Healesville Sactuary, Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia
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South east touring route

Day 1: Melbourne to Yarra Valley
56 km/35 miles, about 1 hour

Farewell Melbourne's rooftops and subterranean drinking dens, boutiques, galleries and coffee culture. It's time to hit the road for the Yarra Valley, an easy drive less than an hour east of the city, where life's great pleasures of food, wine and nature are justly revered.

Rolling hills laced with grape vines whet the appetite for vineyard visiting and wine tasting. Check in to your accommodation and get started. Accommodation options range anywhere from Yering Gorge Farm Cottages on the banks of the Yarra River, to Balgownie Estate with its sleek rooms, day spa and cellar door.

Head to Healesville Sanctuary, stopping at farm gates to buy local produce for a picnic in the sanctuary's Aussie bush setting. Before you know it you'll be staring into the snarling jaws of a Tasmanian Devil, peering at a joey in its mother's pouch, or frolicking with the monotremes at Tales From Platypus Creek. The photographic opportunities are endless.

It's time to make tough decisions. Choose between an afternoon sipping cider made from local apples at Punt Road Wines and experiencing a real Aussie sausage sizzle with an ale at White Rabbit Brewery, or visiting vineyards to taste wines and meet the winemakers.

The Yarra Valley kick-started Victoria's wine industry in 1838, and today there are over 70 wineries. Celebrated names like De Bortoli and Domaine Chandon also feature cellar door restaurants with breathtaking views, where talented chefs showcase the region's bountiful local produce to match the vineyard's lauded wines. Extend your indulgence beyond your tastebuds with a visit to historic hotel Chateau Yering.

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