Thought you had ‘done it all’ in the Yarra Valley, think again! The Global Girls have summed up your ultimate ‘to do list’ to end your day with a bang…
1. You haven’t fully indulged until you have tasted the handmade farmhouse cheeses at Yarra Valley Dairy.
Visit their original 100 year old milking shed, overlooking stunning Yarra Valley views for tastings of cheese and local wines, delightful produce; such as award-winning relishes and jams, accompanied by fresh baked bread & local meats – talk about the REAL dairy experience.
2. For a mix of savoury followed by sweet, trek 8 minutes down the road to the vivacious Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery to try some decadent and might I add, FREE chocolate and ice-cream tastings.
Watch the chocolatiers in action behind the scenes busily at work, handcrafting the finest chocolates. Free entry – open every day between 9am-5pm (except Christmas Day).
Our favourite is the White Chocolate Rocky Road – best we have ever had!!
3. If you are after an unforgettable foodie experience where you are the chef, then Bella Vedere has your name written all over it – learn culinary delights, exploring organic flavours from the garden & small producers in the Yarra Valley Region. This is a 3 hour class, starting at 9.30am followed by lunch at 12.30pm.
Cost is $150pp and bookings are a MUST!
4. If your tummy is rumbling why not visit one of the many restaurants in the Yarra Valley for lunch – some of our picks are below:
Isabella’s at Rochford Wines – Delight in lunch here if you haven’t booked breakfast as a part of your ballooning experience. You may recognise this venue as the host for the iconic Australian “Day On the Green” music festival. You can also adventure off on a segway around the property.
Our recommendations are: Wagyu Two Ways and Tasmanian Salmon Beurre Blanc.
There are two options available: Two Course $55pp OR Three Course $63pp.
Rae’s Restaurant at Balgownie Estate – At Rae’s, you’re high on the hill with extensive, incredible Valley views.
Our recommendations are: Red Curry Cashew Crusted Seared Salmon & Napoleon Cider Battered Fish of the Day – mmm delish!
Enjoy a modern Australian cuisine – lunch prices range between $18 and $32.
Zonzo Estate – It will seem as though Nonna is in the kitchen cooking for you when you taste the delicious Casalinga style original Italian food on the menu. Embrace true Italian culture, whilst overlooking vineyard views ‘to die for’.
Our recommendations are: Pizza Con Pancetta, Gnocchi Al Burro w Salvia (this was so beautifully handmade that it melted in my mouth) and Calzone con Prosciutto.
Select a sharing menu at $45pp or choose your own dishes with prices starting from around $15.
Meletos - From the family who brought you Stones of the Yarra Valley comes Meletos, delicious wood-fired pizza and amazing service (speaking from experience of course). Napoleone Brewers is located on the same property if you are a fan of delicious cider. They have also recently opened boutique Tuscan-style accommodations...worth a look!
Our recommendations are: Herb-crumbed artichoke, pepperonta, ricotta cheese, basil & any of the wood-fired pizzas are delish!
Mains start from $28 and wood-fired pizza’s are $24.
5. Explore your love for Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary:
Some of the highlights when you visit include:
Visiting the Australian Wildlife Health Centre to meet vets and nurses, as they treat sick, injured or orphaned wildlife in need of care.
Admire Australia’s majestic birds of prey and magnificent parrots as they show off their skills in an incredible bird show.
Learn about Platypus in a world-first interactive show.
Learn about some of the most endangered local species in the ‘Fighting Extinction’ headquarters.
6. “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” ― Anonymous…so why not treat yourself to an all-day wine tour with the Australian Wine Tour Co. OR Vinetrekker. Be educated and guided by a genuine Wine Expert, who will not only astonish you with wine pretentiousness but who will also entertain you!
You can combine this tour with your ballooning adventure – Global Ballooning Australia can take you into the Yarra Valley for your flight, transfer you to start your wine tour and then they will take you back into the city after it concludes.
Otherwise, there are many wineries (listed below and also the wineries we have suggested for lunch) which you can self-drive to. Just be careful to not go over the limit. It can be hard to keep track of how much wine you’re drinking when they’re samples!
Coombe Farm Vineyard - www.coombeyarravalley.com.au
Domaine Chandon - www.chandon.com.au
Dominique Portet - www.dominiqueportet.com
Immerse - www.immerse.com.au
Mandala - www.mandalawines.com.au
Punt Road - www.puntroadwines.com.au
Sticks - www.sticks.com.au
Tarrawarra Estate - www.tarrawarra.com.au
Tokar Estate – www.tokarestate.com.au
Wild Cattle Creek Winery - www.wildcattlecreek.com
Yarrawood Estate - www.yarrawood.com.au
Yering Farm - www.yeringfarmwines.com
7. Calling all garden lovers! Alowyn Garden is a MUST for anyone wanting to take in the beauty of nature and landscape design.
Situated on 4 acres, meander through 5 different gardens on the perimeter and explore: a perennial border, designed to display colour from Spring to Autumn, a silver birch forest, an edible garden of generous proportions, a parterre garden and a number of display gardens. A wisteria runs through all of the areas and a rose covered archway 100m long is featured…this place is magical and filled with colour!
Open 7 days, year-round, except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and the month of July.
Cost is $10 per adult and children under the age of 16 are free.
8. Do you love collecting antiques? There is an eclectic mix of vintage and art-deco through to modern day antiques located in the historical Yarra Valley.
We have listed the most popular ones below for you:
The Antique Centre - 8 Bell St, Yarra Glen
(03) 9730 1911
Treasures from the Past Antiques & Collectables - 18 Bell Street, Yarra Glen
(03) 9730 1933
Den of Antiquities - 25A Bell Street, Yarra Glen
(03) 9730 2111
Watsons Creek Cafe and Antiques - 765 Eltham-Yarra Glen Road, Kangaroo Ground
(03) 9719 7518
Chris's Antiques Collectables & Art Gallery - 43 Maroondah Highway, Healesville
(03) 5962 6055
9. Enjoy a truly unique gourmet and cultural experience Seven acres of stunning gardens, beautiful facilities in the restored motor house and a clock tower at Coombe – The Melba Estate. Once the home of Dame Nellie Melba, this property has an unsurpassed birthplace for visitors to appreciate.
Roam the property & see two acres of vegetable gardens, glasshouses, and historic orchards, free range chickens, roaming cattle and acres of premium grapevines which are supplied to the kitchens of Coombe. There is also the historic stables, the Coombe Providore which offers seasonal estate-grown, house-made produce and stylish Melba mementoes. If you want to wine and dine, the restaurant is located within the restored motor house and historic clock tower. The gardens on this stunning property were prepared in 1909, under the personal direction of W.R.Guilfoyle, the curator of the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. You’ll see rare plants and old world trees, a croquet lawn, an old tennis court, a newly established rose arbour and the oldest swimming pool in Victoria! Don’t miss the guided garden tours which are held at 10am and 2.00pm, Monday – Saturday. Bookings are essential.
10. Tee off at one of the designer golf courses tucked amongst the wineries of the Yarra Valley. No matter which course, you will be positioned with an impressive view of the magnificent Yarra Valley.
The Eastern Golf Club – 215 Victoria Road, Yering
03 9739 0110
Yering Meadows Golf Club - 178-180 Victoria Road, Yering
03 9738 9000
RACV Healesville Country Club - 122 Healesville-Kinglake Road, Healesville
03 5962 4899
The Heritage Golf & Country Club - 2 Heritage Ave, Chirnside Park
03 9760 3300
by Kate Esposto