Just over an hour from the city, the Yarra Valley offers an escape from the everyday, without having to spend hours in the car to get there. While there are plenty of great wineries, there is a lot more going on. You could spend weeks exploring everything it has to offer, so we’ve chosen a few of our favourite things to do on the way and when you get there.
ON THE WAY
While the Yarra Valley is a destination, just 40 minutes outside the city, in Kangaroo Ground you’ll find Brownkorte’s restaurant where two awarded chefs are cooking up some seriously good food. Think anything from tempura chicken with nori rolls, to eight hour roasted confit duck, to the best caramalised lemon tart going around.
St Andrews Market
The infamous market has been around for 40 years. With spring rolls worth writing home about, roaming performers, energy readings, fresh produce and more gluten free and vegan food than one ever needs, they really have something for everyone. And once your feet are sore and your stomachs are full, you can pop over to the St Andrews Hotel for a pint.
Harvest Farm and Dairy House
Over 18 acres two separate housing areas create seclusion and relaxation for guests. The Diary House is a bungalow surrounded by flowers while The Harvest Farm is a revamped 1920’s farmhouse. Breakfast comes from the kitchen garden on the property. What better way to spend time in the country?
For something more modern in the Yarra Valley, Balgownie offers a resort style accommodation with new stylish hotel-like rooms, again with that great view. Guests can wander over to Balgownie Estate Cellar Door, Rae’s Restaurant or the day spa to make a weekend out of it.
Hot air balloon
What better way to see all the Yarra Valley has to offer, than to soar above it all? You have to get up super early, and help out with the logistics of it all, but there are serious views and a champagne breakfast that is worth every sleepy moment.
Tarrawarra Museum of Art
When it comes to art in the Yarra Valley, Tarrawarra is the place to go. As one of the first privately funded public art museums, it offers a range of exhibitions and events, a continuingly growing collection, education programs, shops and a unique backdrop for an art gallery. You can also pop next door for a glass of wine or two and something to eat.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
After wine tastings and hot air ballooning, what else is there to do than over indulge in good chocolate? The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery has a full menu, fit with chocolate fondue and coco pops for breakfast, they also have their range of chocolates and ice creams at the ready. A great treat to take away, or perhaps a present for the people you left at home on your trip.
Yarra Valley Dairy
The Yarra Valley Dairy cheese shop is a cheese lover’s heaven. Marinated cheeses, fresh cheese and matured cheeses sit next to more locally made condiments and wines. After a cheese platter to end all cheese platters, take a walk around the shop and taste wine, buy sweets, or buy more cheese.
Known for their Moscato, Innocent Bystander offer a lot more once you get to the Yarra Valley. Wood fired pizzas, wines, cheese, artisan-baked goods, coffee roasting and a beautiful space keeping it all together; Innocent Bystander is the perfect lunch destination. They’ve also got a gluten free menu, making it easy to take everyone along.
Matt’s Bar at Yering Station
While the Yering Station restaurant is stunning, Matt’s Bar is a place where you can enjoy the Yering Station range of wines in a more relaxed and informal atmosphere with killer views of the Yarra valley. They’ve also got a Cellar Door and produce store downstairs, perfect for purchasing picnic goods and take home drops.
Hargreaves Hill Brewery
Sometimes after a day of wine tasting, all you need is a good brew. Hargreaves Hill Brewery serves up a range of craft beers from the Hefeweizen, to “Pale Ale” to the AD. Or perhaps a dark stout is more your thing. The food sees things like onion rings, mussels and mushroom gnocchi.
One of the many beautiful wineries in the region, Rochford wines offers a great cellar door where you can taste their range and get an idea of just what you like. This beautiful winery also has restaurants, movie screenings in the vines and live music every now and then. It’s a good idea to time that drinking with another activity or two.