I went to the Yarra Valley with my sister twice when I lived in Melbourne.
The Yarra Valley is about an hour’s drive north-east of Melbourne. The valley is unfortunately served by no means of public transport. It is therefore best to take part in an organized tour or rent a car for the day. It is even possible to visit the vineyards in a horse-drawn carriage or in a limousine with a chauffeur, if you have the means.
The Yarra Valley produces some of the best black pinots, sparkling wines and other fresh Australian climate grape varieties. It has over 80 wineries, from small family businesses to large estates. It is here that the first vineyard of the Victoria was planted in 1838. The region is also known for the quality of its gastronomy and renowned for its regional products, including freshwater salmon, trout, caviar, Its organic fruits and vegetables, its preserves and artisan cheeses …
The beauty of the Yarra Valley throughout the seasons has once inspired Australian landscape painters. Today it is home to the oldest artists’ village in Australia and is an opportunity to visit galleries and art studios.
A visit to the Yarra valley follows the discovery of its main villages: Yarra Glen, Healesville and Marysville. From the center of Melbourne, the highway runs straight east through a succession of residential, industrial and commercial suburbs. It was at Lilydale, the terminus of the train line, that the urban agglomeration finally gave way to the fields, now yellow, sometimes reverted, of the country.
We visited two estates, Domaine Chandon and Oakridge Wines.
A pioneer of sparkling wine in Australia, Chandon Australia combines subtle French traditional knowledge and Australian terroir. We have tasted several different champagnes as well as traditional French cheeses.
Bordered by the mountains of the Australian Cordillera, Domaine Oakridge Wines extends over 10 acres of vineyards and landscaped gardens. Familiar, the wine production is also very meticulous. The wines produced, which seduce by their delicacy and their restraint, accompany perfectly the delicate dishes. We had lunch with my sister and an Australian friend.
For a different view of the valley, you can climb from the sunrise on a hot-air balloon before landing in a vineyard to enjoy a breakfast with freshly picked products accompanied by sparkling wine. It was an incredible experience that we unfortunately did not have time to do.
Several national parks surround Yarra Valley such as: Yarra Ranges, Toolangi State Forest Kinglake and Dandenong Ranges, where you can discover many free-range animals, such as magnificent parrots and hundreds of kangaroos.
Destination of charm as well as proximity, the valley of Yarra is one of the favorite weekend getaways and must-see of all Melbournians!