The Ultimate Destination Guide to the Yarra Valley
The home of Victoria's wine industry, the Yarra Valley encompasses all the offerings of what makes a city escape ideal; great wine, amazing food, and an abundance of boutique businesses — all within a leisurely one-hour drive from Melbourne's CBD.
Whilst the area is known for its award-winning wineries and locally sourced food, the ‘back to nature’ pull of its surrounds is one not to be underestimated. Being a natural amphitheatre, the Yarra Valley offers city dwellers the perfect opportunity to escape the daily grind, and recharge.
Book a table for lunch at one of the many winery restaurants in the area, walk around the picturesque Healesville Village where you’ll discover shopping, cafés and local food producers, or just simply lose yourself in the breathtaking views of mountains that surround the valley. However you decide to spend your time, let the breeze usher you from one corridor of vines to the next with our Yarra Valley guide.
When visiting the Yarra Valley, you must pack your appetite. The many passionate chefs heading up the region’s restaurants really mean business when it comes to serving delicious, quality meals. Treat yourself to a lazy long lunch on a table with a view, or visit a local providore to grab all the essentials for a picnic.
Set amongst green, rolling hills and rows upon rows of vines, Zonzo Estate’s restaurant is the perfect pitstop to enjoy a leisurely lunch of traditional Italian cuisine. Sit inside on one of their wooden tables by the roaring fire, or soak up the sunshine outside overlooking the vines.
957 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen
Sitting snug on a hill, TarraWarra houses a restaurant, cellar door and art gallery that overlooks the estate's picturesque vineyard. Try a three-course meal in the restaurant, managed by chef Troy Spencer who uses produce from the kitchen garden. Don't forget to visit the cellar door, where, for $5 a person, guests can sample wines in a romantic-lit venue.
311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Yarra Glen
If you’d prefer to put on a DIY lunch or picnic, head over to Kitchen & Butcher, lovingly known by the locals simply as ‘K&B’. Here you can create your own grazing plate, however big or small, from their large offerings of gourmet cheese, cured meats, and other delicious delicacies.
258 Maroondah Highway, Healesville
Whether you’re looking to do some serious wine tasting or keen to sit down for an afternoon coffee date, the hardest thing you will have to do during your visit is deciding where to go. If your time is limited, we have done the hard work and picked three of the best for a tipple or caffeine stop.
The beautifully renovated tasting room is enough of a drawcard in itself, to head along to one of the main attractions of the Yarra Valley, Domaine Chandon. The luxurious pastel-hued venue is only topped by the incredibly vista of Chandon’s vines spreading out to the horizon.
727 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
If a no-fuss cellar door experience is what you’re after, then the Graceburn Wine Room is the place. Located in the centre of Healesville’s main street, the Mac Forbes-run wine bar is a cosy and intimate space to sample a wine flight and obtain some in-depth knowledge from the friendly staff.
11A Green Street, Healesville
Habituel is the local coffee shop in Healesville that does simple coffee and treats, and does them well. Get in quick to grab a freshly baked sourdough loaf or one of their delicious fruit or chocolate croissants baked on site and sold until they run out.
314 Maroondah Highway, Healesville
You won’t find many of the larger hotel chains in the Yarra Valley, and that’s a good thing. What you will find instead is a host of cottages and B&Bs, welcoming you to find accommodation that’s both homely and stylish.
If you’re after more than just a ‘bed for the night’, give yourself some nature and nurturing at one of Botanica Editions’ intimate residences, the Willow House. Have your morning coffee on the deck overlooking the considered and curated garden, with overhanging willow trees and pick from the seasonal produce garden beds to cook-in.
6 Chalet Road, Badger Creek
Next door is Habitat House, the second of the two Botanica Editions’ offerings. This two-bedroom retreat is styled with heart, right down to a gas fireplace that will have you cosying up beside it with a good book. Karen, the owner, is well connected with the local business and will only be too happy to offer advice on getting the most out of your stay.
The trick to making your Yarra Valley visit all the more special is to look beyond the wineries and get to know the heart of the region. Like paying a visit to the weekend farmer’s market and meeting the growers and makers of the local produce, or popping in to visit the workspace of a resident florist. Even Mother Nature herself is working behind the scenes, always putting on a magical show, whatever the season, tempting you to take a walk in the park or a hike through the mountains.
At the gateway to the Yarra Valley, in Coldstream, an unassuming strip mall hides the delight that is Sugar Bee Flowers. While the enigmatic owner and floral stylist, Youki, primarily does weddings in the Valley, if you’re staying at one of Botanica Editions’ residences, you can also get in touch with her to provide some blooms for your stay.
4/4 North Gateway, Coldstream
Just behind the main street, Coronation Park in Healesville, hosts local organic growers selling their produce every Saturday morning. Head on down to have a chat with the farmers about the ‘real food’ they have on offer and what’s in season. You might also be lucky enough to have the chocolate van For Fudge Sake stop by for a little extra treat.
Coronation Park- River Street, Healesville
Perhaps the best offering the Yarra Valley serves its locals and visitors is the visual feast and calming presence of its surrounding nature. Take an early morning walk through the many parklands, or simply drive around and watch the heartwarming display of wide open fields play out from your window.