The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

After a day or two of  shopping in the city, a great escape from the hustle and bustle is a day trip to the Dandenongs and the Yarra Valley. A full day is needed to appreciate the best of what is in this region. There are trains to Lilydale or Belgrave for those who choose to visit just one of the villages or to take the Puffing Billy, a vintage train trip through the hills.

But to really discover what is to be seen, a trip by car is best.

The hard part is choosing where to stop and first stop for a chocoholic might be at Handorf’s Fine Chocolates in Montrose, before starting into the hills.

For those more interested in walking in one of the magnificent, shady parks or gardens, there are still wonderful Victorian cafes that can entice between more energetic pursuits.

There are plenty of things to see and do in the villages of Mt Dandenong, Olinda and Sassafras.

After exploring the villages or walking in a forest, a drive down one of the forested narrow roads to the foot of the hills begins an equally enjoyable journey. Starting from the settlement at Monbulk the road meanders around the Silvan reservoir, past where the yearly tulip festival is held.

Then travelling past Mt Evelyn a return to the city can be lengthened with a country drive through the nearby rolling Yarra Valley hills. If there is time, cut a track into the pretty lanes that are home to cherry orchards and vineyards.

To fully appreciate the Yarra Valley, needs another day. Some of the vineyards of this region are wellknown, especially to wine buffs, who value the taste of quality Victorian wines. But this area is also home to one of Melbourne’s favourite wild-life parks, at Healesville.

This region was settled early and the first vineyard in Victoria was planted in 1838 at the same place that the superb Yerring Station vineyard now produces excellent wine. Complete the journey by driving through the Christmas hills and a short diversion to the historic gold mining village of Warrandyte to complete a full day.

Tours go to the Yarra Valley for wine tasting daily.

It can be a memorable day of relaxing in good quality vineyards. Some prefer to take a weekend or spend a night staying at one of these lovely establishments.

It would be difficult to better the experience of sitting in the sun on a warm summer day with a view of light-dappled grape vines, or seated by a comforting, glowing fire in winter and enjoying good food, while supping on a favourite glass of wine in the Yarra Valley.




 Image Courtesy: Getty Images/Tourism Victoria