Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges Destination Guide
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Holidays
A picture-postcard escape of rolling hills scattered with wineries, microbreweries and charming country towns, the Yarra Valley is an unspoilt destination for an idyllic country getaway. The Valley and nearby Dandenong Ranges are a nature lover’s paradise, with thick, lofty forests paired with outdoor activities aplenty. Whether it’s wine, food, scenic walks or a combination of all 3 that would make the perfect rural getaway for you and the family, the Yarra Valley will not disappoint.
The Yarra Valley is famous for its 50-plus wineries that boast some of the finest grapes in Australia. This picturesque region offers more than just wine, however – it’s also home to a thriving foodie scene, a vibrant selection of parks and gardens, and a beautiful collection of art galleries. Guided wine tours are a great way to experience a variety of wineries, as well as microbreweries and local food pockets along the way.
The Yarra Valley also offers up a bounty of quaint villages and towns to visit. Healesville is a charming example nestled among the Valley and is ideal for an afternoon stop-off to visit the Healesville Sanctuary, a zoo specialising in native Australian animals. Marysville is one of the region’s most popular walking and cycling spots, offering dense rainforest and abundant wildlife.
Olinda and Sassafras, located at the top of the Dandenong Ranges, boast beautiful forestry and gardens. Explore the natural beauty of Lysterfield Park and Kurth Kiln Regional Park, both of which are regional hotspots for camping, picnicking, walking and horse riding. Hot air balloon rides are a popular way to experience the sprawling green magnificence of the region and to soak up the Valley and the Ranges from a bird’s-eye view.
Dubbed the food and wine basket of Australia, the Yarra Valley is one of the country’s premier foodie destinations. Serving up fresh, local produce in spades, the Yarra Valley locals are keen to show outsiders that premium wine tastes so much better when accompanied with rustic, artisanal delicacies. Throughout the Yarra and the Dandenong Ranges, restaurants typically serve a mix of traditional, hearty fare with contemporary cuisine, or bar-style food at cellar doors.
Cheese, chocolate and chutney are must-tries while in the Valley and make for perfect take-home gifts. The regular farmers’ markets are the best places to sample the exceptional produce of the region, as well as locally made bread, honey, wine, cakes and ice cream.
A region bursting with beautiful B&Bs, idyllic mountain retreats and grand manor houses, finding accommodation in the Yarra Valley will not be a problem. Luxury, fully serviced resort-style hotels provide a tranquil setting to kick back and relax, while self-contained cottages or apartments give you the freedom to come and go as you please.
Many of the vineyards and wineries have accommodation options within the grounds, providing the perfect spot to experience life at the heart of the Yarra Valley. Alternatively, sample Valley life in one of the charming villages such as Warburton or Marysville.
Brimming with specialty shops and independent stores, the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges provide some great shopping opportunities. Make a beeline for Belgrave in the Ranges for quirky, vintage fashions, or head to Healesville for locally designed, luxury clothing.
Olinda and Sassafras cover all your souvenir-shopping bases, from pottery to glassware and vintage-style teapots. Yering Station is a great place to fill up the car with fresh, regional produce and local wines.
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges Like a Local
If you want to experience local life in the Yarra Valley, take a trip to the Maroondah Reservoir Park and immerse yourself in the beautiful forests, gardens and diverse range of wildlife. The park is a popular weekend hotspot for Yarra Valley locals who come to chat, relax and throw a snag or 2 on the barbie.