When you think of Australia what is the first thing that comes to mind? Other than Kangaroo's, Koala's, a strange accent & funny words. You are probably thinking something along the lines of sunshine, beaches & desert.
Australia has far more to it's beauty than what you would expect. Of course the beaches, sunshine, coastlines and desert's that stretch as far as the horizon are incredible. But for a deeper look into what the landscapes of Australia have to offer you need to explore Victoria.
In this blog - the first in a series of travel blogs for Victoria - we will explore the Yarra ranges. We will cover where to go, where to stay, how to get there and what to eat along the way. Grab yourself a tea & some Tim-Tams and lets get cracking mate! Straya!
Relevant - 61 Things to Do, See, Taste & Feel in Melbourne.
Where are the Yarra Ranges?
The Yarra Ranges are located approximately 90 minutes drive from Melbourne City in the state of Victoria. Depending on where you go during your trip your journey may take upwards of 2 hours. If you plan to do multiple hikes or visit multiple locations then we suggest booking in some accomodation.
You can start your adventures into the Yarra Ranges from multiple points but to keep things simple we recommend starting from either Warburton or Healsville. The map below shows Warburton.
See Also - Get Yourself to the Grampians.
When it comes to transport your best option is to hire a car. There are tour groups that take tourists on pre planned adventures in the Yarra Ranges but they do not cover the spots that you really want to be seeing. They are also very expensive for what you get.
If you want to explore the Yarra Ranges properly then spend the money on a hire car. The next map shows Healesville's location, slightly further North of Warburton.
Top Spots to Visit
The Yarra ranges cover a massive area which would be impossible to explore completely during your travels, even if you dedicated your whole summer to this impressive destination. We have included some of our top picks in the Yarra Ranges, from hikes to breweries & cafe's.
Warburton Redwood Forest
The Warburton Redwood forest is an area that we only recently explored. We had heard incredible things about this spot but we still weren't expecting much. The moment we arrived we were completely taken back by what was in front of us.
Incredible Redwoods lined up perfectly creating a captivating symmetry, the moment you enter the woods you will feel as if you have entered another world. Make sure you bring a camera.
Here is a map to help you get there.
Four Pillars Gin Brewery
Yep! You heard it right, a Gin Brewery. Four Pillars is not just any Gin Brewery. This tight nit group of Gin enthusiasts specialise in creating unique Gin flavours & styles that will leave your taste buds excited, confused and deeply satisfied.
If you plan to include Four Pillars in your trip then make sure to allocate a sober driver or spend the night nearby.
Black Spur Road
Black Spur Road has to be one of our favourite locations when it comes to photography and just pure scenic beauty. Black Spur road winds its way through native bush deep in the Yarra Ranges connecting Healesville to Marysville.
The road itself is still labelled as the Moroondah Highway but this section of the highway is known as 'Black Spur Drive.' Along the drive you will find pull out's and hidden dirt roads, we highly recommend pulling into these roads and exploring.
If you are into your photography then this is definitely worth a snap for mum and dad.
This Link will take you from Healesville to Marysville via Black Spur Drive. The best scenes are near the end of the Spur.
Keppel Lookout Trail
The Keppel Lookout Trail is a great hike for year round walkers. The track is not effected by snow but can get very slippery and muddy during the winter months. We recommend wearing some pants that you don't mind getting a but dirty, chances are you are going to be falling on your arse at some point.
If you want to get all the important details on the Keppel Lookout Trail then check out this blog. It will also give you 4 more amazing winter hiking options.
Steavenson Falls Trail
Once you finish the Keppel Lookout Trail don't hop straight back in the car. I know you will be tired but you won't want to miss the view of Steavenson Falls. The falls are actually best in winter after heavy rains as they cascade over the rocky cliffs and crash into the small pool below.
Be careful. Moving water is incredibly dangerous and the currents at the falls can be very strong. Don't do anything stupid just to get the best angle for the gram (Instagram for the older folks). Steavenson Falls can be reached within 5 minutes from the car park.
Are you the kind of traveler that loves checking out cute little country towns? Well Marysville is the spot for you. This quaint little country town still holds its old house style charm and the locals are so friendly.
We highly recommend making the trip out here for the evening and experiencing the exciting flavours of Radius Bar & Grill. 85% of the restaurants ingredients are soured within a 100km radius (hence the name) so you can guarantee the food is fresh and local.
Check out the Map below for reference.
Lake Mountain Resort
Lake Mountain Resort is one of Victoria's smaller Ski/Snowboard resorts. Yes Australia get's snow so if you plan to be in Victoria over winter then be sure to plan a trip to the snow. Lake Mountain Resort is roughly a 30 minute drive from Marysville.
The drive can be quite stunning if the roadside and tree tops are covered in snow, if you are up for it then hire some ski's or a board and learn the basics or hire a toboggan and play in the snow for a day. The winter season runs from early June - mid September.
Have Brunch and a Latte at Mocha & Lime
Right it's your last day in the Yarra Ranges and it's time to head back to the hustle and bustle of Melbourne City. Before you cut tracks though you had better get yourself some fuel in the form of a great feed and of course a strong latte.
Stop in at Mocha & Lime in downtown Healesville for some freshly prepared breakfast and some of the best coffee in town.
Where to Stay?
When it comes to accomodation you have plenty of options, here are a few options in a few different locations to get you started.
Brentwood Accomodation - A great option for couples. Brentwood accomodation offers Bed & Breakfast rooms & if you are willing to spend a little extra then you can book the Cottage.
The Healesville Grand Hotel - For a more budget conscious option try The Healesville Grand Hotel. The accomodation is still good but just don't expect anything to luxurious.
Woodlands Rainforest Retreat - This is the one you book to impress your girlfriend lads. This stunning cottage, located off Black Spur Drive is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway but it comes with a hefty price tag.
Farm Stays - This is a great one for families! Allow your kids to roam the farm areas in search of animals, dirt & adventure.
Black Spur Inn - A cheaper option for those wanting to experience a night in the rainforest. Black Spur Inn offer a range of options & if you arrive late they also have a restaurant & bar below.
For those travelers that want to save their money & avoid spending 100's of dollars on accomodation then camping is the option for you. For a great camping option check out Marysville Caravan & Holiday Park.
If you have hired a campervan then this is also the best option for you.
We hope you have an amazing time exploring the Yarra Ranges. If you have the time be sure to explore the incredible wineries of the Yarra Valley.
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Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques.