Whether it’s fine dining or café culture, there are plenty of options in Victoria’s premier wine region.
For fine dining, Ezard at Levantine Hill is a must-visit. The restaurant describes itself as a “gastronomic partnership” between the head chef and Levantine Hill Estate meaning your meals and your wines are perfectly paired. And the view is breathtaking too.
If you’re after something a bit more rustic, head to The Stables at Stones, an intimate restaurant led by Executive Chef Hugh Davison. The restaurant offers regional food incorporating seasonal ingredients.
For something a little bit more budget-friendly, consider booking at Tokar Estate. It’s family-owned and operated and includes a restaurant incorporating a slice of the Mediterranean and cellar door.
Best Wineries and Breweries
Wine lovers and those who appreciate beers and ciders will be spoilt for choice in the Yarra Valley.
Personal, simple and beautifully finished, Maddens Rise is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of cellar door. But don’t blink and don’t miss it because you really should taste everything here, especially the sparkling rose.
Any visit to the winery region shouldn’t miss TarraWarra Estate, one of the region’s must-see destinations. Contemporary architecture and sprawling views, you can sample wines with the wine maker herself, Clare Halloran.
For something a little bit more fun and funky, head to Giant Steps in Healsville. The owner, Phil Sexton, a massive jazz fan, named the winery after John Coltrane’s 1960 album Giant Steps. The wines themselves are also named in the musician’s honour.
When it comes to beers, your first stop should be Coldstream Brewery. Housed in a restored wool-shed, there’s a passion for local produce, especially when it comes to its cider with the Brewery using only Victoria apples. The Brewery also uses traditional brewing methods which sets it apart from others.
The new kid on the Yarra Valley block, the Watts River Brewing was only opened in September 2016. The Brewery has comfy couches to lounge on while you taste the delicious brews on tap and for the non-beer drinkers, the Brewery even offers a small selection of Yarra Valley wines and gin.
There’s a sweet spot in all of us, and in the Yarra Valley there’s a few. The Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Cream was founded by passionate foodies Ian and Leanne Neeland and it’s definitely a place the whole family will enjoy. There’s a stunning showroom, chocolate production area and a café, you can even enjoy abundant free chocolate tastings.
If you’re after a warm and cosy country feel, The Gladysdale Bakery should be top of your list. It serves food as well as sweet treats.
And for the kids (or the kids in all of us), you’ll want to make a stop at the Rainbow Ice Cream Shop in Warburton. There are loads of flavours to choose from and the portions are exceptionally generous.
A mecca for people who love markets, especially those with a mixture of food and craft, the Yarra Valley doesn’t disappoint. There are plenty of markets scattered throughout the region from organic farmer’s markets to craft markets, however they all fall on weekends, so bear this in mind if you’re keen for a visit.
If you’re after an Organic Farmers’ Market, you can’t go past the Healesville offering, which occurs every Saturday. The market offers locally-grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, honey and plants all at affordable prices. There are also breads and jams on offer.
Also on every Saturday, the St Andrews Community Market is more than just food, with crafts, massage, second-hand goods for sale and even hair braiding if you’re interested.
Famous for its collection of plants, regional produce and locally-made crafts, the Upper Yarra Community Market is held on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. There are lots of great, unique gifts on offer as well.
Finally, the Yarra Glen Racecourse Market is a huge craft market with almost anything and everything you could want to purchase. From old-fashioned boiled lollies to quirky wall art and artisan cheese, everything sold at the market has to be fresh and homemade. Be sure to sample the delicacies on display and have a chat to the passionate producers. It’s held on the first Sunday of every month from September through to June.
Whether it’s checking out the nature, heading to the galleries or enjoying the food and wine on offer, no matter how you choose to explore the Yarra Valley, you’re sure to enjoy the experience.