22 Best Things To Do In Yarra Valley With Kids

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Are you looking for a family-friendly destination in Australia that has something for everyone? Look no further than the Yarra Valley. Nestled in the picturesque foothills of Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges Range, the Yarra Valley is renowned for its world-class wineries, food and picturesque scenery.

But did you know there’s also plenty to keep the kids entertained? Here are our top recommendations for the best things to do in Yarra Valley with kids.

Check out Yarra Valley Lodge for family-friendly accommodation

Love seat swing on longest swingset at Badgers Creek Winery in Yarra Valley.

Best Things To Do In Yarra Valley With Kids

The Yarra Valley in Victoria may be most well known for being Victoria’s most celebrated wine region, with over 80 wineries to sample. This makes it a perfect destination for wine lovers!

But you don’t have to like wine to enjoy a visit to the Yarra Valley. In fact, it’s also a fantastic place to go for a family vacation!

There are loads of fun activities that kids will enjoy in the region.

So we are going to help you plan an epic day trip to the Yarra Valley with kids, or better still, an extended stay, such as our 2-day Yarra Valley itinerary (or longer)!

But first, let’s plan your visit!

Travel Insurance: Make sure you don’t leave home without travel insurance. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to skip, especially when travelling with kids. Check out SafetyWing to make sure you’re covered!

Yarra Valley Travel Guide

Here is everything you need to know to plan your own visit to the Yarra Valley, whether it be for a day trip or an extended stay in this beautiful region.

Where is Yarra Valley?

The Yarra Valley is located approximately an hour from Melbourne, Victoria.

Best Time To Visit Yarra Valley

There is no bad time to visit the Yarra Valley since the temperatures and weather won’t really impact the things you can see and do.

In summer and spring, you can take advantage of the warmer temperatures, while in winter, you don’t have far to travel for snow in Victoria.

We visited during the summer school holidays and it still wasn’t too busy, despite being a popular time to visit.

How To Get To Yarra Valley

The best way to get to the Yarra Valley is definitely by car! This makes it easy to visit the many top attractions in the region.

If travelling from outside of Victoria, you can hire a rental car from Melbourne airport.

Best Yarra Valley Accommodation

There are plenty of places to stay in the Yarra Valley region, with accommodation to suit different budgets.

We stayed at the Yarra Valley Lodge which was a great option as we were able to take afternoon walks around the golf course and see kangaroos each day.

Here are some more great options for family accommodation in the Yarra Valley:

Fun Things To Do In The Yarra Valley With Kids

Alright, let’s get to the fun stuff! Here are the best Yarra Valley attractions and activities to keep the whole family entertained:

1. Visit the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery For Sweet Treats

We knew a visit to the Yarra Valley chocolate factory was a must for our stay! Kids love desserts… and so do we! Plus this is one of the most famous chocolate factories in Australia.

When you first walk into the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie, there is a chocolate tasting area and an attendant will offer you a sample of their delicious chocolate pastelles.

You can try a single chocolate flavour or try all 3 – milk, white and dark.

You can watch the chocolates being made through the factory windows, which is always cool to show the kids.

The shop itself is enormous and a great place to find gifts if you have any special occasions coming up, with lots of gift sets and mixed chocolate hampers.

Sample the yummy ice cream flavours. What we loved is that a single scoop size can have 2 flavours, so even if you only want a smaller treat, you can still enjoy 2 different flavours (or 4 with a double scoop).

There is also a huge restaurant with a full menu serving lunch and dinner as well as loads of treats. The view over the valley and rolling hills is beautiful from the restaurant too.

We visited mid-morning so it was a little too early for lunch so we settled for an ice cream cone and some takeaway chocolates.

If you are planning to drive the Great Ocean Road while in Victoria, there is a sister store, Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery in Bellbrae.

2. Enjoy The Outdoors At Lilydale Lake Recreation Area

Lilydale Lake is a popular spot for families, as you are heading towards the Yarra Valley from Melbourne. Situated in Lilydale, this recreation area is huge and has plenty to keep the kids happy.

Playground at Lilydale Lake recreation park.

There is a huge playground, which includes all-abilities playground equipment. Plus there is a splash play area with water jets that is a lot of fun on a hot day.

We ran through it in our clothes just to cool down a little on the extremely hot 37-degree morning when we were there.

The perimeter of the lake is a popular walking track, with 10km of walking tracks within the area. And the lake itself is a great spot for water activities such as sailing, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and fishing. There is a little beach area for the kids.

The scenery at Lilydale Lake is beautiful, with lots of large grassy areas for picnics, plenty of BBQs and picnic tables. There are often food trucks to grab a coffee or food too.

3. Yarra Valley Dairy

If you love cheese, a visit to the Yarra Valley Dairy for a cheese tasting is always a fun idea! While a lot of kids don’t appreciate some of the stronger-tasting cheeses, you’re sure to find a favourite or 3.

Service counter at Yarra Valley Cheese factory.

There is a small restaurant at the dairy and you can of course get cheese, and everything else you need to go with it, to take away.

There is also a dairy in Coldstream if you wanted to pick up a few kinds of cheese from both to enjoy as part of your own cheese platter.

4. Healesville Sanctuary

If you love wildlife, there’s a good chance you might have some random wildlife sightings while you’re in the Yarra Valley. But for guaranteed native Australian wildlife encounters, Healesville Sanctuary is one of the most popular Yarra Valley attractions.

Healesville Sanctuary is part of Zoos Victoria, which also includes Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Plain Zoo and Kyabram Fauna Park, which are committed to fighting wildlife extinction.

It offers a great day out for the family. The kids will love seeing the koalas, kangaroos, wombats, dingoes and other Australian wildlife up close. There are some VIP animal encounters you can book too.

5. Yarra Valley Wineries

Who says you can’t visit wineries with kids? You totally can!

The best thing is that many of the local wineries in Yarra Valley are family-friendly, with menus and activities that cater to kids. So don’t feel like you need to skip the world-renowned wineries while you’re in town.

With over 80 wineries, the hard part is deciding which ones to visit. During our recent weekend trip, we only visited a few, but that included some fantastic wineries with great wine tasting experiences.

Here are some great Yarra Valley wineries for families:

  • Yering Station – This is Victoria’s oldest winery and one of the most famous. They have a cellar door and tasting bar as well as a restaurant with a playground right beside it.
  • Badger Creek Blueberry Winery – Delicious wines and sweet ciders you can sample on a tasting paddle, a great menu and plenty of tables and chairs. Our kids loved the baby chinos plus there is a lawn for them to play on too.
  • De Bortoli Winery – This highly awarded winery has cellar door tastings daily, a restaurant and a playground for the kids, offering panoramic views of the Dandenong Ranges.
  • Paynes Rise – A little further out at Seville, the kitchen opens Thursday to Sunday and there are lawn games to entertain the kids.
  • Innocent Bystander – Restaurant with a family-friendly menu and wine and cider tastings.
  • Tarrawarra Estate – Another of the Yarra Valley’s most famous wineries, they often run activities for kids during school holidays and they have picnic hampers available to enjoy on their expansive lawns.
  • Badgers Brook Winery – This one is amazing for families. We share why further down the list because it deserves its own feature!

6. Yarra Valley Breweries

If wine isn’t your thing, or you like a little variety, most breweries these days are also fairly family-friendly. Whether that means a playground or activities for the kids or simply a menu that is family-friendly.

When you’ve all got to eat at some point, if your kids typically loathe these types of places, incorporating them into mealtime can be a great option so kids can enjoy a meal while you can sample the local craft beers.

front of coldstream brewery.

Here are some of the most popular breweries in the area:

  • Coldstream Brewery, Coldstream
  • Matilda Bay, Healesville
  • Watts River Brewing, Healesville
  • Golden Hills Brewery, Diamond Creek

7. Meet Alpacas At The Big Bouquet Gerbera Farm

The Big Bouquet is a gerbera farm, so you can come here to grab yourself some fresh flowers, but we visited to see the animals.

The big bouquet alpaca sign in Yarra Valley.

The place is a little run down as of our visit in 2023. It needs a lot of work on the gardens and a general clean-up, however, if you’re looking for cheap activities in the Yarra Valley, this is still a fun stop.

They have a group of alpacas and a couple of sheep up the back that you can feed. A bag of food is $7.

We got two but one would have been plenty as only a couple of the alpacas and one very hungry sheep were interested in food at the time. This could have been to do with the hot day so start with 1 bag. You can always grab another!

Aside from feeding the animals, you can have a look inside the greenhouse and info centre, dine at the cafe or play on the playground.

It has definitely seen better days but the kids still enjoyed having a bounce on the trampoline.

8. Spend An Afternoon At Badgers Brook Winery

Yes, I know I’ve already mentioned wineries above. But this one deserves an extra mention because it was just the next level for families!

This winery is crazy and the most kid-friendly Yarra Valley winery! We hadn’t intended to visit but we saw the giant upside-down house from the road and decided to have a look.

The place is loaded with vintage playground equipment including a huge outdoor playground, a shade-covered playground surrounded by a ball pit, a flying fox, a trampoline park, and what is quite possibly the longest swingset in the world.

It’s actually brilliant what they have done, converting what might be an old irrigation frame that runs the length of the vineyard into a swingset frame.

The entire frame has various types of swings and hanging chairs and rides attached to it.

The play equipment is ‘play at your own risk’ as some of it is really quite old, so best to supervise the kids while playing, but they are likely going to be pretty impressed with this stop!

They also have a cheap alfresco meal menu in their outdoor area, as well as a fine dining restaurant and cellar door, with wine tastings.

9. Get A Birds Eye View With A Hot Air Balloon Ride

Have you ever been hot air ballooning? We haven’t but this is a bucket list item we are hoping to cross off soon and Yarra Valley is a popular place for this experience when you visit Victoria.

There is a heap of different hot air balloon operators in the Yarra Valley area, some of which include breakfast after you finish your scenic flight.

The great thing about hot air balloons is that you can take children from as young as 6, depending on the operator. What a memorable way to experience the beautiful scenery from above.

10. Ride The Puffing Billy Train

If you are looking to do a family day trip from Melbourne, the Puffing Billy train ride is one the kids will love!

The iconic Puffing Billy is a heritage steam train runs from Belgrave to Gembrook, with a few shorter routes also available. You can do either an open car or a regular passenger carriage, with both having beautiful views of the area.

Your train ticket also gives you entry to Menzies Creek Museum to learn about rail history.

You can grab a picnic box from the Lakeside Visitor Centre in Emerald Lake Park (must be pre-ordered when booking your train ticket) and enjoy it somewhere nearby.

From here you can explore the walking tracks, have a swim in the lake during summer, go on a paddle boat ride in Lake Treganowan, hire a bike or just enjoy a meal at the cafe.

We recommend you book Puffing Billy tickets early as this is a very popular attraction!

11. Yarra Valley Walking Trails

Going on a nature walk is one of life’s little luxuries. Kids don’t always appreciate just how much of a treat it is to enjoy the fresh air and nature, but there’s a good chance they will have fun too.

a group of kangaroos in long grass.

There are many different walking trails in the Yarra Ranges & Dandenong region, including some through the National Parks in the area, ranging from easy to moderately hard. Some of these trails are also great for bike riding.

This is a great way to spot some native animals too!

Here are some popular walking trails:

  • Lilydale Lake (as mentioned above)
  • Maroondah Park Reservoir
  • Warburton Rail Trail

Find loads more walking trails and details on the Yarra Walks site.

12. Pick Up Some Fresh Produce From Yarra Farm Fresh

Skip the restaurants for lunch and grab yourself some fresh local produce at Yarra Farm Fresh. More than just fresh fruit and veg, you can get local deli products, treats and speciality items here.

front of yarra valley farm fresh store.

We stocked up on heaps of fruit and some snacks for our stay when we visited, as it was only a short drive from Yarra Valley Lodge where we were staying.

13. Go On A Picnic To Enjoy Some Local Food & Drink

Or take it a step further, and grab everything you need for a picnic at one of the many beautiful parks and nature reserves around the region. Or perhaps on the banks of the Yarra River!

There are plenty of places with picnic facilities if you don’t have your own picnic blanket.

Platter with local cheeses and meats from the yarra valley region.

Grab cheese, meat and crackers from the dairy, wine from one of the wineries, chocolate from the chocolate factory, and other delicious items that can come together in a yummy grazing platter for the family.

14. Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden

The Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden is an award-winning garden located in the foothills of Mt Dandenong. It’s a great place to explore with kids and has free entry for everyone.

You can also take a self-guided tour on the ‘Garden Explorer’ (this does cost), which takes you around the various sections of the park and manicured gardens.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot an echidna!

15. Snow Fun At Mt Donna Buang

If you are visiting the Yarra Valley in winter, you might get lucky enough to enjoy the snow season!

The closest ski resort is the summit of Mt Donna Buang, near Warburton. This is just 70 km east of Melbourne and takes just over 20 minutes from the Yarra Valley.

It’s free to access the mountain, making it a fantastic first snow experience for many families visiting Victoria in winter.

There is a toboggan hill that the kids will love and plenty of other options for snow activities. There is also an impressive viewing platform that offers views all the way back to Melbourne on a clear day.

printable trip planning pages.

Other Yarra Valley Activities For Families

In case you’ve still got time to spare, here are some more ideas on family activities and things to do in the Yarra Valley:

  • Blue Lotus Water Garden – See the giant Amazon waterlilies and lotus flowers
  • Horse trail riding – Explore the region on a family horse ride
  • Redwood forest – See the enormous Sequoia Redwoods in Warburton
  • TarraWarra Museum of Art – Combine wine tasting with contemporary art
  • Yarra Glen Adventure Playground – Big playground in the Mackenzie Reserve area
  • Kinglake National Park – See if you can spot a lyrebird as you explore the national park
  • Marysville Steavenson Falls – An easy 700-metre walk from the car park to see one of the tallest waterfalls in Victoria.

The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges region offer loads of fun activities for families making it an ideal destination for anyone looking to get out into nature while enjoying delicious local food and wine. We are so glad we were able to incorporate it into our Victoria trip!

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