A Vine View: Melbourne to Yarra Valley Travel Guide

Leave the bustling city streets behind and venture into charming countryside, much of it patterned by rows of grapevines. Although the Yarra Valley is famous for wine, it’s also a perfect destination for lovers of food, art and nature.


A couple on a viewing platform looking at the cascades of the Steavenson Falls, near Marysville, Yarra Valley

When it comes to wine regions, this might be Victoria’s most famous. The Yarra Valley is a beacon of fine wine and food, but it doesn’t stop there. Stately gardens, nature experiences and interesting villages all dot the landscape. It has an attractive, yet lesser known, neighbour, the Dandenong Ranges. Make some time to detour there, especially if you’re on a summer road trip – around Christmas, orchards around Silvan and Monbulk are dripping with cherries and, at many, you can grab a bucket and pick your own. Ready to indulge all your senses? You can’t go wrong with a road trip to the Yarra Valley.


The contemporary architecture of the TarraWarra Museum of Art, part of the TarraWarra Estate, Yarra Valley

Short on time? Get the best of the region during a visit to TarraWarra Estate. Taste sparkling blanc de blanc and single-block pinot noir at the architecturally designed cellar door then move on to the hatted restaurant, where Yarra Valley-born chef Joel Alderdice uses local, seasonal and foraged produce. Next door is the TarraWarra Museum of Art, with a permanent collection of Australian art from the 1950s to today and a calendar of adventurous exhibitions.


  1. Toot toot! One of the Dandenong Ranges’ most famous attractions is Puffing Billy. This beautifully preserved steam train departs Belgrave and follows a narrow-gauge railway through the towering mountain ash trees of Sherbrooke Forest, over the Trestle Bridge and all the way to Gembrook. It takes about two hours each way, although there are shorter journeys.

  2. While wine has been the king of drinks in the Yarra since the 1960s, Four Pillars Gin has changed the face of imbibing. At the Healesville distillery, visitors tour the facilities before ordering tasting paddles of mini G&Ts. Awards from around the world have flooded in since Four Pillars’ inception in 2013, and its limited-edition releases, especially the Bloody Shiraz Gin (it’s steeped with local shiraz grapes), regularly sell out.

  3. Get close to native Australian animals, from platypuses to black swans, at Healesville Sanctuary. This is where conservation efforts to protect locally endangered species take place, and it’s where you can learn more about the creatures who live in your backyard and beyond. Upgrade your visit to include a close-up encounter, where you’ll meet either a koala or echidna and get to chat to their keeper.

  4. There are more than 80 vineyards across the Yarra Valley, and some of them are household names. Vittorio and Guiseppina De Bortoli emigrated from Italy to NSW in the 1920s and planted their first vineyard. Then, in 1987, the family bought a winery in the Yarra Valley. Celebrate a century of winemaking when you book one of the range of tasting experiences at the cellar door, including the chance to experience some of the premium wines with a member of the De Bortoli family.

  5. On the edge of the Yarra Valley, you’ll discover Marysville, surrounded by vast forests in the foothills of Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. From town, it’s a three-and-a-half-kilometre walk along the Tree Fern Gully Trail to the cascades of Steavenson Falls, one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls.


DeVine Escape

Stay in a vineyard when you check in to DeVine Escape, near Yarra Glen. The property has 23 studio rooms, each with its own private courtyard.

Healesville Hotel

Its restaurant is incredibly popular with day trippers to the area, but with seven classic hotel rooms upstairs, the Healesville Hotel is a great place to use as a base. Not just for its grand country hotel ambience, but also because it’s steps from restaurants, cafes and the Giant Steps cellar door.

Peppers Marysville

If you’re more interested in exploring forests, waterfalls and the Kinglake National Park, book a room at Peppers Marysville, with its contemporary rooms and pool with a view.


TarraWarra Estate Yarra Valley

Book a vehicle to collect from Apex Car Rentals when you arrive at Melbourne Airport. You’ll travel right across the city’s northern suburbs, unless you factor in time for taking a route that goes through the city. Definitely detour through the Dandenong Ranges, where even the drive through towering rainforest is spectacular but villages like Olinda and Sassafras invite exploration. Plan to spend at least three days in the Yarra Valley and surrounds.


Mount Baw Baw

It’s a two-hour drive from Healesville to Mount Baw Baw. In winter this is the most accessible of Victoria’s ski destinations. It has 30 hectares of ski fields, now enhanced by a snow maker that ensures the lifts stay open all season, but it’s also beautiful in summer. The alpine village is surrounded by Baw Baw National Park, where you can hike part of the Australian Alps Walking Trail and visit Mushroom Rocks, a maze of huge granite boulders that seem to defy gravity.