Guide To The Yarra Valley Region

Guide to the yarra valley

14 AWESOME THINGS TO DO

When visiting Melbourne you should spend some time in the outer areas to explore the picturesque countryside and the many attractions on offer. Victoria’s beautiful Yarra Valley Region is a short drive from the city and is an absolute must visit. Here is my guide to the Yarra Valley and 14 awesome things that you can do there.

Above photo: Yarra Valley – photo credit

guide to the yarra valley region in Victoria

The Yarra Valley region in Victoria is perfect for a day trip from Melbourne, or a short stay. You should venture out of the city for a change of scenery and enjoy the stunning countryside, only one hour drive by car. Public transport does not go all the way to the Yarra Valley. But there is a Hop It bus service available to, and around, the Yarra Valley region. 

There is an abundance of activities and indulgences to enjoy in the Yarra Valley region. These are my recommendations for some of the fabulous things to do here that are sure to delight.

1. Wine Tasting At Vineyard Cellar Doors

Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s finest wine regions where there are more than 70 wineries. One of the most popular things to do here of course, is do the rounds of the cellar doors for some wine tasting. You are sure to find one or more, to your liking. It’s a veritable paradise for wine aficionados – Oenophiles.
 
A cool climate region, the Yarra Valley wines are renowned for chardonnay, sparkling wine and pinot noir, as well as cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. Some vineyards have free tastings.

Levantine Hill Winery

2. Indulge in fine dining or a casual bite

Wineries often feature cheese platters, casual or pub style food, and even fine dining cuisine, with renowned chefs. There are plenty of options, whether you’re after just a drink or a complete gastronomical experience, with something to suit every palate and budget. These are some of my personal favourites, all of which I have painstakingly researched for you, but here are many wonderful dining establishments dotted throughout the Yarra Valley with panoramic views of vineyards and rolling hills. An absolutely beautiful part of the country.
 
Coombe Yarra Valley – This winery and restaurant is set on the grounds of the former home of Australian Opera singer, Dame Nellie Melba, where you can tour the historic homestead and picturesque gardens. 
 
Rochford Winery – So much more than just a winery and restaurant, it is a concert venue as well, and extremely popular.
 
De Bortoli Estate – An Italian owned family business for several generations, with Italian style cuisine.
 
Levantine Hill Estate – A stunning location which offers various dining options and experiences, including a helicopter ride from the city.
 
Chandon – This gorgeous winery prides itself on its French heritage and is renowned for sparkling wine.
 
Tarra Warra Estate – A very popular winery, and a big attraction for art enthusiasts with an art gallery on the premises.
 
Yering Station – A choice of the charming restaurant of classic elegance, or the huge ultra modern dining establishment next to it. Both dining experiences are delightful.
 
Oakridge Wines – A fabulous winery and fine dining venue, where everything is made in-house.
 
Fergusson Winery – A rustic ambience, this winery is popular for their fabulous Sunday roast buffet. There’s even a cute little chapel here.
 
Dining at Coombe Yarra Valley Restaurant
Dining at Levantine Hill
One of my favourite wineries in the Yarra Valley region - Domaine Chandon

3. Attend a music concert or festival

Rochford Winery in Coldstream is a large estate and immensely popular for their music concerts called Day On The Green. Major Australian and international artists have performed here, such as Elton John, Robbie Williams, Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham, and Human Nature, making it a hugely touristy venue.

Day On The Green at Rochford Winery – photo credit

4. Sample Locally Made Produce At The Dairy

Visit the Yarra Valley Dairy for some delicious locally produced cheeses, crafted in the French and Italian style. They offer cheese tasting, and also have a selection of local wines for sampling.

5. Spoil Yourself at The Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie is smack in the middle of wine country and is the perfect place to stop after sampling wines all day. There is an Ice Creamery here as well, for the child in all of us. Read my article for more delicious details.

guide to yarra valley region of Victoria

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery

6. Sample local Beer & Cider

Visit Coldstream Brewery for a sample of locally made beer and cider from Victorian apples and pears. Enjoy a tasting paddle at the pub here.

Napoleone Ciderhouse and brewery has a long history of fruit growing and winemaking too. Enjoy a paddle and taste apple and pear ciders, as well as beers, plus there is food available from the attached Meletos restaurant.

Kellybrook makes cider and beer, as well as their own wines, at the one location. It’s a ‘one stop shop’ and super close to the city.

7. Try The Local Gin

The Four Pillars Gin Distillery in Healesville is definitely the place to go if you’re a lover of gin, where you can sample a paddle of their produce. Their cocktail bar is pretty popular too.

A selection of Four Pillars Gin – photo credit

8. Walk / Hike

Enjoy a walk whilst taking in the scenic views of the Yarra Valley region, with creeks, lakes and surrounding mountain ranges. Spot some native Australian animals along the way. If you want to see more animals in their natural habitat, visit the nearby Healesville Sanctuary. Check out my article here.

9. Formal Gardens

Garden lovers will enjoy the Alowyn Gardens in Yarra Glen, spanning 4 acres with 6 different garden types. Tickets  are  A$10 per person.
 
The Blue Lotus Water Garden in Yarra Junction is a stunning location. You will see the huge lily pads that are up to 1.5 metres wide. Open only from December to March. Entry is A$20 per adult.
 
 If you venture further afield to Olinda, you can visit the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, which is free to enter.

There are beautiful gardens everywhere in the Yarra Valley region

Alowyn Gardens
Chateau Yering
Domaine Chandon
Domaine Chandon
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
Coombe Estate

10. Cherry Blossom Trees

Cherry picking directly from the trees at Cherryhill Orchards at Wandin East is a fun activity to do with kids in the Summer season. Hugely popular, as you can eat as much as you want. Check their website for details before you go.

The cherry blossoms are a must-see attraction in the lead up to the cherry season and hence a Blossom Festival is celebrated each year to enjoy the beautiful orchard trees in full bloom. 

11. Admire Local Art and Architecture

The region is known for great local art and sculptures, which can be seen at many of the wineries. Art galleries you can visit include  Art at Linden Gate in Yarra Glen.

The TarraWarra Museum of Art is a contemporary art gallery, attached to the TarraWarra Winery, showcasing Australian artists. Entry is A$12 per adult.

Levantine Hill

Tarra Warra  Art Museum – photo credit

Yering Station

12. Go On A Balloon flight

Take a hot air balloon ride over the whole Yarra Valley region to appreciate the sheer beauty of the landscape over vineyards, lakes, river and mountains in the background. You will have to drag yourself out of bed early for a sunrise tour but it will be totally worth it. Global Ballooning Australia offers many different tour flight options.

Yarra Valley Balloon Ride – photo credit

13. Stay Overnight At A Charming Winery Hotel Accommodation

Some of the accommodation options in the Yarra Valley region that you can choose from for a weekend or short stay include:

Search for accommodation in the Yarra Valley region, Victoria

Balgownie Estate – photo credit

Day Spa at Balgownie Estate – photo credit

Chateau Yering

14. Take A Tour Of The Yarra Valley Region

Finally, you can take an organised tour of the Yarra Valley region and let the experts be your guide, without the worry of driving, particularly if you’re planning to enjoy the beverages . Choose one of the tours I’ve selected below.

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