Known for its outstanding cool climate varieties, the Yarra Valley boasts some of Australia’s finest wine.
Just 45 minutes’ drive from the Melbourne CBD, the Yarra Valley is a region of stunning scenery, rich bio-diversity and incredible history.
With a variety of soil types, the Yarra Valley is home to a wide array of world renowned wines, so there is definitely something to suit all tastes.
Being so well known for its delicious wine, the Yarra Valley’s other gems are often neglected, so we’re here to talk you through some of this amazing area’s other treasures!
Whether you’re looking for something to do between cellar door tastings, or your interests lie somewhere other than sampling Australia’s finest grape juices (gasp!), the following list will be sure to please!
HOT AIR BALLOONING
There is no better way to start your day in this spectacular part of the world than in a hot air balloon.
Global Ballooning Australia has been soaring high and low above the beautiful grapevine corridors, still lake waters and lush Mountain Ash Tree forests for 25 years now, and with the guidance of our knowledgeable and friendly pilots and crew, you’ll have the perfect start to your day.
Seeing the Yarra Valley from the vantage point of a hot air balloon is an unmatchable experience giving you a perspective of the region like no other. In just one hour we can travel over ancient forests, meandering rivers and tributaries, world renowned vineyards and rolling countryside.
The best part about a hot air balloon flight over the Yarra Valley is that it starts in the early hours of the morning and leaves you with the rest of the day to check out the other stops below!
2. THE YARRA VALLEY DAIRY
The Yarra Valley Dairy is a must visit local favourite that we can’t recommend highly enough!
Known for its award winning French and Italian style cheeses, this iconic cheese shop is set in their original 100-year-old milking shed, and offers cheese tastings, cheese platters and charcuterie boards, all fresh and straight from the source!
If you’re looking for a truly unique (and filling!) dairy experience, this is a must do!
3. HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY
A visit to the Healesville Sanctuary just has to be on your list when visiting the Yarra Valley. With a huge emphasis on conservation and indigenous wildlife preservation, the sanctuary is a refuge for Australia’s iconic wildlife, with numerous world first breeding programs as well as a state of the art animal hospital.
If you are looking to have a walk in native Australian bushland and have some close encounters with a range of animals like kangaroos, koalas, platypus, dingoes, wombats and emus, the sanctuary has it all!
With a newly opened Koala Forest boardwalk, there’s never been a better time to come face to face with some of the country’s cuddliest creatures!
4. HEALESVILLE GLASS BLOWING STUDIO
Featuring some incredible designs by Tim Bassett and Tali Dalton, this glass blowing studio gives you the chance to watch master glass blowers in action and even take classes and tutelage in this delicate art of forging wondrous glass creations.
If you’re looking for one of a kind gifts or just want to learn a new skill, the glass blowing studio in Healesville is well worth a stop after visiting the sanctuary.
5. PHOTOTOURISM TOUR
Nowadays we’re all semi-professional photographers with our high-res smartphones and insta filters, but why not take your snapping skills to the next level in a photographers haven with a professional photo-tour guide?
From photographic newbies, to seasoned SLR snappers, Phototoursim offers day tours of the Yarra Valley with pro-photographer Rod Black, who can show you some incredible hidden treasures of the region and teach you how to capture them eternally.
Being a Yarra Valley local, Rod knows how to avoid the tourist traps, and show you this incredible region from a perspective you would never have had the chance to.
6. WARRATINA LAVENDER FARM
Set on the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, this purple paradise is a family owned farm that has been growing lavender for decades, and they open their doors to the world to show off their amazing crop which they make one of a kind produce and gifts from.
Being family owned their hospitality is nothing short of stellar, and if you’re keen for a look at the harvesting process or simply want to visit one of their tea rooms (lavender scones, mmm…) with stunning purple field views, plan on going in Summer months as that’s when the harvesting takes place.
7. GATEWAY ESTATE
Explore this family run gourmet farm gate early in the day and get the chance to fuel your Yarra Valley adventures with handpicked strawberries, locally grown produce and a vast array of fresh & tasty goodies.
Gateway Estate is famous for its aged Angus beef, so you might want to stop here on your way out of the Yarra Valley to take home a mouth-watering cut to order.
8. HEDGEND MAZE
Set on 20 acres of stunning Yarra Valley real estate, Hedgend Maze boasts a wide range of immersive experiences including their famous 1.2km hedge maze, all set upon an unbeatable view of the rolling valley hills.
With mazes, mini golf, laser tag, barbeques and picnic spots, kids and people young at heart can spend all day here.
If anything, make sure you pay Hedgend a visit just to try out their famous 1.2km maze!
9. YARRA RANGES NATIONAL PARK
The life force of the Yarra River and home to majestic Mountain Ash trees (some of the tallest trees on the planet!), this 76,000 hectare park is home to an amazing ecosystem with kangaroos, wombats, wallabies, platypi and over a 100 native bird species.
The park is suitable for walkers and hikers of all abilities, so if you’re a novice or don’t fancy walks longer than an hour, there are plenty of options, with walking tracks taking you viewing platforms of some stunning waterfalls and lookout points.
Drive the world famous Black Spur between Healesville and Narbethong, continue through to Marysville stopping along Lady Talbot Drive to walk through ancient rainforests at the Beeches and view the waterfalls at Keppel and Phantom Falls.