Why you need to visit the Yarra Valley
Melbourne’s Yarra Valley is a gourmet delight. It has everything that you love – wine, chocolate, cheese, beer and strawberries. Whether you go for a week, or a weekend, you will indulge.
If you’re wondering where to start, Yarra Valley tourism has put together some great trail maps on its website based around loose themes such as wine, art and family-friendly excursions.
Here’s our pick of the top 8 places you should see in the Yarra. But be careful, you may never want to leave.
Coombe was once the home of opera singer Dame Nellie Melba and, as you would expect, it’s a home of grandeur and elegance. Coombe is set on seven acres of stunning gardens. The restored motor house and clock tower now house a gourmet restaurant which serves up seasonal estate-grown produce for breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea from Tuesday through to Sunday. Coombe also produces award-winning wines, which you can taste at the cellar door. Make sure you visit the gallery and the cottage garden ‘avenue’ where you will find the oldest swimming pool in Victoria.
Open: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday, 9:30am-5pm, Friday and Saturday 9:30am-3:30pm, open public holidays
Where: 673-675 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Who doesn’t love a fresh, hand-picked strawberry? At Yarra Valley gateway estate visitors can grab a basket and head into the indoor strawberry patch. Entry is free and you may pick as little or as much as you like. The strawberries are charged by weight. A normal 250-gram punnet costs around $4. Strawberries can be picked all year round, however, in winter there are times when the patch is closed to allow the plants to recover. Check with the estate ahead of time to ensure it’s open. Yarra Valley Gateway Estate also sells picnic hampers, local produce and fine wine.
Open: Monday - Friday, 9am-5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9am - 5pm
Where: 667 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Fancy a cold brew? Coldstream Brewery is housed in a former wool store on Maroondah Highway. You’ll know you’ve found it when you see the large shivering man on the roof. According to the owners, the shivering man represents taking the plunge and doing something for yourself. Coldstream microbrewery creates handcrafted beer and cider. The best way to experience it is to taste your way through a paddle at the bar. Afterwards grab a pizza to share and maybe a pint of your favourite beer to linger over.
Open: Sunday - Thursday, 11am-9pm, Friday and Saturday, 11am - 11pm
Where: 694 Maroondah Highway, Coldstream
Who doesn’t love cheese? Yarra Valley Dairy is renowned for producing award-winning fresh, soft cheeses made in distinctly Italian and French styles. The dairy farm produces both cow and goat cheeses. The one you must try is the Persian fetta. Of course, it’s only right to have a glass of wine with your cheese. The dairy has cheese and wine tasting, cheese plates, regional produce and coffee and tea. Head to the website and you will find some great recipes for using all the cheese you have bought.
Open: Daily 10.30am-5pm
Where: 70-80 McMeikans Road, Yering
Fancy sipping a glass of silky aged red in front of an open fire in a rustic woolshed? This is the place for you. Yering Farm wines specialise in limited release, handcrafted, boutique wines. The harvest typically commences with Pinot Noir in the first or second week of March and finishes with Cabernet Sauvignon in early May. This is a working farm. You can often wave to the owners as you come up the driveway and you can expect to see ducks waddling around. The rustic tasting room can be found in a shed. Pull up a stool or lean on the worn wooden bar and sample some of the best wines this region has to offer.
Open: Daily 10am-5pm
Where: 19-21 St Huberts Road, Yering
This gallery is the cultural jewel of the Yarra Valley, an award-winning architectural building that sprawls over rolling green hills with commanding regional views. But what is inside is just as wonderful. TarraWarra has seasonally changing exhibitions of modern art. More than 70 temporary themed exhibitions have been presented to date, including the collections of the gallery’s founders, philanthropists Eva Besen AO and Marc Besen AO. Click here to find out about current exhibitions.
Open: Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-5pm, open 7 days a week from Boxing Day to Australia Day
Where: 313 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Tarrawarra
7. William Ricketts Sanctuary
William Ricketts spent much of his life living with aboriginal communities in central Australia. Ricketts believed that Australians could learn from the Indigenous people and should adopt some of their practices, particularly in regard to the environment. He created this sanctuary as a place for quiet reflection and replenishing the spirit. More than 90 scultpures are distributed through the property, carved into rocks and tree trunks or dotted along paths. You just have to see it to believe it.
Open: Daily 10am-4:30pm
Where: 1402 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Mount Dandenong
We promised you chocolate and here it is. Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery has free entry and free chocolate tastings. It would be impossible to work your way through the thousands of different kinds on offer. Watch as European chocolatiers handcraft the creations on site. If you can drag yourself away from the chocolate, head to the cafe. Grab a seat and admire the view over the expansive lawns, wetlands and sculpture gardens.
Open: Daily 9am-5pm
Where: 35 Old Healesville Road, Yarra Glen
Have you visited the Yarra Valley before? If so, tell us about your trip in the comments below.
Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of My Discoveries.