Yarra Valley is a world-class wine region just a short drive from Melbourne. Explore the hills on a cycling tour or visit Healesville Sanctuary to see native wildlife such as koalas and kangaroos!
On a vineyard winery tour, you can sample some of Australia’s top Pinot Noir and sparkling wines – or experience it from above by booking a sunrise hot air balloon tour!
1. Book Your Accommodation Early
Yarra Valley is known for its picturesque vineyards, boutique wineries and gourmet food – plus an assortment of activities from scenic hot air balloon rides to family friendly wildlife tours! Find something amazing in the Yarra Valley this holiday season.
With an exceptional cool climate, the Yarra Valley produces outstanding sparkling wines such as sparkling, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Sample these and more at over 40 premium wineries across this wine region or take in its stunning views with Hop It!’s award-winning bus tour.
Experience the picturesque natural environment by hiking or cycling along scenic routes, or kayaking Grade 2 rapids on the Yarra River. Or visit Healesville Sanctuary to get close and personal with native Australian animals!
If you prefer exploring on your own, the Yarra Valley offers self-drive itineraries which allow for maximum independence. Visit picturesque villages and towns such as Healesville where there are an array of specialty stores and stores as well as Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary which makes an amazing day trip for families.
Alternately, Lake Mountain provides the closest alpine experience from Melbourne and offers snow-covered trails perfect for exploring. There are various routes leading up to its summit that cater to beginners as well as experienced hikers alike; once at the top you can admire breathtaking views over Oxlee and De La Rue Lookouts before descending back down towards Steavenson Falls where there’s also a cafe offering lunch services before returning back home in your car.
2. Book Your Winery Tour
Wine tasting and dining is one of the top activities to do in Yarra Valley, providing an engaging way to discover its culture and history. There are a number of tours which provide scenic drives from Melbourne to Yarra Valley followed by wine tasting sessions led by professionals followed by meals at top restaurants.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines are among the mainstays of Yarra Valley wines, though other popular varietals such as Shiraz are also plentiful here. Thanks to its cool climate, the Yarra Valley allows visitors to enjoy these wines year-round; but Autumn through Springtime are particularly striking with vibrant trees changing colour and vines blooming with vibrant blossoms.
There are a variety of wineries that also double as restaurants or cafes, making them the ideal destination for visitors looking for an enjoyable dining experience. One such winery/art gallery combo is Tarra Warra Winery/Art Gallery where Eleonore’s Restaurant provides modern Australian fine dining while you browse their gallery exhibit.
Other winery restaurants that make an ideal venue for enjoying a full meal include Healesville’s Yering Farm Wines with its cozy cellar door and expansive outdoor deck, as well as Coldstream’s Ai Fiori Trattoria for more formal Italian fare.
Alternately, indulge your sweet tooth at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie where European chocolatiers create delectable confections. And for something more spirit-based visit Healesville’s Four Pillars Distillery to sample their internationally-recognized gin.
3. Book Your Food & Wine Experience
One of the greatest pleasures of visiting a wine region is experiencing its delicious cuisine. The Yarra Valley is well known for its wines but there’s so much more on offer besides that too – enjoy a meal beside a warm fire at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery or stock up your pantry with local goodies from farm gates or roadside stalls!
If you love Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Shiraz wines then book wine tasting sessions at various cellar doors in the area. There are so many to choose from and each offers something different!
Yarra Valley is famous for its cheese production, so be sure to book in a tasting at Four Pillars Gin where you can experience all their selection of premium gins with an accompanying cocktail!
For a relaxing day out, take a stroll through Healesville Sanctuary and you may just come face-to-face with some of Australia’s iconic wildlife such as koalas, kangaroos, dingoes and wombats! After your walk stop for lunch at Alpine Hotel Warburton at the foot of Mt Donna Buang or treat yourself to an extravagant gourmet dinner at Healesville Hotel.
Visit the beautiful Yarra Valley Gardens for an unforgettable experience, featuring lakes, sculptures and garden designs to uncover. Plus, tea rooms and boutique shops featuring Australian handcrafted goods make Healesville, Coldstream Yarra Glen Seville an shopper’s haven!
4. Book Your Balloon Ride
Hot air balloon rides provide the ideal way to experience the gorgeous natural landscape of Yarra Valley and provide stunning panoramic views, not to mention peace and serenity that come from this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
As you’ll be visiting a cool climate wine region, it is essential that you dress accordingly for this activity. Temperatures in these seasons can often become cold. Therefore, bring along light jackets as well as sunglasses and hats in order to protect yourself from sun rays.
For warm clothing needs in the Yarra Valley area, there are various clothing stores. Additionally, thermals can also be purchased at local supermarkets to keep you cozy in winter weather.
Yarra Valley provides plenty of family-friendly activities for all ages. For young children, Kinglake Forest Adventures offer treetop climbing and mountain bike riding experiences at their popular Kinglake Forest Adventures venue surrounded by towering gum trees that cater to different levels of ability.
Coombe Yarra Valley property features the breathtaking gardens of Dame Nellie Melba and is the ideal venue for an afternoon tea. Guided tours through its seven acres of emotive gardens are available for an additional fee.
If you love cheese, make sure to visit Yarra Valley Dairy for some soft and creamy delight. Locals rave about its delectable products; you can do some shopping here too! Alternatively, head over to Yarra Valley Chocolaterie for delicious treats and handcrafted gifts, including hands-on chocolate making classes.
5. Book Your Activities
The Yarra Valley is renowned for its wine, fresh local produce and gourmet restaurants. Enjoy cycling through this picturesque landscape or take advantage of hot air balloon tours to gain a bird’s-eye view from above! There’s always plenty to do here just outside Melbourne’s doorstep.
The region is perhaps best-known for producing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, yet there is much more variety available here in its cool climate wine region. Discover something new like Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon varietals as you take pleasure in experiencing something new every time!
There are various ways to explore this stunning region, and booking activities in advance is always wise to ensure you don’t miss any of the top things to do in Yarra Valley like Mason Falls Picnic Area, nestled beneath towering gum trees amidst nature sounds and feeding white cockatoos.
Walking trails allow visitors to make the most of this beautiful natural scenery, including Mason Falls which look especially stunning after rainfall. Furthermore, Warburton Rainforest Gallery provides visitors with an opportunity to view Victoria’s tallest rainforest trees while Skywalk canopies offer short strolls along with strolls amongst some of the forest’s oldest and largest Manna Gums.
Healesville offers some truly fantastic boutique and specialty store shopping experiences, featuring everything from exclusive local designs to vintage clothing and furniture thrift store finds.