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Weekend getaways: Yarra Valley

Make a run for the hills where cool-climate wine, produce and activities await

Visions of Victoria

See and do

It’s hard to believe the Yarra Valley is so close to Melbourne. One minute you’re in the CBD, the next suburbia and then all of a sudden, rolling hills covered in vines and paddocks with cows aplenty. And wine and produce is what this region’s all about. The region’s world-renowned producers of cool-climate wines have helped put the Yarra Valley on the map for connoisseurs and everyday lovers of a good drop.

One way to see the wineries is from above and Global Ballooning offer a number of flights, including at sunrise, the top time to see the Yarra in all of its glory.

For a sugar hit after the flight, stop by Kennedy & Wilson for a chocolate tasting and take home a deck of Thins. Head to theTarraWarra Museum of Art, the region’s top gallery featuring Australian art from the second half of the 20th century.

In the picturesque Healesville Village you’ll discover shopping, cafés and food producers – pack a cooler bag to take some of the local delights home from Kitchen & Butcher.

Eat and drink

Book a table at Bella Vedere in Coldstream, where the focus is on organic and regional produce. Owner and executive chef Gary Cooper likes to keep things local, so most produce is sourced from the Yarra Valley. Menu highlights include quail and Swiss brown pie, lamb sweetbreads fried in molasses butter, and pickled sweet ham on the bone with black pudding. 

Notable winery De Bortoli isn’t just a place to swirl some cool-climate wines, it’s one that offers a well-priced, locally inspired menu highlighted by its antipasto tasting board, pastas (order the gnocchi ragu) and desserts (go the semifreddo). Wash it down with their Yarra Valley Reserve Release Chardonnay.

Beer and cider production have a long history in the region and fans will relish what the Yarra Valley has to offer. You can download a Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail map that takes in seven of the region’s top producers. Don’t skip the Coldstream and White Rabbit breweries.

Stay

From resorts to guesthouses and B&Bs, there’s a myriad of options when it comes to bedding down. Book in at the Yering Gorge Cottages, self-contained villa-style rooms that come complete with a spa and are hidden in the heart of a private nature reserve on the banks of the Yarra River. Other boutique places to stay include Harvest House, Furmston House and the Healesville Hotel.