The plush flatlands to the northwest of Melbourne give way to forested valleys laced with rivers and streams. The Yarra Valley is known internationally as a source of Australia’s best wines, and it’s seen locally as a haven for foodies. With vineyards, hotels, shops and parks, there is plenty to see here. For travelers with an itinerary or locals with a day off, we’ve set up a wonderful day trip that will take you into the valley and back to Melbourne. This trip requires little in the way of preparation. It’s meant to be an easy and rejuvenating day in Melbourne’s Yarra Valley.
All that’s necessary is an easy mind and a willingness to have fun: simple! And, well, a car. Learn to drive in Melbourne, and you’re set.
Fuel Up and head to the Farm
Wake up, shower, get dressed and hit the road. You’ll want to stop for some coffee and a light breakfast. You could grab both and some road snacks at Queen Victoria Market on your way out of town. For a quieter meal than the bustling market can allow, try the Hardware Societe.
Head out into the valley early, before traffic gets too bad. When you get out to Healesville, check out the Healesville Sanctuary. Have a calming morning feeding the variety of wildlife they have on hand, then jump over to Yarra Valley Dairy and grab some of their renowned cheeses. They’re known for their goats’ cheese in particular.
Put on Some Afternoon Miles
Just past the town of Healesville, the Maroondah Reservoir opens up to splendid views of the reservoir and surrounding catchments. Take in the sights and sounds of the valley fauna exotic flora that the park has to offer, and settle in for a light picnic lunch.
If the weather is nice and you’re feeling energetic, stop at the Bicentennial National Trail for more fresh air and an invigorating walk through the bush and mountain landscapes. You’ll probably meet others walking, biking and even horseback riding as the trail follows the ridgeline of the Great Dividing Range. Circle back to the car and get ready to pamper those gams.
Reward Yourself with Award-Winning Hospitality
Stopp at the Balgownie Estate Resort and Spa and you’ll be greeted by one of the best views in the region. Relax and revitalize first with a trip to the estate’s Natskin Day Spa. Here you’ll be able to avail yourself of the Steam Temple, Relaxation Suites or their variety of body treatments. Then head to the Cellar Door and Restaurant for a classy meal. The menu combines French, Italian and Asian influences. Be sure to pair their delicious food with their award-winning selection of cabernet sauvignon and shiraz wines. Take in the sunset spilling through the valley from their balcony and you’ll have a wonderful time.
On your way back into town, stop over at Gertrude Street for a nightcap at the Everleigh. This low-lit, speakeasy-styled bar has an amazing eye for detail. It celebrates early 20th century bartending and drinks like Mary Pickfords, Red Grasshoppers and other four-ingredient cocktails. Wind down with a bit of their jazz selection and old-world atmosphere.
When the night finally calls you home, you can sleep soundly with a belly full of local cheese and wine and a head full of the best memories you can make in Melbourne.