Plan your big day out from Melbourne… The Yarra Valley

January 12, 2012

Food & Drink

Thinking about your big trip to Australia? Make sure every day counts. Whether you’re dreaming of sipping fine wines in the Yarra Valley, cuddling a koala, or exploring the ancient bushland, here’s the lowdown on the best big days out in the Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs from Melbourne.

Our top tip: The Yarra Valley is only an hour’s drive from Melbourne, so rent a car or book yourself onto a tour for the perfect day out.

Wine Lovers

Know your pinot noir from your nebbiolo? The wine buffs’ winery tour is the perfect trip for oenophiles who want to experience some of the best boutique wineries in the Yarra Valley.  You’ll join the wonderfully knowledgeable Geoff Cooper, who will transport you in his luxury sedan for private tastings of reserve wines at DeBortoli’s and Chandon and personal access to the winemakers.

Wine tasting from Melbourne in the Yarra Valley

A hard earned lunch...

If the thought of cycling between wineries makes you want to pedal woozily into the nearest bush, why not try the segway tour at Rochford winery. A natty little contraption, you stand on your futuristic scooter, lean forwards and away you go…  (Well, we’re sure it’s that easy anyway). You’ll receive training before you explore the vineyard and go for tastings.

Or, why not learn how to make your own wine? Join Melbourne Private Tours and you’ll go ‘behind the cellar door’ to meet the winemaker and learn the secrets of wine-making, from vine to glass. You’ll take on the role of cellar master and test your tipple under the watchful eye of the winemaker. At the end of the tour, you’ll present your wine for judging and taste the other blends before celebrating your very – ahem – hard work with a long lunch in the barrel room.

Make mine a beer

If all that talk of wine makes you want to dive into the nearest bar and order a schooner – never fear. The Yarra Valley is also home to some of the best breweries in Australia and only a short drive from Melbourne. Join Aussies brewery tours and you’ll visit three cool, refreshing breweries, including the award-winning White Rabbit brewery, be given your very own tasting paddle (as good as it sounds) and learn how to make a glass of the fine brew (no bath tubs necessary). Not before tucking into a gourmet lunch, of course. These tours are thirsty work….

Wild about animals?

Want to get up close to a koala? Head along the fittingly named Badger Creek Road and you’ll reach Healesville Sanctuary, home to all the curious creatures you want to see when you travel Australia, from koalas, kangaroos and wombats to emus, dingoes and the platypus. And a great place to experience Australia’s indigenous bushland (don’t forget to book the sanctuary’s ‘Adventure into Coranderrk’ tour for a glimpse of this ancient land in advance). Make sure you don’t miss ‘Spirits of the Sky’ – a free presentation, which will introduce you to Australian raptors like the wedge-tailed eagle, and colourful parrot species – and say hello to the reptiles at ‘Fearsome to Awesome’ which opened in January 2012.

A koala near Melbourne, Victoria

A koala at Healesville Sanctuary, Victoria

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