What to see, do and eat in the Yarra Valley

Tarra Warra estate, Yarra Valley

Alice Piper

Posted January 10, 2022


Whether you’re a fan of world-class wineries and distilleries, or love being immersed in nature and artistry - the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges has something for everyone.

When you’re looking for a trip out of the city, it’s hard to look past the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, especially when it’s a just one hour from Melbourne.

And when the area is packed with endless dining, entertainment and activity options, from premium wineries to intimate cafes, as well as distilleries, gourmet food producers, nature walks and wildlife parks, it isn’t difficult to find something exciting and memorable to do.

The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges is also a region where creativity and nature go hand in hand. With a vibrant arts scene, curated galleries, manicured gardens, and national parks, the region offers more than meets the eye.

So, whether you’re staying a week, or visiting for a day, you’ll feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city with these things to eat, see and do in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. 


See

Art galleries

A region rich in historic art, the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges continues to give birth to new and exciting artists.

Acclaimed artists such as Albert Tucker and Brett Whiteley are on display at TarraWarra Museum of Art, or you can immerse yourself in the works of wood carvers, jewellery makers and sculptors by popping into various working galleries dotted around the region.

You can also explore the Art Lives Here Trail, where you can discover a vibrant community of creators tucked up in the back roads of the region.

Sunsets and stargazing

One of life’s great pleasures is taking the time to sit and watch the sun go down, and when the views of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Rangers are so spectacular, it’s an absolute must when visiting the region.

Head up to the SkyHigh Mount Dandenong & Scenic lookout at dusk and enjoy the incredible sight as the sky puts on a show of pinks and oranges.

Antique and vintage shops

Antique and vintage shops are dotted all over the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, with places like Belgrave, Sassafras and Olinda great for unique and quirky antique items such as pottery, glassware and linens.

Walk in Wardrobe Vintage in Belgrave and Red Run Gallery in Olinda are just two of the must-visit vintage emporiums.

 

Olinda

Search through the antique and vintage stores in Olinda for unique and quirky pieces.


Do

Puffing Billy railway

Jump onboard Puffing Billy and travel along the Dandenong Ranges in heritage-style open carriages.

The scenic journey will take you through the rainforest, fern gullies and Mountain Ash trees along a 24km track from Belgrave to Gembrook, and back again, as you feel the wind in your hair and listen to commentary about the local region.

The whole family will love the ‘step back in time’ feeling and Puffing Billy is an experience that even your little ones will cherish in the years to come. Be sure to book this experience in advance.

Winery tour and chocolate tasting

Nobody has to miss out on the delight of tasting world-class wines with private vehicles available that enable you to enjoy the fruits of the Yarra Valley to the fullest.

Sit back and relax as your driver takes you to four chosen wineries in the region for tastings, as well as lunch and chocolate tasting.

 

Puffing Billy

Jump on board Puffing Billy and explore the Dandenong Ranges.


Eat and Drink

Four Pillars Distillery

Home to some of the world’s best gin, Four Pillars distillery is a must-visit attraction for gin aficionados that’s open seven days a week.

Try a tasting of different gins, including Four Pillars’ famous Shiraz gin made from local grapes, or opt for cocktails made by the barman as you take in the surrounds of the Yarra Valley.

Alternatively, you can sit back with a cheese platter and other nibbles across the afternoon or take a Gin masterclass – just remember that bookings are essential.

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery

More than just heaven for chocoholics, the whole family will love the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, set amongst an orchard with wetlands, animals and vistas as far as the eye can see.

Opt for a free chocolate tasting of locally made goodies or spend some time watching professional chocolatiers at work through the large viewing window, as they craft more than 300 varieties of chocolate.

There’s even a hands-on workshop if you’re feeling crafty, or a decadent café with all-day breakfast and lunch if you can’t resist trying some seriously good sweet treats.

 

Rochford winery

Rochford Wines is the perfect lunch spot, no matter what the weather.


Rochford Wines Yarra Valley  

Right in the heart of the Yarra Valley, Rochford Wines offers locals and out-of-towners a spectacular cellar door, as well as a restaurant that specialises in classic Italian woodfire pizzas.

Alfresco diners will enjoy the intimate courtyard in the warmer weather, while you can cosy up by the fire during the winter months, as you sip on unique wines that mature in French and American oak barrels.

If you’re there on a Friday, enjoy live and local music on the open stage, while Saturday nights are a more intimate affair with live performances in the concert lounge. 

 

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