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Yarra Valley

Photo © Peter

Travel Guide Oceania Australia Victoria Yarra Valley

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Introduction

The Yarra Valley, to the northeast of Melbourne, is Victoria's premier wine region. Being only a short distance from the city, it's a popular destination for day trippers, either for the culinary delights or for a visit to Healesville Sanctuary to catch some local wildlife.

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Geography

The Yarra Valley generally refers to the valley north east of Melbourne around the Yarra River. The Yarra River originates in the Yarra Ranges, some 60 kilometres east of Melbourne and flows towards the city and out into Port Phillip Bay. The definition of where the region starts and ends is somewhat fluid, sometimes even incorporating outer suburbs of Melbourne.

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Towns

  • Healesville is most known for its famous Wildlife Sanctuary, featuring a large number of Australian native fauna. It also offers some great culinary experiences and is an excellent place to settle down after a long day of wine tasting in the Yarra Valley.
  • Yarra Glen is smaller town, but the closest to a lot of the major wineries in the Valley. It's a good place to stop for a few beers and some wine tasting. Some excellent second hand and antique shops are a good distraction from all the wine. Just don't let the alcohol cloud your judgement!
  • Warburton is a picturesque town surrounded by tall forests of mountain ash.

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Sights and Activities

Healesville Sanctuary

This popular wildlife park provides a very convenient way for visitors and locals alike to experience some of Australia's unique wildlife. For full details on the park, have a look at the Healesville guide.

Wineries

Chandon Vineyard

Chandon Vineyard

© All Rights Reserved Josi

The star of the Yarra Valley is its numerous wineries. There are dozens and dozens of them scattered around and you can easily spend days touring around visiting them. These are some of the more popular ones with cellar doors where you can enjoy a tasting:

  • Balgownie Estate - Address: 1309 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen (corner of Gulf Road), Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm daily
  • De Bortoli Wines - Includes a restaurant and cheese shop. Address: 58 Pinnacle Lane, Dixons Creek, Phone: (03) 5965 2271, Hours: 10am - 5pm daily
  • Domaine Chandon - Set up by Moët & Chandon in 1986, Domaine Chandon focusses on sparkling and cool climate still wines. Address: 'Green Point', 727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream, Hours: 10:30am - 4:30pm daily (except Christmas)
  • Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander - Offering wine tastings in a spacious restaurant setting. This is in the middle of town, not surrounded by wineries, but the food is very good. Address: 336 Maroondah Highway, Healesville, Phone: (03) 5962 6111, Hours: 10am - 10pm on weekdays and from 8am on the weekends
  • Punt Road - Address: 10 Saint Huberts Road, Coldstream, Hours: 10am - 5pm daily (except Christmas)
  • Rochford Wines - Address: 878-880 Maroondah Hwy (corner of Hill Road), Coldstream, Phone: (03) 5962 2119, Hours: 10am - 5pm daily
  • Seville Estate - Address: 65 Linwood Road, Seville, Phone: (03) 5964 2622, Hours: 10am-5pm daily
  • St Huberts - Address: Saint Huberts Road, Coldstream, Phone: (03) 9739 1118, Hours: 9:30am- 5pm Weekdays. 10:30 - 5:30pm on weekends/public holidays.
  • TarraWarra Estate - In addition to its tastings and restaurant, TarraWarra Estate houses a beautiful privately run art gallery that is well worth a visit in itself. Address: 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen, Phone: (03) 5957 3510, Hours: 11am - 5pm daily
  • Yering Station - Victoria's first vineyard, Yering Station was originally planted in 1838. The complex includes a restaurant, bar, gourmet shop and of course, lots of tastings. Address: 38 Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, Hours: 10am - 5pm weekdays. 10am - 6pm on weekends and public holidays.

Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail

The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is one of Victoria's most popular bikes rides. The trail is 40km in length and there are multiple entry and exit points along the route if the distance concerns you. For those without a vehicle, you can catch a metropolitan train to Lilydale Station where the trail begins at the northern end of the station car park. The real highlight of the trail is the scenery between Seville & Launching Place station — it's here in the Valley floor that the space really opens up around you and provides views of farm land, wineries and the gorgeous Yarra Ranges National Park in the distance.

Distance to Warburton:

Lilydale Station to Mount Evelyn Station - 6.9 km
Mount Evelyn Station to Wandin Station - 5.4 km
Wandin Station to Seville Station - 3.4 km
Seville Station to Killara Station - 3.2 km
Killara Station to Woori Yallock Station - 4.1 km
Woori Yallock Station to Launching Place Station - 6.4 km
Launching Place Station to Yarra Junction Station - 2.1 km
Yarra Junction Station to Wesburn Station - 3.7 km
Wesburn Station to Millgrove Station - 1.6 km
Millgrove Station to Warburton Station - 3.3 km
Total: 40 km

Other Activities

  • Hot Air Ballooning is offered by several companies in the Yarra Valley.
  • The O'Shannassy Trail - Warburton is another fantastic ride in the Yarra Valley. The beauty of this ride is that it feels like a natural extension of the Warburton Rail Trail. Again the trail is easily accessible and there are plenty of entry and exit points to the trail, so you can tailor the ride to your fitness levels. Again like the Warburton trail, this trail is very easy as it's actually the old maintenance road and follows the decommissioned O'Shannassy Aqueduct. Maps are available for this ride from the Visitor Info Centre in Warburton.

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Events and Festivals

  • Yarra Valley Regional Food Group Farmers' Market - A gourmet style farmers market featuring a lot of local produce. Not a huge range of vegetables, but a lot of nice cheeses, dips, jams, crackers and so on. Set at beautiful Yering Station where you can sample a wine afterwards. Started in 1998, this is the longest running farmers market in Victoria. Address: Yering Station, Melba Highway, Yarra Glen, Hours: 3rd Sunday of every month. 9am-2pm, Price: Free
  • Yarra Valley Food, Wine & Craft Market - A sprawling market with lots of handmade wares, plants, craft, wine and great produce. In addition to the monthly markets, there is also a special Twilight Christmas Market. Address: Yarra Glen Racecourse, Hours: 2nd Sunday of each month. 9am to 2pm, Price: Parking: $3. Entry is free
  • Healesville Racecourse Harvest and Craft Market - Lots of great plant stalls, craft and produce and interesting stalls. Runs on the first Sunday of the month from September to June. Hours: 9am - 2pm
  • Yarra Valley Food & Wine Festival - A new festival showcasing the region's great restaurants and wineries.
  • Marysville to Melbourne Multisport Challenge - Participants run, cycle and paddle all the way from Marysville into central Melbourne, a total distance of 155km. If you're fit enough, you can take the challenge.

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Weather

Being more inland than Melbourne, the weather in the Yarra Valley can be a little chillier in winter and hotter in summer. For up to date weather forecasts, it's best to go straight to the source and look at the Bureau of Meteorology site. These are the forecasts for Yarra Glen.

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Getting There and Around

By Plane

There are a couple of small airfields in the Yarra Valley, but unless you have access to a private plane, chances are this will not be how you arrive. The nearest airport is in Melbourne, with many international and domestic services.

By Train

The nearest train station to the Yarra Valley is in Lilydale. From there, it is possible to catch buses to Yarra Glen or Healesville. Use the Metlink Melbourne website to find route times.

To make the trip, you will need a Zone 1+2 ticket. More about Melbourne's public transport system can be found in the Melbourne article.

By Car

It takes roughly an hour to reach the Yarra Valley from the centre of Melbourne (traffic allowing). Drive along the Eastern Freeway, turn right at Springvale Road, then left onto the Maroondah Highway (you can also stay on the freeway till Ringwood, but tolls apply). Travel through Ringwood and Lilydale and continue straight to reach Healesville. To reach Yarra Glen, turn off the Maroondah Highway at the Melba Highway in Coldstream.

By Bus

A popular way to see the Yarra Valley is on a bus tour. This way, you can enjoy the wine tastings all you like, without worrying about drink driving. There are quite a few companies offering their services in this area. A few are listed here:

If you are just trying to reach a destination in Yarra Valley to stay for the night, then you can catch one of the public buses that runs there. Full scheduling information can be found on the Metlink Melbourne website.

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Eat

There are countless great places to eat in the Yarra Valley. Many are attached to wineries, but don't dismiss the excellent pub meals to be had at Yarra Glen Hotel or Healesville Hotel for example.

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Drink

Drinking is one thing you will have no trouble doing in the Yarra Valley. The main thing to consider is how this might affect your travel plans. After a few tastings, you might well have exceeded the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.05. You can either decide to limit your alcohol intake, allocate a designated driver or even take a winery tour, so you don't have to worry about limits.

Whatever you decide, be sure to also drink lots of water to keep your hydration up and help avoid a nasty hangover.

Wineries are the most popular places to visit in the Yarra Valley and you certainly should take the time to stop at a few. If you like your beer though, then you may also want to sample some of the local brews at the Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company, Coldstream Brewery, White Rabbit or Buckley's Brewery.

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Sleep

Although the Yarra Valley is an easy day trip from Melbourne, many people prefer to spend a night or two here, taking in more of the wineries and scenery.

Several of the wineries in the Yarra Valley offer accommodation. They are usually not cheap and on the luxurious end of the scale. Another option is the large number of private holiday houses or bed & breakfasts that can be found in the area.

For travellers on a budget there aren't all that many options, but if you have a tent and your own transport, then there are some excellent campgrounds in the area.

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This is version 36. Last edited at 2:36 on Jun 4, 12 by EventBot. 4 articles link to this page.

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