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Looking for the perfect Yarra Valley itinerary for a weekend trip from Melbourne? This 2-day guide is perfect for families and those short on time! With plenty of wineries, restaurants and outdoor activities to enjoy, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
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A Yarra Valley 2-Day Getaway
After an almost 3-year delay, we finally re-booked our Great Ocean Road trip through Victoria and had some extra days to spare, so we decided to spend 2 nights in Yarra Valley.
It’s considered one of Australia‘s best winery regions, as well as an essential Aussie destination for outdoor activities and foodie experiences.
We both do enjoy wineries, especially after having such a fun experience visiting many of the WA wineries in Margaret River (a trip we booked to replace our 2nd cancelled Victoria trip).
So the thought of having the chance to explore somewhere else new in Victoria was exciting!
Our Yarra Valley Bucket List
We didn’t map out an itinerary for Yarra Valley before we left home. Instead, we short-listed a few experiences and Yarra Valley attractions we needed to include and let the magic happen from there.
Our Yarra Valley must-do list included:
- Badger Creek Blueberry Winery for me – I love sweet wine and cider and their blueberry Moscato sounded divine!
- Coldstream Brewery for Simon – A craft beer fanatic is the best way to describe him
- Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery – Both kids had this high on their list and I can’t say I blame them!
- The Big Bouquet – Anything with animals has our youngest excited, so feeding alpacas sounded pretty awesome!
Planning A Trip To Yarra Valley
Alright, before we get into the itinerary for Yarra Valley, let’s plan your trip!
Where Is The Yarra Valley?
The Yarra Valley is located in the stunning countryside of Victoria, in the Yarra Ranges, roughly an hour east of Melbourne.
How To Get From Melbourne To Yarra Valley
The easiest way to get to the Yarra Valley region is via car. You can hire a car if you aren’t a local. This is by far the best way to stop and explore all the great stops along the way.
Otherwise, if you don’t have your own transport, you can get to Yarra Valley via public transport on a bus or train from Melbourne. You can catch the train to Lilydale Station and then catch a bus to Healesville, Yarra Glen or Warburton.
How Long Do You Need In Yarra Valley?
We’d recommend at least two days to make the most out of your Yarra Valley experience. With so many things to do, you’ll need more than a day, especially if you plan on fitting in some outdoor activities or visiting a few wineries.
Where To Stay In The Yarra Valley?
From luxury spa retreats and boutique hotels to charming cottages and Airbnbs, the Yarra Valley has something to suit everyone.
We spent 2 nights at Yarra Valley Lodge which is a fantastic resort-style lodge situated alongside a golf course. It’s a little further away from Healesville but closer to Melbourne, making it a great option if you do have your own car.
Our 2-Day Yarra Valley Weekend Itinerary
It’s very easy to put together a Yarra Valley itinerary, with so many great places to visit and the many famous Yarra Valley wineries within a short distance of one another. Being so close to Melbourne makes it the ideal weekend getaway destination too!
Or even just come for a Yarra Valley day trip by incorporating the best of both days into one day.
Day 1 – Wineries, Breweries, Bakeries & Alpacas
We kicked off our trip with an early start from Melbourne, with our first stop at Lilydale Lakes & Playground.
Lilydale Lakes & Playground
If you are visiting the Yarra Valley with kids, stopping for a play is a good way to get some of their energy out before the winery visits. Afterwards works too, but this was the most convenient time for us to visit.
The Lakes area is great for a day out from Melbourne on its own, with sprawling parklands, wetlands, a lake that you can fish in or kayak, a splash play area for the kids (perfect for our 32-degree summer day visit), and of course, playgrounds!
The recreation area gets quite busy so you might want to go early to beat the crowds. A nice option for longer stays too if you want to take a picnic and enjoy the area.
Badger Creek Blueberry Winery
Our first winery stop for the trip and the one I was most excited about! I love sweeter wines and while my tastes have grown to appreciate a wider variety of wines, I do still enjoy Moscato and was very eager to try their blueberry Moscato.
They also have a blueberry wine and a variety of apple and pear ciders so a tasting paddle was a must!
The two favourites were the blueberry moscato and the pear and apple cider, but all 4 on the tasting paddle were great. The blueberry wine is not overly sweet but it would still make a great dessert wine, packed with local flavours.
It’s a beautiful spot to enjoy lunch too. They have a reasonably sized menu and the kids enjoyed their baby chinos.
Time for lunch! We stopped at Beechworth Bakery and had to try their famous pastries. They have a huge range of delicious sweet and savoury options – pies, sandwiches, cakes, slices and everything else a great bakery should have.
The bakery is mega popular but service is quick. I had the Ned Kelly pie with a full egg baked inside and cheese and bacon on top. The kids enjoyed banana bread while Simon had a carved meat and relish sandwich.
For an alternate lunch stop, right next door you will find the Innocent Bystander restaurant and Matilda Bay Brewery.
The Big Bouquet Flower Farm & Alpaca Stud
We then headed to The Big Bouquet because they have alpacas and we love a chance to hang out with cute farm animals!
Here you can buy a bag of food and feed the alpacas and of course, get yourself a bunch of beautiful gerberas. This is another good place to stop with kids, as there is also a playground area and gardens to explore.
However, it is quite run down so not as nice as it could be. It needs a good clean up and the gardens need a lot of work, but the kids had fun feeding the alpacas and sheep through the fence and a quick play.
The bags of feed are $7.50 each. Just one to share is more than enough as they don’t all come over to eat so you can definitely share a bag between a family.
Badgers Brook Winery
The next stop on our first day of exploring the Yarra Valley was an unplanned one to Badgers Brook Winery. We spotted it along the road earlier in the day – mostly the upside-down house, and thought we better go back for a look.
We didn’t do a tasting here but did spend around an hour visiting because the winery is a kid haven. They have a heap of vintage playground equipment (to play at your own risk) including a mammoth row of old swings hanging from what might be an old irrigation frame.
It could possibly be the world’s longest swingset!
There is a trampoline park, a playground surrounded by an enormous ball pit, another large playground and more scattered play equipment. The kids didn’t want to leave.
There is a fine dining restaurant here that looked like it would be great for a special occasion. They also have a quick bites menu with $12 meals that would be perfect alongside a glass of wine in the marquee area.
Definitely the most kid-friendly Yarra Valley winery! This is the perfect spot to stop if your kids are getting restless with all the Yarra Valley wineries and tasting room visits.
Our 2nd last stop for the day was Coldstream Brewery. Again, we didn’t stop for a tasting or a meal but we did pop in for a look around and some takeaway beers and ciders.
They do have a tasting paddle (which would be great for Simon had he not been the driver) and we’ve heard good things about the food so it might make a great dinner stop to round out your first day in the Yarra Valley, enjoying cold craft beer.
Yarra Farm Fresh
We made a spontaneous stop here on our way to check into our accommodation since it was on the way.
Here you can get all kinds of fresh produce at fantastic prices plus cheese, condiments, baked goods and specialty food. There is also a cafe area with outdoor undercover seating.
We grabbed grapes, strawberries, blueberries and some chocolate-covered coffee beans (the last one was all Simon).
Day 2 – Wine Tastings, Chocolate & Cheese
Our second day kicked off with a buffet breakfast as the Yarra Valley Lodge, before heading out to explore more.
Yering Station Winery
First up was Yering Station Winery. This is one of the oldest and most respected wineries in the Yarra Valley, with a range of award-winning wines to sample.
In fact, it’s the oldest winery in Victoria! That made it an essential stop!
I decided to do the ‘Yarrabank & Estate’ tasting in the tasting bar, which included seven samples from their premium wines for $15 per person.
It included some sweeter options to suit my sweeter tooth, but also a Chardonnay (which was surprisingly one of my favourites) and some lighter reds.
While the wines weren’t my preferred styles, with my sweet tooth, this was by far the best wine tasting of the trip, with the most knowledgeable staff and fantastic tasting room. It’s a great stop for a large group too, with plenty of room.
The cellar door also had a restaurant where you are able to have lunch or dinner with a view of the valley. We weren’t yet hungry so we didn’t dine here but we did enjoy exploring the grounds and the kids had a quick play on the playground.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery
Next up we made an early visit to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery and it was already packed, even on a Monday morning. It’s located in picturesque Yarra Glen, so you can enjoy some fresh air while tucking into a delicious morning tea or lunch in their cafe.
Or if you’re not keen on a full meal, you can sample some of the handmade chocolates and ice cream they have on offer. This is a great way to indulge the sweet tooth.
Their chocolate tastings are no longer self-serve for health and safety reasons, so an attendant will provide you with a generous handful of their 3 most popular Pastilles in milk, dark and white chocolate. Free tastings are always the best part of visiting a chocolate factory!
As for the ice cream, you can get a single scoop with 2 flavours, which is great! Or go bigger. The salted caramel was my fave!
They do hold regular chocolate-making classes as well if you want a more immersive experience.
Yarra Valley Dairy
Our final stop for day 2 in Yarra Valley was to the Yarra Valley Dairy. Here you can enjoy a cheese platter and other menu items in their restaurant or come for some takeaway cheese as we did.
They have takeaway cheese platters with a variety of sheep and goat cheeses plus crackers, napkins and cutlery that are perfect to enjoy a picnic somewhere in the beautiful region.
Perfectly paired with some local wine, beer or cider from the region!
We finished our second day with another relaxing evening walk around the Heritage Golf Course surrounding the lodge and part of the Yarra Valley trail that runs along the back of the golf course.
Ideas For Longer Stays
If you have more than 2 days in Yarra Valley, there are plenty of things to see and do (and eat and drink) to fill your time! A full day of wine tastings, a scenic drive to the natural landmarks and plenty for the foodies too!
Here are a few ideas if you have extra time to spend in the Yarra region:
- Take a Yarra Valley winery tour and not have to worry about driving yourself to the best wineries in the region. Learn about the local flavours, the wine-making process and sit back and let your tour guide do the hard work!
- Healesville Sanctuary, where you can get up close and personal with some of Australia’s native animals and a few non-native animals too.
- Domaine Chandon, where you can try some of their sparkling wines and fine dining.
- Four Pillars Distillery is great for the gin fan, where you can have a gin tasting or take part in a distillery tour.
- Tarrawarra Museum Of Art is a perfect choice if you love local art and design, plus there are often workshops for kids too so it’s worth checking out the website.
- Catch the Puffing Billy train from Melbourne to the Yarra Valley for a unique experience.
- Enjoy a picnic with your collection of local wines, cheeses and produce and enjoy the spectacular views and rolling hills of picturesque Yarra Valley.
- Visit the other wineries in the region. There are popular wineries such as De Bortoli and Helen & Joey, but you might also find your new favourite white or red wine at one of the lesser-known stops along the way.
Take a trip beyond the Melbourne CBD attractions into regional Victoria, just an hour’s drive away and enjoy some of the best attractions in the world-class wine region of Yarra Valley! Even if you don’t love wine, you can easily create an epic Yarra Valley day trip itinerary or a longer weekend stay like ours. We are so glad we made time for our visit!
Find some time to explore the stunning Yarra Valley. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a weekend with friends, make the most of your time and plan your Yarra Valley itinerary today!
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