Best free things to do in Victoria’s Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley bike ride

Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted December 12, 2023

For your next day trip or weekend in the Yarra Valley, here are the best things to see and do for a fun and free day out.

The Yarra Valley is a picturesque Victorian region known for its stunning vineyards, breathtaking landscapes, and charming towns. 

There are plenty of free things to do in the Yarra Valley that allow you to experience the beauty and charm of the region. From free activities that allow you to immerse yourself in nature, to indulging in local flavours and appreciating the region's cultural and artistic offerings, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Here are some of the best free activities in the Yarra Valley.

Black Spur

The Black Spur is one of Victoria's most famous scenic drives. Image: Visit Victoria


Free things to see and do in the Yarra Valley

Best free activities

Walk the Farmers' Market

On the third Sunday of the month, the Yarra Valley Regional Food Group Farmers' Market takes place in Coldstream. Near some of the area’s best wineries and cellar doors, this vibrant market highlights the region's finest produce, where you can take your time to explore the stalls and local artisan stands by foot.

Take a scenic drive along the Black Spur

The Black Spur is a scenic road that winds its way through the heart of the Yarra Valley. As one of Victoria’s best road trips, this picturesque drive offers breathtaking views of towering trees, fern gullies, rolling hills and Mountain Ash Forest. You could even make your way to Marysville for a free and beautiful waterfall walk to Steavenson Falls.

Roll down your windows, feel the cool breeze, and let the beauty of the Yarra Valley unfold before your very eyes.


Plan a picnic

Pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the Yarra Valley's many parks or waterfalls. Image: Supplied


Best free cultural attractions 

All aboard the train-themed playground

Allow little ones to let off some steam at Railway Station Park, a free themed playground found in front of the heritage Healesville train station.

As one of the state’s best playgrounds, kids can cover their tracks as station controllers and train drivers, while parents will be happy to know there’s a café at the next stop - just next door.

Explore the local museum

With free entry, learn about both historical and modern life in the region at the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in Lilydale, with stimulating and interesting experiences that keep changing year round.

Including exhibitions, immersive experiences, installations, tours and activities, explore some of the 13,000 artefacts from the museum's collection at this family-friendly attraction.

Take in the spectacular views of the Yarra Valley

Visit one of the region’s fabulous wineries or cellar doors, many of which are free to enter, such as Domaine Chandon.

Take a seat and enjoy the majestic views of vineyards as far as the eye can see. 

Step back in time on the Yarra Valley Railway

As one of the best heritage railway journeys in Victoria, the Yarra Valley Railway runs vintage steam and diesel trains between Healesville and Tunnel Hill.

While the train rides are ticketed, you can explore the railway station and admire the beautifully restored trains for free. It's a chance to step back in time and experience the nostalgia of train travel.


Town of Healesville

The town of Healesville is a lovely destination to explore on foot. Image: Matt Harvey


Best free picnic areas

Head to the park

Maroondah Reservoir Park is the perfect picturesque spot for a relaxing picnic, especially as the leaves fall during autumn. Surrounded by lush gardens and offering stunning views of the reservoir, this park provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Pack a picnic basket, find a cosy spot, and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful and serene spot among Mother Nature.

Best free bike trails

Head on a spectacular bike ride

Whether solo or with a partner or group, a cycle through the magnificent natural scenery of the Yarra Ranges is a fun and healthy pastime for all ages.

Experienced riders can cycle along the 40km Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, or the 50km ride on the O’Shannessy Aqueduct Trail.

For more of a leisurely ride with the family, head to the track at Healesville’s Queens Park for a cycle past some native wildlife or check out the new trails coming from the Ride Yarra Ranges initiative.

If new to riding, make sure to go over the latest cycling rules to keep everyone safe.


Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden

The Karwarra Australian Native Botanic Garden features over 1400 different species of native plants. Image: Supplied


Best free walking trails

Explore the Yarra Ranges National Park

The Yarra Ranges National Park is an absolute haven for nature lovers who love exploring the great outdoors. With lush forests, cascading waterfalls and diverse wildlife, this park offers endless opportunities for exploration.

Take a leisurely hike along one of the many walking trails, have a picnic by the river, or simply relax and enjoy the tranquillity of the surroundings as you immerse yourself in the beauty of the towering Mountain Ash, lush tree ferns and mossy Myrtle Beech.

Admire the Karwarra Native Garden

A tranquil stroll through two hectares of wildflowers, gardens, a plant nursery and picnic area is the perfect place to explore Australian natives before having your own BBQ or pack lunch. Karwarra is part of the larger Kalorama Memorial Recreational Reserve, featuring a skate park, playground, tennis courts and toilet facilities. 

Best free places to play

Build a snowman on the mountain

If you’re heading to the Yarra Valley during the snow season, Mt Donna Buang is a popular place to indulge in fun snow play for free. As part of the Victorian Alps in Warburton, it is the closest snowfield to the City of Melbourne.

From an elevation of 1,245m, you can bring a toboggan, build a snowman, make snow angels, and take in the panoramic views of Melbourne and the Yarra Valley.

Cool down with some water play

If the sun is shining, head to Seville Water Play, a free play space with run-through sprinklers, jets, and shallow walk-through pools. Remember to stay sun smart during the hotter weather.

Next door you’ll find the Seville Regional Playspace, ideal for those who don’t want to get wet. There’s a farm-themed playground with an inbuilt rock-climbing wall, maze, and trampolines.