by Chalsie Mew
Weekends were made for adventure. Those two days off each week are the perfect reason to escape the city and explore the unknown. Why not take advantage of your weekends off to explore your home town? You know the language, you have access to a car, and there are no exchange rates!
During winter I was seeking an escape. Them winter-blues had hit hard and I was dreaming of jumping on the next plan out of Melbourne. I then realised that I’d never been to the Yarra Valley before, and much to my surprise, it’s only an hours drive outside of Melbourne’s CBD. Not to mention it offers up our favourite things: food, drink and fresh air.
Getting ready for our weekend playing tourist, we packed, grabbed a coffee, stocked up on roadtrip food and began to drive east. There’s only time for one of our favourite roadtrip albums before we we were in the heart of the Yarra Valley.
The Yarra Valley welcomed us with vast green space, rolling hills, trees, wineries and cows. The moment you take a step out of the car, the fresh air lifts you up. The worry lines fade from your face, the weight drops from your shoulders and a skip hits your step. We did it! We escaped the hustle and bustle of the city and we were ready to explore.
What do you do in the Yarra Valley, I hear you ask? You get lost on tiny rural roads that wind around mountains, you explore forests of dead trees growing from the ground up, you drink wine made on the earth you stand on, and you attempt to take in the vastness of rolling green hills.
Balgownie Estate 1309 Melba Hwy Yarra Glen, VIC 3775
How does a spa resort sound? Balgownie Estate is situated on its own vinery, and offers a brilliant restaurant with a delicious 3-course set menu! The restaurant overlooks the landscape, trees lit from fairy lights, and a huge open fire warming the room. Your hotel room also offers a spa bath to relax during your food coma. Oh and the beds! They’re like clouds, you’ll never want to leave.
Yarra Valley Dairy 70-80 McMeikans Rd Yering, VIC 3770
You’ll be welcomed with warm faces ready to offer a tasting of the wide range of delicious cheeses! A glass wall unveils the serene landscape housing cows, sheep and goats offering seating for those who want to eat in.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie 35 Old Healesville Rd Yarra Glen, VIC 3775
Free entry and loads of chocolate to devour. What more could the child in you want?
White Rabbit Brewery 316 Maroondah Hwy Healesville VIC 3777
Who said you can only drink wine in the Yarra Valley? White Rabbit Brewery is well worth the trip. The large warehouse welcomes lounging around (quite literally – they offer plenty of couches), and a bar atmosphere to sip at your cold brewski. They’ve got three beers on tap, all of which are worth drinking – unless you’re the designated driver (bummer).
Healesville Sanctuary Badger Creek Rd Healesville VIC 3777
If you’ve never been, you really should! Assuming you’re a city dweller like myself, you don’t often get to experience Australia’s native animals. At Healesville Sanctuary, you get to feed them! Don’t miss the birds of prey show where you’ll think you’re the prey, take a peek at the Tassie devils grunting about, and be gawked at by the emus. It’s a whole lot of fun if you’re an animal lover.
For those who enjoy the outdoors, Marysville is full of beautiful bush walks and waterfalls, including Steavonson Falls which is one of the highest waterfalls in Victoria. But don’t make the mistake we made, most walks are closed in winter.
All photos by Chalsie Mew, see more of her work on The Workshop Co.
Chalsie is a Melbourne based freelance writer and communications strategist, which is just a fancy way of saying she dabbles in marketing, PR, photography and everything in between. She’s inspired by moody weather, simplicity and asymmetry. You’ll find her writing lists, exploring, ‘awh-ing’ at dogs, blogging or glued to Instagram.