Three Days Spent Exploring the Yarra Valley
You think there’s nothing but beaches in Australia? Think again.
Discover some of Australia’s best-kept secrets by taking an interior road trip through Victoria’s picture-perfect Yarra Valley. Along the route, treat yourself to some of the region’s finest chocolate, wine, and art.
By Alissa Jenkins
This sensory road trip begins in Melbourne but quickly makes its way into the charming countryside, meandering past local food producers and some of Victoria’s most celebrated wineries, before finishing in Marysville, which is surrounded by forests and waterfalls.
Australia is famous for its beaches, but this trip takes place inland, away from those beaches.
What may be anticipated
Visit some of Victoria’s most acclaimed vineyards.
Participate on a morning ride in a hot air balloon.
Experience Australia’s native animals up close and personal.
Time: 3 days
Distance: 150 km (93 miles)
Melbourne is the closest large city to you.
DAY 1: MELBOURNE TO OLINDA
The picturesque mountain community of Olinda may be reached from the city of Melbourne by traveling east via the M1 freeway and the Mt. Dandenong Tourist Road for one hour.
Olinda is most well-known for its breathtaking gardens, which transform with the passing of each season and are best seen from a vantage point high in the Dandenong Ranges.
You can get some fresh air and exercise by taking a stroll through the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, which is home to thousands of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, and daffodils.
Alternatively, you can go to the William Ricketts Sanctuary, where you will find fascinating sculptures hidden among the trees. Then, when you’ve worked up an appetite for something sugary, head on over to the Only Mine Chocolate Factory, which is situated in the middle of town.
Here, you’ll be able to see chocolatiers at work as they craft delectable treats. Alternately, you may make a quick detour to the neighboring village of Sassafras and have a Devonshire tea at the adorable Miss Marple’s Tearoom, which is a home designed in the English Tudor style and inspired by Agatha Christie.
Spend the day browsing the plethora of antique and specialty shops in Sassafras, or go back to Olinda to investigate the town’s numerous art galleries and studios, such as the Touchstone Craft Gallery, which features the works of more than 250 different Australian artisans.
Geppetto’s Workshop is just around the corner, and it is the perfect place to stop if you are traveling with young children since it has an impressive collection of wooden toys and puppets, games, and puzzles.
Then make your way to The Loft in the Mill, an award-winning boutique hotel that is a recreation of a 19th-century bluestone English flour mill. It has nine magnificent bedrooms, each of which is equipped with a log fireplace and double spa bathrooms.
DAY 2: OLINDA TO HEALESVILLE
Bring your camera along because you’re in for a day filled with unforgettable experiences, starting with a trip to the Healesville Sanctuary animal park, which is located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) to the north of Olinda.
There are over two hundred different types of native animals and birds, and among them are the elusive platypus and the fierce Tasmanian devil. You may also see koalas while walking on a boardwalk high in the trees.
At the TarraWarra Museum of Art, visitors may enjoy seasonal displays of modern art in addition to tasting award-winning pinot noir and chardonnay wines.
The museum is located in the TarraWarra wine region of Australia. Carry on with your wine tasting at one of the illustrious cellar doors in the area around Healesville, such as Domaine Chandon, which is well-known for the cool-climate sparkling wine it produces.
You will get the opportunity to speak with the winemakers, take a tour of the site, and gain an understanding of how the heritage of French Champagne combines with the experience of Australia.
In addition to Oakridge Wines and Giant Steps, which are both renowned for the quality of their restaurants as well as the experience they provide visitors at their cellar doors, there is also the more modern winery of Innocent Bystander.
Those who are more partial to spirits might pay a visit to Four Pillars Distillery in order to sample their gin, which has garnered accolades on a global scale.
Tempted by sweets? You may satisfy your need for sweets at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, where you can witness European chocolatiers manufacture a variety of chocolate goods while also partaking in complimentary tastes of those items.
Make a reservation at Eleonore’s Restaurant at the Chateau Yering Hotel for dinner, and then enjoy a multi-course meal of contemporary Australian fine cuisine accompanied by a bottle of the region’s finest wine.
The most exciting part? You have the option of spending the night at this five-star historic property, which has 32 suites with expansive views of the surrounding valley and gardens covering 250 acres.
DAY 3: HEALESVILLE TO MARYSVILLE
Begin your last day in grand fashion by taking a dawn hot air balloon ride over the diverse landscape that you’ve traversed, which includes wineries, farming, and woodland.
After taking in the breathtaking vistas of the valley, go back down to earth for a champagne brunch at Balgownie Estate Vineyard, which will include some of the most delectable items from the surrounding area.
After that, it’s time to go sightseeing in the neighboring Yarra Glen, which is full with farm gates and other food producers.
Learn more about the region’s agricultural past at Gulf Station, Australia’s oldest pioneer farm site, which welcomes visitors on the first Thursday of every month.
The shearing of sheep, making butter in traditional churns, and cutting wood without the use of power tools are some of the activities that may be seen here.
Visit the Yarra Valley Grand Hotel, which is listed on the national register of historic places, for a filling lunch before heading to the well-known Yarra Valley Dairy to stock up on fresh artisan cheeses produced from cows’ milk as well as goats’ milk.
The journey to Marysville in the northwest will take around an hour and will take you through a number of stunning waterfalls as well as beautiful forests and popular walking routes.
One of them is the Cumberland Walk, which is a four-kilometer (2.5-mile) path that provides an insight into the history of logging and gold mining in the area.
Along the path, you will come across the enormous eucalyptus known as “Big Tree,” which is 400 years old and is 85 meters (279 feet) tall. Another attraction in the area worth checking out is Steavenson Falls, which has a drop of 84 meters (about 275 feet), making it one of the tallest waterfalls in Victoria.
Then take some time to relax at Saladin Lodge, a serene getaway located on 68 lakefront acres, with historic roots but contemporary accommodations, including a guest library and cozy log fireplaces.
Topic: Exploring the Yarra Valley
I am arguably the most popular Australian writer of all time. I am from the town of Karrinyup in rural Western Australia. When I was young, I was fascinated by the unique landscape of Australia, and I decided to support himself by writing books about the Australian landscape.
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