WhereThe Yarra Valley in Victoria is a world-class premium wine region 50km from Melbourne, just one hour’s drive north-east of the city. The region is home to innovative wineries, restaurants, distilleries, breweries and food producers.
Best forPairing world-class wines with incredible meals.
What to expectAn unforgettable premium food and wine experience on Melbourne’s doorstep in a setting of rolling, vine-covered hills surrounded by tree-covered mountains.
- Taste a unique combination of history and innovation.
- Hear the chatter of kookaburras just about everywhere.
- See a bird’s eye view from a hot air balloon at sunrise.
- Feel the freedom of wide-open green spaces.
- Smell the heady, woody notes of wine barrels.
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Always be sure to enjoy Victoria's wine regions safely with a designated driver.
Pick up your rental car after a leisurely breakfast in one of Melbourne's famous cafes and head for the hills – Coldstream Hills, to be precise.
Australia's most revered wine critic James Halliday established the winery in 1985 and has since built its reputation for producing world-class wines, particularly the Yarra Valley's hero varieties chardonnay and pinot noir.
Check out the view from the light-filled cellar door overlooking the closely spaced vines down into the valley. Book a weekend guided walking tour of the vines and winery, which includes the rare opportunity to sample wines direct from the barrel.
Right next door is award-winning Yarra Yering, named Best Small Cellar Door by Gourmet Traveller Wine, under the expert eye of 2017 Halliday Winemaker of the Year Sarah Crowe. The 50-year-old estate is one of the Yarra Valley's oldest producers, but Crowe adds a progressive touch.
Don't miss the chance to try the latest release of her Light Dry Red, an unusual blend of shiraz and pinot noir that’s the perfect combination of spice and perfumed red fruits. Lovers of exceptional cabernet sauvignon are spoilt with Yarra Yering’s complex and exquisite Bordeaux-style blend, known simply as Dry Red Wine No. 1 – it's a consistent award winner. Treasure hunters will find plenty to thrill in the rotating selection of museum stock available for tasting.
Stop for a leisurely lunch and a wine tasting at Seville Estate, the 2019 Halliday Winery of the Year, where views of the upper Yarra and surrounding mountains are unrivalled. The Gourmet Traveller Wine 2019 Star Cellar Door-winning tasting room and restaurant are oh-so Australian – all corrugated iron and red brick walls surrounded by eucalypts – but inside the vibe is Scandi-chic, with a minimalist dining room and wide windows.
Sample form the ever-changing menu of local and estate-grown produce; try the six- or eight-course ‘feed me’ option for the full experience.
Head off to learn about the art of distilling at Four Pillars Distillery. Book ahead for a Saturday masterclass – you'll sip G&Ts in the private workshop overlooking the distillery while a spirit guide takes you through the process of making gin, the barrel-ageing program and Australian gin lore before you meet the magnificent copper pot stills.
Try a tasting paddle or a cocktail – the expert and enthusiastic staff in the sleek showroom can point you towards exclusive and harder-to-find bottles, such as the distillery’s famous shiraz gin, a combination of rare dry gin and locally grown shiraz grapes.
Hop in the car and head to nearby boutique winery Dominique Portet for a unique combination of French winemaking and Yarra Valley terroir. Run by 10th-generation winemaker Ben Portet, the cellar door makes up in charm what it lacks in size. Take a glass to the courtyard seating overlooking rolling vineyards flanked by steep mountain ranges or indulge in a little friendly competition on the petanque court.
Satisfied with your tastings, check into your luxury Yering Gorge Cottages accommodation set on a 120-acre private nature reserve where the bush intersects with the Yarra River. Relax on your balcony with a pre-dinner wine and watch the kangaroos graze nearby.
Zip into the Healesville Hotel, the perfect mix of old-world charm and modern amenity. Fill up on sizzling local, grass-fed beef and plump free-range chicken slow-cooked in the garden fire pit over red gum coals. Enjoy with vegetables from nearby Timbarra farm. Enjoy the hotel’s garden dining area in warm weather; in winter open fireplaces keep the front bar warm and cosy. And as you might expect from a pub in the centre of a world-class wine region, the drinks list is impressive.
HighlightsSeville EstateWineriesSeville Estate was recently crowned James Halliday 'Winery of the year'. A pioneering vineyard of the Yarra Valley's modern wine story, Seville Estate...Four Pillars DistilleryDistilleriesFour Pillars Gin is Australia's number one craft spirit. Since launch in 2013, Four Pillars gin's have received the highest accolades at spirit competitions...Yering Gorge CottagesCottagesYering Gorge Cottages provides a stunning natural setting where bushland intersects with the Yarra River against the backdrop of the Christmas Hills and...
8.00amStart your morning with a complimentary breakfast hamper at Yering Gorge Cottages on the deck with the Christmas Hills and Dividing Ranges as backdrop.
10.00amJump behind the wheel for the short drive to Healesville Sanctuary. While away the morning, meandering along tranquil tracks set among natural bushland. The sanctuary is home to native animals, including koalas, kangaroos, wombats and more than 200 native bird varieties (including majestic birds of prey).
Be sure to stop by the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, where staff nurse sick, injured and orphaned wildlife back to health.
12.30pmHead on to Oakridge Wines for lunch. It's one of Australia’s hottest winery restaurants – boundary-pushing co-head chefs Jo Barrett and Matt Stone’s sustainable menu has won the winery a host of awards, including Time Out Melbourne Restaurant of the Year 2019 and Australia’s Hottest Regional Restaurant 2016 from The Australian newspaper. Much of the produce is hand-picked daily from a 120-square-metre kitchen garden. Try bread, cheese and small goods (including emu pastrami) made in-house.
2.00pmExplore your next winery – part concert venue, part cellar door. Expansive Rochford Wines is almost as well known for hosting open-air concerts featuring the likes of Elton John, Stevie Nicks and John Farnham as it is for luscious single-vineyard, grapefruit-accented chardonnay. In spring and summer you might hear the tinkle of piano keys rolling across the vines as you lounge on the lakeside deck, soaking up the warmth of the afternoon sun.
3.00pmTake a scenic drive through the Yarra Ranges to spectacular Steavenson Falls, which plummet 122 metres into the Steavenson River. It’s only a 700-metre (return) stroll from the carpark to the viewing platform overlooks what is one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls. Keep an eye (and ear) out for native wildlife – you might even be lucky enough to hear a platypus splashing in the river pools nearby.
7.00pmSit down at Meletos, the perfect option for a low-key dinner, mid-week or at the weekend. The team behind award-winning fine diner Stones of the Yarra Valley is dedicated to bringing out the best of regional ingredients. Choose from a range of wood-fired pizzas or enjoy a char-grilled porterhouse, confit duck or lemon and rosemary quail.
9.00pmIt's back to Yering Gorge Cottages for the night – you have an early start tomorrow.
HighlightsHealesville SanctuaryWildlife, zoos & farmsWatch for waking koalas and peek at a joey in a kangaroo's pouch, meet keepers or observe vets in the animal hospital, all in an Aussie bush setting.Oakridge WinesWineriesSavour this award-winning winery, cellar door and restaurant in the heart of the Yarra Valley, voted Time Out Restaurant of the Year 2019.Rochford Wines Yarra ValleyWineries50 minutes from Melbourne, seven minutes from Healesville Sanctuary and the township of Healesville, Rochford Wines is a versatile indoor and outdoor restaurant,...
Get ready for a hot-air balloon ride over the valley. Yes, you'll need to get out of bed about two hours before sunrise, but the breathtaking 360-degree views of the Yarra Valley's spectacular natural amphitheatre are quite the incentive. The ride takes about an hour once you're up in the air, and experienced pilots tailor your flight to the weather to ensure the best possible views on the day.
End your once-in-a-lifetime experience with a champagne breakfast.
9.30amHead back to Yering Gorge Cottages to collect your luggage and check out.
Fill your car with fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from roadside stalls. Peruse the Providore at Meletos – it's a one-stop shop for regional produce, carefully curated homewares, house-baked sourdough, artisan cheeses, jams and pickles.
Get funky at cheesemaker Yarra Valley Dairy. The cheese shop and tasting room is located in the original 100-year-old milking shed on the farm, right beside the cheese factory – you may even meet a friendly goat angling for a pat. The dairy specialises in soft Italian and French style cheeses – enjoy a tasting platter before choosing your favourites to take home for later.
11.00amPop into De Bortoli's award-winning, internationally renowned cellar door to sample new release wines from one of the region's most innovative wineries. Take in the sweeping views towards the Great Dividing Range, overlooking 162 hectares of predominantly chardonnay, pinot noir, shiraz and cabernet sauvignon vines.
Behind-the-scenes winery tours are available in English, Cantonese and Mandarin.
12.30pmPause for lunch at TarraWarra Estate. The restaurant menu varies each day, depending on what the chef selects from the property's half-acre kitchen garden, and focuses on the creative use of more than 40 edible vegetables, berries, herbs and fruits. You'll need to make a reservation in advance for lunch, but not to enjoy an exhibition at onsite TarraWarra Museum of Art. Its rotating selection of exhibitions are open to the public, and have included the likes of Australian artist Tracey Moffatt’s widely acclaimed 57th Venice Biennale exhibition.
2.00pmRoll up to the Graceburn Wine Room. With vineyards dotted across the region, natural winemaker Mac Forbes decided against opening a cellar door, and instead created this 30-seat urban bistro–wine bar. Stop here for one last tasting before heading back to Melbourne. Knowledgeable staff will happily take you through special release wines from the core range alongside selected producers from the Yarra Valley and abroad.
3.30pmHit the road back to Melbourne – you should be back at your hotel before 5.00pm, in time to enjoy an evening out in the city.
HighlightsDe Bortoli Yarra Valley EstateWineriesWith over 80 years in the game, there's not much the De Bortoli family don't know about wine. Pop in for a taste of their famous cool climate wines.Graceburn Wine Room & BistroRestaurantsGraceburn Bistro offers a take on the modern Australian Bistro.Chef Kate Kilsby brings a fresh approach with a strong focus on sustainability, locally...Ballooning and scenic flightsOutdoor activitiesRise above the Yarra Valley at sunrise on a silent, scenic hot air balloon flight – a tranquil way to experience the wonders of the landscape.