrant and soothing lavender products.
Keppel Falls and Phantom Falls are both situated around Marysville – Marysville also has a caravan park and provides great accessibility to the Yarra Valley’s many attractions. Take Lady Talbot Drive to Phantom Falls, where you can enjoy another 45-minute walk through myrtle, beech and mountain ash trees, though this one is slightly easier than the walk to Keppel Falls. Be wary of these walks if you’re going when it’s wet, muddy and slippery!
Art and history
Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden, also just outside of Marysville, is on the Victorian Top 100 Bucket List, and for good reason. Much of Bruno Torfs’s work was sadly destroyed in the 2009 bushfires that devastated the region; however, he’s remained in Marysville and continues to rebuild and restore the gardens that he so treasures – there’s more than 120 sculptures now on display. His photos of the garden and sculptures in the aftermath of the fires are especially sobering. Enter Bruno’s world that is rich with fantasy and fun; his unwavering enthusiasm will ensure that the kids will love it and so will you!
With activities galore, lush scenery and air so clean that you’ll feel your lungs expand, the Yarra Valley region is just a hop, skip and a jump away from Melbourne!