An hour’s drive east of Melbourne is the beautiful region that spans the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. The Yarra Valley – Melbourne’s ‘Food & Wine Playground’ sees winemakers open their cellar doors showcasing some of Australia’s best wines, restaurants featuring seasonal and regional produce whilst an array of attractions for ‘children of all ages’ are available for visitors to the region to discover. Click on the below links for suggested places to visit during your stay.
The Yarra Valley stretches out along three main Highways that branch off between Lilydale and Coldstream.
The Maroondah Highway meanders through rolling hills and vineyards with the stunning backdrop of the Great Dividing Range. Passing iconic wineries from Coldstream to Healesville, a food and wine hub with its abundant cafes and unique shops. The road then gently winds through the Black Spur beneath towering Mountain Ash trees to Marysville and Lake Mountain, where regeneration abounds.
For the Melba Highway experience veer left off Maroondah Highway at Coldstream, passing the billabong flats of the Yarra River to the historical township of Yarra Glen. Continue past the Dixons Creek wineries before turning off to Toolangi and Kinglake. Accommodation here boasts spectacular elevated views, markets to explore on weekends and family fun at the newest attraction; the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.
The Warburton Highway gently winds alongside pastureland and the smaller wineries and farm gates through the valley to the picturesque village of Warburton – made even prettier by the crystal waters of the Yarra River running through its heart. Take the road to Mt Donna Buang to visit the rainforest gallery and spectacular lookouts.
Other touring routes include: the Reefton Spur linking Warburton and Marysville; the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road to explore the hill top villages of Mt Dandenong; and the pleasant drive through flower and nursery growing country to Emerald and Gembrook.
Cellar Doors, Cider Houses and Breweries
The history of family-run vineyards and orchards make it a delight to blaze your own trail through Victoria’s premier cool climate wine region, the Yarra Valley is also home to some of Australia’s leading distilleries, microbreweries and cider houses. With over 80 cellar doors to explore, a selection of superb, award winning, restaurants to locally produced cheese platters, all within a 10-15 minute drive of Yering Gorge Cottages.
Farm Gate Trails
Art, History and Heritage
The Yarra Valley embodies a precinct of arts, culture and heritage expressed in the region’s galleries, open studios and workshops, including the renowned TarraWarra Museum of Art. Step from the world of art into another era by experiencing the culturally rich heritage attractions and regional museums.
There’s plenty to keep you on the go here, with an extensive network of bush walking and cycling trails. From the popular Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail and O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail to the glorious vista of the Yarra Ranges National Park that cradles the upper reaches of the Yarra River. Take a swing on the fairway with a choice of nine golf courses, experience a balloon ride at dawn or enjoy a country race meeting. In winter Lake Mountain and Mt Donna Buang offer Melbourne’s closest snow play experiences.
Family Fun and Wildlife
One of the best places to encounter Australian wildlife in its natural habitat is definitely Healesville Sanctuary. Experience a backyard of adventure playgrounds and picnic spots in the bush along the creeks and streams; the iconic Puffing Billy Railway and a selection of other experiences that are perfect for the ‘young at heart’.