The Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s premier wine and produce regions. In fact, it is Victoria’s oldest wine region, dating back to 1838. Located 25 km North East of Melbourne or about 33km by road, it will take about 40 minutes to reach the Valley’s doorstep if you are driving from the centre of Melbourne. But the Yarra Valley is more than just wineries. There is a brewery, a chocolate factory, quaint country towns offering products made from local produce and a wildlife sanctuary. Here is my Yarra Valley Wine Country 2 day driving itinerary to help you make the most of your time.
My Yarra Valley 2 Day Itinerary
How to get to the Yarra Valley
As this is a driving itinerary of the Yarra Valley the best way to get to the Yarra Valley is to drive. If you don’t have a vehicle already then you can rent one. To get details of types of cars and their cost to rent for 2 days click here.
Day 1 – Melbourne to Healesville
There are a number of roads that take you into the Yarra Valley however, from Melbourne on this occasion I suggest you follow the Maroondah Highway to Lillydale. Drive through Lilydale and when the road splits you veer left along the Melba Highway. Following the Melba Highway you will pass through small towns like Coldstream. Coldstream is on the agenda for Day 2 so keep on driving to Yering Station, the first stop on this Yarra Valley 2 day itinerary.
Vines at Yering Station
Following the Melba Highway you will reach Yering Station and Yering Chateau. These are two separate places but are right next to each other. Yering Station is a working winery. You are allowed to walk through the buildings and see, from a distance, where the wine is made and where it is stored. Yering Station also has a great restaurant with spectacular views over the Yarra Valley towards the Yarra Ranges. If you don’t want to have a sit down meal in the restaurant you could head over to the cellar door. Here you can taste some award winning wines and maybe purchase them.
Wine Vats at Yering Station
Right next door to Yering Station is the Yering Chateau. At the Yering Chateau you step back in time into a place that dates back to 1854. It is such a contrast compared to the modern building of Yering Station. The stunning heritage property sits proudly on 250 acres overlooking the Yarra Valley. Accommodation is available here in 32 suits each decorated in a unique style. Most suites have four poster beds, marble ensues with claw-baths and a private balcony. If you are looking for a romantic place to stay then this might just be it! There are plenty of food options also in Elenore’s Restaurant for fine dining and for lighter meals and coffee there is the Sweetwater Cafe. On weekends Yering Chateau hosts high teas. Visit their website www.chateauyering.com.au for details on the restaurants, high teas and to book accommodation. Next stop on this Yarra Valley 2 day itinerary is Yarra Glen.
Great views over the Yarra Valley from Yarra Glen
Yarra Glen is a picturesque town in the heart of the Yarra Valley. It is a major hub in the Yarra Valley and has many different stores along it’s main road to discover. You will find antique stores, modern clothes stores, a pub with great bands playing usually on a Sunday. There is a hardware store, plus your general services like a post office, supermarket and a petrol station. But one of my favourite stores in Yarra Glen is the Yarra Flats Bakery. Their pies and sausage rolls are some of the best I’ve ever eaten and their toasted focaccias are yummy also. There are a number of sweet cakes and pastries to follow which are great washed down with a coffee. And the view from the outdoor area is spectacular (see above). You could sit there for hours just staring over the valley.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
Check out the 1 metre long chocolate blocks at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery
The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery is only a short drive away from Yarra Glen. Continue on the road through Yarra Glen and go straight across the big round-about and onto Old Healesville Road. About 30 seconds up the road is the chocolaterie at 35 Old Healesville Road. Once inside watch the chocolate makers make the chocolates. Or walk around the massive store and be amazed at the different chocolates available. Some of my favourites include the Rocky Road, the chocolate topping and the 1 metre long chocolate blocks. There is a large coffee shop to enjoy a coffee or better still, a chocolate muffin with a hot chocolate – you can never have enough chocolate I say – while having great views over the Yarra Valley.
Rocky Road – I’m in heaven! – stacked in the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
On leaving the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie turn left on to the Old Healesville Road and follow the road for about half an hour to Healesville. You will pass through pristine Yarra Valley countryside and don’t feel that you can’t go off when you see a sign pointing to a winery – as there are plenty to deviate to along this road to Healesville if you want to.
Lovely tree-lined Main Street through Healesville
Healesville is a lovely country town in the Yarra Valley with a long tree-lined Main Street. You will have plenty to do as you walk along the Main Street. Explore boutique shops and enjoy some retail therapy, visit art studios and indulge in local fare in one of a number of cafés and restaurants. There is also an abundance of accommodation in Healesville, lucky, cause there is where I suggest you stay tonight! Here are some suggested places to stay.
For budget accommodation try the Big 4 Caravan Park, Healesville Motor Inn, Enclave at the Healesville Holiday Park and the Sanctuary House Resort Motel. Also check out the Healesville Maroondah Views Motel, Yarra Gables. For cottages and self-catering accommodation check out Outlook Hill Vineyard Cottage and Suites, Rubys Retreat and Healesville Apartments.
Day 2 – Healesville back to Melbourne
By the way if your accommodation didn’t include breakfast you can always visit the famous Beechworth Bakery in Healesville for a baked delight and a great coffee to start your day. After breakfast take the short drive to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary.
Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary
Entrance to the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary
Healesville Sanctuary is one of Australia’s premier native wildlife sanctuaries and one of Victoria’s premier attractions. It is located outside of Healesville on Badger Creek Road. Here you can get up close and personal with many native animals including kangaroos, platypus and many bird species. If you fancy a cuddle with a koala, you may get one here! Go on the Australian Wildlife Experience tour where one of the local rangers shares stories about the native wildlife as he/she shows you through the many areas of the sanctuary. The sanctuary is open daily 9am-5pm and you can purchase an entrance ticket on arrival or you can jump the queue by purchasing one in advance.
There is no limit to your stay at the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. When you do finally leave, head back into Healesville and then follow the C726 or the Healesville-Yarra Glen Road. There are a number of wineries you could visit along this road or you could pop into the TarraWarra Museum of Art. This is a privately funded arts museum that hosted the 2011 and 2012 Archibald Prize. You can explore the displays of Australian art pieces mostly from the second half of the twentieth century to present day. Or continue and head to Coldstream for a visit to the Coldstream Brewery.
The naked, shivering man stands atop Coldstream Brewery
The Yarra Valley is known for its wine however, your last stop in ‘wine country’ is at a brewery. Coldstream Brewery is the brainchild of two school friends who had the desire to produce their own beer. Established in 2007 the ‘shivering man’ takes pride of place on the roof of the brewery and represents how they ‘took a plunge and bared it all to do something they love’. There are four beers that are currently produced and an apple and pear cider. You are welcome to pop in and do a beer tasting and maybe stay in the restaurant for a nice meal that you could wash down with a cold one!
Coldstream Brewery is the last stop on this 2 day Yarra Valley wine country driving itinerary. It is now time to head back to Melbourne or wherever you came from. I hope you enjoyed the Yarra Valley, known as one of Australia’s premier wine regions but as you saw, it is so much more.