Yarra ValleyThe closest wine region to the city of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is Victoria's oldest wine region, with over 3,600 hectares under vine. It is also Victoria's most visited wine area, located just one hours drive from Melbourne's CBD.
Yarra Valley Visitor Information Centre, The Old Courthouse, Harker Street, Healesville. Ph: (03) 5962 2600
A leading Australian cool climate wine region, its wineries, which offer cellar door tastings and sales, specialise in most cool climate styles, from sparklings, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, to complex pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz and more.
There is far more to the Yarra Valley than just wineries, however, it is equally well known for its art galleries, accommodation, restaurants, cafes, antique stores, markets, woodland nature walks and recreational attractions such as the Healesville Sanctuary, Paintball Skirmish, Ballooning (Global Ballooning & Balloon Sunrise), Hedgend Maze, Marysville Salmon & Trout Ponds, Lavender Farm and Tourist Railway.
Yarra Glen is as small settlement in the heart of the Yarra Valley to the North East of Melbourne, Yarraq Glen is set among rolling hills and green pasture in an area that has been farmed since the 1840s. Agriculture is still prominent, but day visitors from Melbourne have turned this pretty rural town into a very popular, well patronised single-day destination.
Location: 50 km east of Melbourne.
By car, take the Eastern Freeway (83) from the city until the Nunawading exit. Turn right into Springvale Road and then left onto Whitehorse Road which later becomes the Maroondah Highway. Proceed to Lilydale and then onto Healesville (B360) which is well signposted. If you re heading to Yarra Glen, veer left onto the Melba Highway (B300) at Coldstream.
By coach tour, numerous tour operators offer day tours. Tours leave from Southern Cross station bus terminal, Spencer Street, city.
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Yarra Valley Wine Region
Throughout this stunning region (birthplace of Dame Nellie Melba) are scattered some of Australia's finest vineyards in a tapestry of rolling countryside rimmed by blue-gum ranges, often snow-capped in winter.
Yarra Valley Railway
The Yarra Valley Railway runs train rides from Healesville to Tunnel Hill, crossing the Watts River, under the Donovan's Road overbridge and through the historic tunnel at Tarrawarra Winery.
Yarra State Forest
Yarra State Forest provides some of the best forest walks and drives in close proximity to Melbourne. Choose from a range of short or long walks, picnic or camping areas and lookouts in the mighty mountain ash forests of the region.
Yarra Ranges National Park
A vital catchment for Melbourne s water supply, Yarra Ranges National Park is home to forests of Mountain Ash, rainforest and fern gullies, and the endangered Leadbeater s Possum. Stretching from Healesville to Warburton, from the headwaters of the Yarra to Marysville, this national park was declared in 1995.
Kinglake National Park
Kinglake, comprising forest, farmland, a national park and a township, is located in the Kinglake Ranges, part of the Great Dividing Range. Many areas of Kinglake overlook the Melbourne skyline to the south west and the Yarra Valley wineries to the south.
One of Melbourne's oldest and best known reservoirs, Maroondah is somewhat of a magnet on sunny weekends and school holidays as it has plenty of room for big crowds, large lawns with room for ball games, large picnic and barbecue areas, all set within the shade of tall eucalypt trees.
Upper Goulburn Valley
In the 1860s the mountainous terrain of the Upper Goulburn Valley was invaded by gold prospectors. These days, the Goulburn and Jamieson Rivers are popular for trout fishing, canoeing, 4-wheel driving and gold fossicking in and around the ghost towns and gold mines on and beyond the Yarra Track.
Healesville Sanctuary is a showcase for more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles, permitting visitors to get closer to Australia's wildlife than normal zoos, the Sanctuary has made a feature of the unique experiences visitors can have with kangaroos, koalas and Australia s birds of prey.
Healesville is well known for the Healesville Sanctuary, a nature park with hundreds of native Australian animals displayed in a semi-open natural setting and an active platypus breeding program. The Yarra Valley Tourist Railway operates from Healesville Station on every Sunday.
Marysville is a small town 34 km north east of Yarra Glen, nestled in the foothills of Melbourne's closest alpine resort. The town was established as a stopping point on the Yarra Track, the route to the Woods Point and Upper Goulburn goldfields.
Yarra Glen is the region's main town, and a focal point for the wine region. As well as sampling wines at one of around 30 cellar doors, visitors can also pick up locally grown produce from farmers markets.
Kinglake, comprising forest, farmland, a national park and a township, is located 45 km north east of Melbourne, in the Kinglake Ranges, part of the Great Dividing Range. Many areas of Kinglake overlook the Melbourne skyline to the south west and the Yarra Valley wineries to the south.