After reading through a few of the visitor guides of Victoria I had picked up at the information centre, it was time to head out and explore some of our great state. Why not make the first stop the Yarra Valley. I’d been to the Yarra Valley once before for a friend wedding while I was living in Adelaide. But while that was a great weekend away, it was a quick trip and we didn’t have a chance to explore.
So after brunch in Melbourne with friends we started the short drive (I was surprised how close it actually is to Melbourne!) into the valley with Marysville in mind as our first stop. Apparently Victoria’s highest waterfall is just outside Marysville, so why not check that out before we get into the trying out the great produce from the area.
The Black Spur drive between Healsville and Marysville was a highlight. The massive trees tower over you on both sides of the road as you wind your way through the hills. It was clearly evident that this was bushfire country, with many of the trees still blackened from the Black Saturday fires which devastated the area. Years after it does add to the beauty of the area, with the contrast of the black against the magnificent green of the new regrowth.
Black Spur drive
Driving into the tiny town of Marysville it was evident the town had been devastated in the Black Saturday fires of 2009, not just the still blackened trees, but in the fact the everything here was new, I don’t know what the tiny town was like before Black Saturday so I can’t make any comparisons, but considering it was winter the town seemed to be getting back on its feet. The other thing that surprised my was that Marysville had a very alpine feel, not just because we were in the hills, but more so in the architecture and apparently they get snow here. Maybe it’s just my naivety of my own backyard, but I never realised they got snow this close to Melbourne. While we didn’t see any snow while we were there it was apparently snowing just down the road at Lake Mountain.
After a quick look through town we headed out the road to check out Steavenson Falls (Victoria’s highest waterfall). A lovely little place we walked to the top of the falls and were rewarded with some beautiful views as the clouds rolled in over the hills.
The view from the top of Steavenson Falls
A quick pit stop at the Black Spur pub for a cider!
Back in Healsville we began the task of finding somewhere to stay for the night. We had left Melbourne that morning with the plan that we weren’t really sure where we wanted to stay and we’d just see what happened, so the tent was in the boot (just in case!), or we could always pop back down to Melbourne if we got stuck. We were lucky enough to find one room left available at the Yarra Gables Motel, a cute little place on the edge of town. After getting all the local tips from the reception of where to head for tea and then for drinks afterwards we were ready to hit the town and see what it had to offer. And it was a good night out! If you’re ever in Healsville make sure you check out Grind N Groove, yes we were a little sceptical when we were told that’s where we wanted to go out for the night, but its a cool little bar and we were treated to a fun night out of live music and good banter.
Day 2 saw us with a goal to find at least one of each of the following:
To say we were successful in achieving our goals would be a massive understatement and a LOT of self control was required (especially since we were driving back to Melbourne that afternoon to head to the footy!)
Our first stop of the morning was the local Healsville market and it was a typical local market. They had everything from old pieces of junk (or what I considered junk!), homemade jams and plenty of knitted things and we made our first purchase of the day, fudge! A lovely little girl who made fudge with her mum during the school holidays and sold it at the local markets.
Then it was off to the local bakery for breakfast and to wait for the White Rabbit brewery to open so we could begin our day tasting the produce the Yarra Valley has on offer.
White Rabbit Brewery, Healsville - Learning about the process of brewing
We tasted and purchases a few goods at the White Rabbit Brewery and headed out of Healsville and across to Yarra Glen in search of wine. Not a hard task, but we wanted to find somewhere small and local. We stumbled across a lovely little winery just our of Yarra Glen, Yileena Wines. It was exactly what we were looking for, a small boutique winery. The owner of the winery was absolutely lovely and you could tell he loved what he did. He took us through nearly a dozen different wines, as well as some of their smoked products. We probably could have stayed here all afternoon if we hadn’t been driving, so we made a few more purchases and headed off to our next stop.
Yileena Wines - They also had donkeys to keep the kids entertained
Next stop was the Yarra Valley Chocolatier & ice creamery. This was a massive new place & it was packed! Mainly with families and kids. We got ourselves some delicious ice-cream and got out of there. It was way too busy for us! One thing I really likes about this place though, was that they had a heap of cricket bats, footballs, tennis balls etc. for kids to place with on the massive grass area. Definitely a great place to stop with kids. Therefore we moved on quickly! Ha
And onto somewhere more our taste. Yarra Valley Dairy. This cute little farm stop offered up some delicious cheese options and again it was a matter of self control to only purchase one of the cheeses we tried.
Our mission completed we thought we’d begin the journey back to the big smoke, but along the way we passed the Punt Road Winery and thought it would be rude not to stop in and try the Napoleone Cider which we had tried at the pub the day before and enjoyed.
We arrived back in Melbourne feeling pretty please with our weekend away. We’d seen some beautiful countryside, meet some lovely people and brought some good food and wine home for later. Definitely recommend heading up for a weekend away!
Yep, it was a pretty successful weekend!