Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges Destination Guide
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Holidays
On Melbourne's doorstep, the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges are quintessential B&B country where four wheels are often swapped for two and "happy hour" isn't time bound. This premier wine growing region invites visitors to swirl, sniff and sip throughout the countryside, succumbing to a taste-fuelled tour of the cool-climate vineyards. More than just a decent tipple, the Yarra is laden with luxurious day spas set against a backdrop of snowgum woodlands, with heritage townships boasting an assortment of antique dealers and country-style cafes. Your Yarra Valley holiday exists at the intersection of some of life's greatest pleasures: sumptuous food and wine, awe-inspiring natural landscapes and a good measure of art and culture.
It may be a popular day trip from Melbourne at just an hour's drive away, but the breadth of things to do in the Yarra Valley has the potential to extend your overnighter into endless days of indulgence. The top attraction in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is undoubtedly its abundance of wineries, home to lauded labels such as Yering Station, Domaine Chandon and De Bortoli. Of course, there is plenty more to the region than a good grape or two. Visit the Healesville Sanctuary to get acquainted with Australian wildlife, take a ride on the iconic Puffing Billy Steam train or see Melbourne from a different vantage point at Mt Dandenong's SkyHigh Observatory.
Modern gastronomy served with genuine country hospitality ensures you get the best of both worlds when it comes to wining and dining at Yarra Valley restaurants. There are more than 70 wineries and 40 cellar doors scattered throughout the region, but what is a great wine without top quality food to match? Food and wine pairing is a serious art in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, where wholesome farm fare is transformed on a plate into a "hatted" creation. The early European influence is still felt throughout the Valley, with speciality cheese, pasta, chilli, smoked meats and chocolate too good to pass by as you wander from market stalls to charming sidewalk cafes.
Where to Stay
The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges seem to have almost been designed as a destination to slow down and savour your surrounds – a "pop-in" visit just doesn't do the region justice. Take your time and explore the Yarra and Dandenongs, knowing there is a bounty of self-contained cottages, 5-star eco-retreats and cosy B&Bs with the welcome mat rolled out. The entire spectrum of Yarra Valley accommodation has you covered, from the all-out luxury of the Chateau Yering to the historic charm of the Healesville Hotel. Wherever you choose to base your stay, enjoy the afternoon vistas and surrender your senses to the calmness of the countryside.
There may not be any mega-chain department stores when it comes to shopping in the Yarra Valley, but that's just the way the locals like it. Pre-loved, up-cycled, vintage and retro are words you will hear a lot whilst browsing the boutiques of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. If you're the kind of shopper who likes to take their time and source that perfect piece, you can easily lose yourself in the many thrift stores and antique emporiums that line the main streets of Yarra and Dandenong townships. Belgrave, Olinda and Sassafras boast the lion's share of quirky shops, specialising in everything from teddy bears to tea.
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Like a Local
The locals always know the best spots to source a great deal or sample a regional speciality, so why not let them lead the way with a tour? Let those in the know guide you through breweries, wineries and lush Victorian wilderness, or go your own way following the signposts on a self-drive tour along the Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail or Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail. Who says the holiday has to end when you farewell the countryside? Take home a bottle of your new favourite Yarra Valley wine to share a taste of regional Victoria with your friends and family.