Sprawling vineyards, expertly matched food and wine and enchanting natural surrounds, only an hour from Melbourne.
We all know someone who has a favourite place to visit in the Yarra Valley. With its first vines planted in 1838, it is Victoria’s oldest wine region, and most-likely the most visited. The Valley’s highly-respected winemakers experiment with new varieties, styles and techniques all the time, and with Victoria’s oldest planted vineyards, the region has developed a global reputation for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Naturally, there are a string of restaurants that perfectly complement the wine. Stop by Innocent Bystander for a sourdough pizza, Ezard at Levantine Hill for an eight-course degustation or Healesville Harvest for a breakfast of local produce. After that, take a hike to a waterfall or book a flight on a hot-air balloon.
The real beauty of the Yarra Valley is its convenience, with most destinations an easy hour out of Melbourne. Craving fancy cheese? Yarra Valley Dairy. Want to cuddle a native critter? Healesville Sanctuary. You can leave in the morning and be home in time for dinner, but why wouldn’t you stay the whole weekend?
Welcome to Yarra Valley
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You know the region for its wine, but the Yarra Valley is also home to some incredible cafes and restaurants. Brunch spot, winery restaurant, degustation – take your pick.
The Yarra Valley is Victoria’s oldest wine region, with its first vines planted in 1838. Here’s our pick of the region’s best.
It’s not just food and wine. Give your stomach a rest and try another activity.
TarraWarra Museum of Art
TarraWarra is a privately funded public art museum. Australian art exhibitions within the extraordinary $10 million building change every three to four months, and outside, there’s the rolling green hills and TarraWarra Wines vineyard. Visit on a sunny day when light shines through floor to ceiling windows and makes the space just as serene as an art gallery in picturesque surrounds should be.
Steavenson Falls Trail
Steavenson Falls is only a 700m return walk, making it easy to fit between winery visits. Dropping 84 metres it’s one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls and is incredibly peaceful to watch. At night the path and waterfall are lit by floodlights, so you can walk it until 11pm. It’s worth going late to see it lit up under the stars.
Healesville Sanctuary: the only place in the world where you can sit in a tank and hang out with Yamacoona the platypus. She was rescued by the sanctuary after being discovered belly-up, and now forms a part of the “Wade with the Platypus” show. There’s also the “Spirits of the Sky” show, where highly trained birds of prey soar over a specially built flight arena. Watch your head; the wedge-tailed eagle isn’t afraid to get up close.
Global Ballooning Hot Air Balloon Flight
If you’re not opposed to getting up before sunrise, hot-air ballooning over the Yarra Valley is one of the most spectacular ways to start your weekend. You’ll be up in the air for an hour, floating gently over the valley’s vineyards, mountains and countryside. A local pilot with extensive knowledge of the area gives a quirky running commentary. Afterwards, be treated to a champagne breakfast at either Balgownie Estate or Rochford Wines.
The Yarra Valley has accommodation options from resort hotels to six-bedroom farmhouses. Take your pick from our favourites.
Balgownie Estate Resort and Spa
This luxury resort and winery sits in the centre of everywhere you’d want to visit in the region, and has the major draw of hosting Global Ballooning’s hot air balloon launches. One and two bedroom suites feature their own spa bath, and red wine body masks are one of many luxury treatments available.
Wine Tour of the Yarra Valley
If you appreciate a good glass of wine, traipsing around Victoria's oldest wine region is a brilliant way to spend your day. Here's how to do it.