Yarra Valley, Australia

Under an hour from Melbourne, nestled amongst the infinite shades of blues and greens, lie 55 of the world's leading wineries, and dozens of fine restaurants and romantic retreats. All easy to get to, but impossible to leave. Immerse yourself in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges region, an hour's drive east of Melbourne, where tall trees and ancient mountain ranges meet vineyards and world class wineries. The Yarra Valley is recognised as one of the world's great wine growing regions. Numerous wineries offer cellar door tastings and sales. They also have restaurants serving gourmet food and fine local produce accompanied by their wine. The Yarra Valley has some of the most beautiful countryside in Victoria. Rolling hills strung with vines around Healesville and Yarra Glen meet towering trees, green valleys and pristine rivers around Marysville and Warburton. For a different view of the countryside, take to the skies in a hot-air balloon before gently descending into a vineyard to enjoy a breakfast of local produce and sparkling wine. You can also get close to Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary, home to dingoes, kangaroos, wombats and the elusive platypus.

Parks, gardens, native fern forests and nature trails define the Dandenong Ranges. Climb aboard Australia's oldest steam train, Puffing Billy, and travel through thick forests and lush fern gullies. Dotted throughout the Dandenong Ranges are quaint villages such as Olinda Sassafras and Belgrave , home to some of Victoria's best gardens, and famous for craft shops and Devonshire teas. The Yarra Ranges & surrounding valley is renowned for its beauty, wineries, national parks, forests & mountains. The valley is easily accessible from Melbourne - around an hours drive to most attractions. Don't miss this special place whether you are a local or a visitor - the Yarra Valley will have something for you... The area is dotted with fruit orchards, market gardens, vineyards and flower farms. Beside it, rising to a height of approx 550 metres are the lush Dandenong Ranges with their famous forest walks, fern glades and tall mountain ash trees. A short distance to the east can be found the Upper Yarra Valley extending to Warburton and beyond where the mountain streams tumble their way over rocks and cascades to the start of the famous Yarra River which gives the Yarra Valley its name.

Scenic Highlights:

Steavenson Falls: One of Victoria’s highest waterfalls, Steavenson Falls descend 84 metres to the bush and fern-fringed Steavenson River below. Named after John Steavenson, who first visited the site of what is now Marysville in 1862, the falls opened to tourists in 1866. Today they are a popular attraction both by day and night, when they are illuminated by floodlights powered by hydro-electricity created by the thundering water. There are several pleasant walks of varied lengths and levels of difficulty around the Steavenson Falls Reserve. The steep walk to the top of the falls and back takes approximately 40 minutes.

Dandenong Ranges: The Dandenongs with their lush mountain scenery, their craft shops and restaurants will be a place you will not wish to miss. No visit to the Dandenongs will be complete without a trip on Puffing Billy as it wends its way through forest glades, tall treeferns and puffs its way to Emerald and back to Belgrave.

Yarra Valley Wineries: Visit the wineries home of some of Australia's greatest wines. Here, winemakers will welcome you to taste their award-winning wines. You will find everything in the Yarra Valley from world-class Methode Champenoise sparking wines to classic Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and more. You need not spend a great deal to buy a great wine. Meet the winemakers, enjoy their wines.

Activities:

- Visit the renowned wineries in the Yarra Valley Region
- Take a guided tour of the wineries, whole day, half day or just an hour or two, you decide
- Experience the grand scenery in the Dandenong Ranges
- Enjoy a ride on Puffing Billy, the steam train that runs a scenic journey through the dandenongs
- View the Valley from the air in a Hot Air Balloon
- Come face to face with a koala and other wildlife at the Healsville sanctuary
- In the winter spend a day skiing at Lake Mountain
- Spend the day driving the Black Spur Drive, this scenic drive winds its way up the Great Dividing Range
- Take in the breathtaking view from SkyHigh, visit the uppermost reach of the Dandenong Ranges
- Or just relax and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere that is the Yarra Valley