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Things to Do in Yarra Valley

With its patchwork of green hills and manicured vineyards peppered with picturesque country villages and world-renowned wineries, Yarra Valley is a tranquil retreat from nearby Melbourne. Aside from being one of Australia's prime wine-growing regions, Yarra Valley also boasts a famous gourmet trail with an excellent selection of restaurants.

The Basics
This scenic slice of rural Victoria is the perfect place to sample wine at boutique wineries and enjoy long lunches at vineyard restaurants. Admire the views on a sunrise hot-air balloon ride, cruise down country lanes in a classic convertible, or treat yourself to a night at a luxurious vineyard resort and spa. Alternatively, combine wine tasting in the Yarra Valley with a ride on the famous Puffing Billy steam train, a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary, or a drive through the Dandenong Ranges.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The legal drinking age of 18 applies to all wine tasting in Yarra Valley.
  • Most Yarra Valley wineries do not have a dress code, but smart-casual dress is required at the region’s high-end restaurants.
  • Cellular service can vary throughout Yarra Valley, but free Wi-Fi is available at visitor information centers.
  • Sunscreen, plenty of water, and comfortable shoes are musts if you plan on walking through the vineyards.
  • Many Yarra Valley wineries are wheelchair accessible, although vineyard tours may not be, so it’s best to check in advance.

How to Get There
Yarra Valley is roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) east of Melbourne, an easy drive along the Maroondah Highway. Trains from Melbourne run as far as Lilydale, and from there. buses run to the Yarra Valley. However, it’s easiest to hire a car or join a guided winery tour.
 
When to Get There
Autumn (March through May) and late spring (November) are the best times to visit Yarra Valley, when the warm weather is ideal for walking, cycling, and wine tasting amid the vineyards. You can visit year-round, although in the summer (December through February), temperatures can reach up to 86˚F (30˚C) and the wineries can be crowded, so booking tastings in advance is recommended. Winter (June through August) offers cheaper prices for accommodations and activities. 

The Yarra Valley for Foodies
After sampling pinot noir, chardonnay, and sparkling wines at vineyards like Domaine Chandon, De Bortoli, and Yering Station, take a moment to enjoy the region’s culinary delights. Taste cheese at the Yarra Valley Dairy, enjoy a gourmet lunch at the Rochford Winery, or tuck into homemade chocolates and ice cream at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.
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Dominique Portet Winery
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16 Tours and Activities

Tucked into the serene and picturesque Yarra Valley of Victoria, the Dominique Portet Winery is renowned for its deep roots in French soil — Bordeaux to be exact. The art of winemaking has been passed down through the Portet lineage from 18th­ century France; a father and son duo (ninth and 10th generation) run this winery with experience that spans around the world. The modest space boasts an array of wines in a comfortable, Mediterranean-­style setting. Get lost among the sprawling vines, or relax with a glass surrounded by oak barrels at Dominique Portet. Enjoy tastings from the cellar door, learn more about the Portet history and culture with a vintage tour, or stay for a leisurely lunch overlooking the valley.

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Rochford Wines
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11 Tours and Activities

Lush greenery and rolling hills dotted with twisting vines create a picturesque backdrop for sipping some of Yarra Valley’s finest wines. Rochford Wines, located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne, offers first­-class vino, a top­-notch culinary experience and panoramic views of the iconic Great Dividing Ranges. Meander through the winery’s sprawling vistas to visit the on-­site art gallery and retail shop. Try a tasting from Rochford’s cellar door or dine at the winery’s award­-winning restaurant Isabella’s at Rochford. An oasis of natural beauty located in the heart of Victoria’s wine country, Rochford is known for hosting a range of events, concerts and functions. The winery boasts activities to suit all tastes— from hot air ballooning and segway tours to wine and cheese pairings.

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Fergusson Winery
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The warm and rustic family‐run Fergusson Winery is a standout in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Set among 20 acres of rolling hills and lush greenery, the winery features classic French grape varieties and a restaurant with a Paris-trained master chef. Enjoy a crisp chardonnay while indulging in the renowned spit roast at the Fergusson Restaurant, then spend the afternoon simply drinking in the view while listening to live music. Fergusson Winery also offers cooking classes so visitors can get their culinary skills up to snuff, plus wine appreciation courses. Can’t get enough? Stay overnight at the Fergusson Homestead Bed and Breakfast.

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Things to do near Yarra Valley