Best things to do in the Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley offers a variety of attractions, including world-class wines, craft beer, manicured gardens, national parks, hot air balloon rides, and skydiving.

Yarra Valley

Get active

The Yarra Valley, located just an hour's drive from Melbourne, is known for its top-notch wineries. In addition to wine tasting, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the area.

The Yarra Valley offers a unique and charming experience with its specialty shops, boutiques, art galleries, and wildlife sanctuaries. Visitors can also enjoy local delicacies such as chocolate, cheese, and tea. Here are some of the activities in the area that you can see at Yarra Valley Winery Tours.

Go hike

There are a variety of Yarra Valley trails suited for different preferences, whether you prefer a leisurely pace or a more challenging trek.

The Badger Weir Picnic Area and La La Falls walk offer a stroll through nature, with options for both a short loop and a longer moderate walk.

The Riverside Tracks is a 5.5-kilometre loop from Warburton that is suitable for families and allows leashed dogs. The trail takes you along the riverbank and over bridges.

The 14.8-kilometre Mount Donna Buang Track is a challenging hike that begins at the Yarra River and ascends 1100 metres through Mountain Ash and myrtle trees before reaching dense rainforest with giant tree ferns. Experienced hikers should bring ample food and water for the day.

Discover the gardens of Yarra Valley

The Yarra Valley gardens offer a pleasant outdoor experience, showcasing spectacular gardens due to the rich soils in the valley.

Alowyn Gardens in Yarra Glen features seven different gardens, including a formal parterre garden, an edible garden, a forest garden, and a wisteria archway for visitors to explore.

Warratina Lavender Farm in the Yarra Valley is known for its blooming lavender plants, particularly from late November to February. Visitors can enjoy the sight of more than ten thousand lavender plants in full bloom during this time. Additionally, Ploughman's Blue lavender can be seen in the gardens throughout the year, and visitors can also try lavender scones in the Lavender Tea House.

The Blue Lotus Water Garden in Australia is open from Boxing Day until the 18th of April, offering guests the chance to explore a tropical-themed water garden with attractions such as the Giant Amazon Waterlilies and Kakadu Lagoon Native Waterlily display among dozens of ponds and two lakes.

Visit the rail trail

The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail stretches from Melbourne's outer suburbs to the Yarra Valley, offering the option to walk or ride a portion of the trail.

The trail follows the historic broad-gauge railway line that closed in 1965, passing through bushland and villages. It is suitable for biking or walking due to its gentle gradient.

Cog Bikes Australia provides bike rental services for adults and children, with drop-off and collection options at multiple locations along the trail.

With the trail being 40 kilometres one way, spending a night or two in the valley is recommended if you plan on completing the entire hike. You can find some suggested accommodations in the Yarra Valley here.

The Yarra Junction to Warburton section of the Warby Trail, covering 8.5 kilometres, is sealed chiefly and passes through dense forest before reaching the trail's end.

Horseback ride

Chum Creek Horseriding and Huts in the Yarra Valley offers horse riding experiences for individuals of all skill levels, from beginners to confident riders. They provide horses suited for each rider's level and can have you riding through the bush shortly after getting into the saddle.

Options for horseback riding experiences include a 2.5-hour trail ride with wine tasting and a three-day, two-night adventure with traditional Australian campfire meals and accommodations at Chum Creek Huts.

There are one-hour experiences available for riders as young as six years old.

Yarra Valley Winery Tours

Experience a hot air balloon ride

Hot air ballooning may involve an early start, but it can be considered part of a more active vacation.

Hot air balloons fly over the Yarra Valley, offering a stunning view from up in the basket.

The mountain ranges surrounding the valley contribute to stable conditions at dawn. Gliding through the valley, you can observe vineyards, farmland, and forests below.

Skydiving is plane jumping

Skydiving is available in the Yarra Valley for individuals 16 years and older, with tandem skydives up to 15,000 feet. A parent or guardian must accompany minors under 18.

Experience the stunning views of Melbourne and the bay from a skydive, freefalling for approximately 60 seconds before slowly descending back to earth for about five minutes.

Try the Wurundjeri Walk

Healesville Sanctuary is known for showcasing Australian animals and offers a special section dedicated to educating visitors about the land's traditional custodians.

The Yarra Valley is the ancestral land of the Wurundjeri people from the Kulin Nation, and the self-guided Wurundjeri Walk was developed in collaboration with a Wurundjeri elder and spiritual custodian of the land, Murrundindi.

Visitors have the opportunity to experience the soundscapes of Wurundjeri elders past and present, learn stories, read explanatory plaques about the Wurundjeri perspectives on the plants, and relax in a peaceful setting. On Sundays and public and school holidays, visitors may also have the chance to meet Murrundindi and hear his stories first-hand.

Ride on the Puffing Billy steam train

Puffing Billy has been operating for over 120 years, travelling along the same track from Belgrave to Emerald and continuing to Pembroke. Initially used for transporting people, livestock, and food to hill communities, it now serves as a family-friendly attraction, with selected pet-friendly days available.

Experience a scenic journey through forests and bridges on a historic steam train, with options for open-side carriages or first-class dining aboard a Steam & Cuisine trip.

Visit Four Pillars Gin Distillery

Four Pillars, a renowned craft spirits distillery in Australia, has received numerous international awards for its gin. Visitors can reserve a spot at their Yarra Valley distillery for tastings and masterclasses to learn more about the botanicals used in their gins.

The alcohol-free Bandwagon range allows designated drivers to enjoy a cocktail of botanical flavours without concerns about monitoring their intake.

Drink craft beer

Discover the Yara Valley brewery scene by visiting some of the microbreweries. Take a brewery tour at Matilda Bay Brewery to learn about their sustainable beer-making practices and sample beer straight from the tanks. Enjoy a tasting paddle of beer and cider at Coldstream Brewery, where you can indulge in pub-style lunch options like parma and pizzas.

The Hop Hen Brewery, located in Lilydale, began as a hobby and is now a family-owned small brewery where all production is done on-site. Two young families founded Watts River Brewing in Healesville, which wanted to create a brewery and cellar door.

Cheese tasting event

In the Yarra Valley, visitors can enjoy a range of cheeses made with fresh cow milk from local farms and goat milk from the Mansfield region, inspired by farmhouse cheeses from France and Italy. Wine and cheese tastings are available at the Yarra Valley Dairy.

Customers can choose between a Premium Tasting package to sample all varieties of handmade cow and goat milk cheese or a cheese plate with local freshly baked bread and charcuterie.

Enjoy chocolate and ice cream

The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery produces over 400 chocolate products and allows visitors to watch the chocolatiers at work through large viewing windows, followed by a complimentary chocolate tasting.

Participants can learn to make chocolate in hands-on classes, while children ages six to twelve can enjoy the Junior Chocolatiers class.

Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as playing on lawns, gardens, orchards, and wetlands or relax with a meal at the all-day café.