If you’re visiting the Yarra Valley, there are plenty of fun things to do. Whether you want to get out and about or just relax and unwind, there are so many options for a day trip from Melbourne.
If you love wine, there are many Yarra Valley vineyards to choose from. This premier cool-climate region is renowned for its pinot noir and chardonnay wines.
1. Yarra Valley Winery Tour
If you are looking for a memorable day out in Melbourne, a Yarra Valley winery tour is the way to go. Located only an hour from the city, it is an ideal day trip for anyone who wants to sample a variety of wine varietals produced in this beautiful region.
The Yarra Valley is known for its cool climate, which produces some of Australia’s finest wines, including award winning Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Whether you’re a lover of white, red or dessert wines, a Yarra Valley winery day trip is something you won’t regret!
We’d recommend taking a tour with Vinetrekker, who offer excellent itineraries and knowledgeable guides. They also have semi-private tastings, which are perfect if you’re travelling with a small group of people or if you’re after a special experience.
They also have a wildlife and wine tour, which visits Healesville Sanctuary and two top Yarra Valley wineries in a single day. It’s a great option for families with young children, as they will also get to see the koalas, kangaroos, wombats and other Australian icons.
Another highlight of a Yarra Valley winery tour, is Helen and Joey Estate, an established family-run vineyard and winery. Its Wild Child range includes boundary-pushing drops that defy categorisation – a must-try for those who are a fan of experimental, low intervention and funky wines.
Yarra Valley is a wonderful place to visit throughout the year, with Autumn a particular favourite due to the beautiful colours that appear in the trees and on the ground. However, it’s still lovely to explore during the Summer months when the weather is cooler and you can enjoy a refreshing swim at the Big Peninsula Tunnel.
2. Hot Air Ballooning
Hot air ballooning is a fantastic way to see some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes. This fun and unique activity has been gaining popularity in recent years, allowing people to get a different perspective on their favourite places.
The best thing about hot air ballooning is that it’s one of the most relaxing activities you can do. The experience is truly unforgettable, evoking a sense of awe and wonder that you’ll never forget.
A great way to see the Yarra Valley is to take a hot air balloon flight at sunrise, when the clouds will be floating past and the landscape will look incredibly beautiful. You’ll be able to see the picturesque vineyards, wineries, and scenic countryside as you soar above them.
When you’re ready to board, a crew member will check you in and give you a briefing. This will cover everything you need to know about the ride and ensure your safety.
After this, your hot air balloon will be set up and inflated with cold air. This takes a while, so your flight will begin once the balloon is fully inflated.
During the flight, your pilot will tell you where they are flying and provide you with in-flight photos of the spectacular scenery below. The flight can be as long as you want it to be, and you will also have the option of a champagne breakfast once the flight is over.
There are many hot air balloon tours to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits your budget and requirements. A flight over the Yarra Valley can be quite affordable, and you can even opt for a package that includes gourmet inclusions like a Champagne breakfast!
3. Healesville Sanctuary
The Healesville Sanctuary is a great place to see Australia’s animals up close. This zoo is set in the beautiful Yarra Valley and makes an easy day trip from Melbourne for families with children of all ages.
The sanctuary is spread across 70 acres of bushland and features creeks, wetlands, water bodies and much more to ensure the animal inhabitants feel comfortable and at home. Guests can visit seven distinct habitats: Main Track, Woodlands Track, Dingo Country, Wetlands Track, Kangaroo Country, Koala Forest and World of the Platypus.
Explore a range of native Australian animals including koalas, kangaroos, emus, platypus, dingoes and wombats. Learn about their lives and habitats from the knowledgeable keepers, interact with these majestic creatures, and contribute to Healesville’s intense conservation efforts.
Kids under 16 years of age can enter Healesville Sanctuary for free during the weekend, during Victorian Government school holidays and on public holidays. Healesville Sanctuary is open every day from 9am until 5pm.
A visit to the Healesville Sanctuary is a must-have for any wildlife lover visiting Melbourne. Here, you can get up close with Australia’s most popular animal species, such as kangaroos and koalas. You can also meet veterinarians who help rehabilitate these animals, stroll through an aviary filled with parrots, and observe dingoes up close.
You can even visit the fighting extinction bunker and learn about Healesville’s breeding programs for endangered Southern Corroboree Frogs and Tasmanian Devils. Aside from its impressive displays of Australia’s wild inhabitants, Healesville Sanctuary also offers a number of fun activities and attractions for the whole family.
The Spirits of the Sky bird show is another highlight to be sure to check out. This free daily presentation is a fantastic demonstration of the power and agility of some of Australia’s birds of prey and parrots.
4. TarraWarra Museum of Art
If you’re looking to get a little cultured while in the Yarra Valley, be sure to check out the TarraWarra Museum of Art. This modern art gallery is home to a wonderful collection of contemporary artworks and exhibits.
Located in Healesville, the TarraWarra Museum of Art is one of Australia’s first privately funded public museums, and is known for its renowned visual arts displays. Founded by philanthropists Eva and Marc Besen, the museum is dedicated to sharing their collection with the public.
With a collection of Australian artworks from the 1950s through to the present day, the TarraWarra Museum of Art also boasts a number of exciting contemporary art exhibitions. Established in 2003, the museum is a cultural icon of the region, providing visitors with an inspiring experience that combines stunning architecture with the best of modern and contemporary art.
Over 85 themed exhibitions have been held to date, covering a diverse range of stimulating and innovative Australian and international art in group and collection shows and single artist surveys. This gives visitors the opportunity to view Australian art in fresh contexts that they may not have encountered previously.
TarraWarra Museum of Art is the first philanthropic-supported art museum in Australia, and has a strong commitment to education and outreach programs. Children are welcome and there are plenty of art activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The Museum’s collection features artists who have shaped the development of modern art in Australia since the 1950s. It’s a collection that’s constantly evolving as more artists are acquired and donated.
As well as the main TarraWarra Museum of Art, the TarraWarra Estate also houses a Cellar Door, restaurant and other attractions that are all connected to this beautiful property. With an award-winning building that combines architectural elements with the landscape surrounding it, TarraWarra Museum of Art is a must-see for any Yarra Valley day trip.
5. Puffing Billy Train
Puffing Billy is one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Australia and offers a fun way to explore the Yarra Valley. It is also an ideal way to spend a day with your family and friends as you travel through beautiful countryside landscapes.
The best time to visit the Puffing Billy Train is from August to September, when the weather is just right. This is the best time to enjoy the scenery and take photos without having to worry about rain.
Located close to the city of Melbourne, the Puffing Billy Train is the oldest steam railway in the world, and is still a working museum. The 2ft 6in narrow gauge line was built to serve the farming and timber communities in the Dandenong Ranges, and has a history dating back to 1900.
Visitors can choose from a variety of trips on the Puffing Billy, including an hour-long experience to a half day tour. These trips offer a unique chance to see the area’s ferns and forests.
Aside from the scenic journey, visitors can enjoy a meal on the train as well. The regular carriages allow tourists to dangle their feet while they take in the views, but you can also opt for first-class carriages with enclosed dining areas.
Passengers can choose to go on a full day trip from Belgrave or take part in a shorter tour that stops at Emerald Lake Park, Menzies Creek and the forests of the Dandenong Ranges. These excursions are perfect for families with small children as they offer a fun and memorable way to see the beautiful countryside of Victoria.
In addition to the Puffing Billy Train, the Yarra Valley is home to many tourist attractions and activities, such as Penguin Parade at Phillip Island, Healesville Sanctuary, and wine tastings. These day tours include pick-up and drop-off facilities from city hotels, which makes them a convenient option for tourists looking to spend a day in the Yarra Valley.