Four Pillars Gin, Healesville, Victoria © Visit Victoria
Top places to eat and drink in the Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley, just an hour away from Melbourne, is blessed with world-class wineries and restaurants.
By Carla Grossetti
Those yearning to visit one of Australia’s best wine regions should consider the Yarra Valley. Besides being known for its world-class wineries and cellar doors, the Yarra Valley is a picturesque place to explore. Mosey around the charming countryside from Melbourne to Marysville and you will find everything from artisan cheesemakers to a bounty of local produce.
"The Yarra Valley is the perfect mix of cool-climate wines, quirky cafes and cellar doors and farm gates offering up the finest produce."
Bank on an inspired brekkie or brunch
Nancy’s of the Valley is one of the best places to gather on a getaway to the Yarra Valley. Order a piccolo and pancakes from the retro-styled café, then pop by the Yarra Valley Artisan Baker to pick up a loaf of seeded sourdough and croissants to go.
Silva Coffee Roasters has been going strong in the Yarra Valley since 2010. It’s the place for specialty coffee in the Yarra Valley and also offers European delights such as pain au chocolate. Incy Wincy is an inspired alternative with a rotating roster of roasters and toasties (such as mushroom and sauerkraut).
Brunch is an institution in the Yarra Valley. And so is Heartswood, located in the old Colonial Bank building in Yarra Glen. For something substantial, order the Son In Law Eggs of fried pork belly, chilli caramel and hot mint salad with roti. Hutch & Co has a similar focus on seasonal produce and is a hip, happening place for brunch.
Be sure to try: The pressed brisket benny on offer at Hutch & Co.
For stellar cellar doors
Jayden Ong Winery & Cellar Bar is the new hub in Healesville that fills with locals dressed to thrill for drinks and dining. There’s a lot of buzz about the ‘wine experience’ on offer at this dramatic cellar door as well as the hyperlocal menu which includes signature snacks such as duck meatballs.
Learn about the grapes grown and wines crafted at Rochford Estate at the Rochford Cellar Door, Wine Bar & Gin Bar, located in the heart of Rochford. You can also enjoy the region’s bounty at nearby Four Pillars Distillery. Head to the gin garden for a tasting paddle of mini gin and tonics or do a guided tasting on the private mezzanine.
Those with an affection for cool-climate Yarra Valley wines should detour to De Bortoli where you can enjoy a cheese and wine flight at the cellar door or lunch at Locale Restaurant, which reflects the family’s Italian heritage.
Be sure to try: The homemade pasta and zucchini risotto with award-winning wines to match at De Bortoli.
Follow the farm gate trail
Book a tour of The Edible Forest or undertake a Wild Fermentation Class at this permaculture garden, which acts as a tasting plate for the Yarra Valley. Depending on the season, you’ll find everything from butternut squash to eggplant and cherries at the farm.
Oasis Berry Farms is frequented by locals who like to embark on a walk around the farm garden from December through to March where they can admire up to 10 different varieties of blueberries before buying a bucket full of premium fruit to take home.
Yarra Valley Dairy will appeal to lovers of artisan cheese as much as those looking to get a sense of the region’s identity. Enjoy a tasting in the cheese shop, located in the farm’s original 100-year-old milking shed and procure a jar of marinated Persian Fetta to go. Magnificent.
Be sure to try: The jams and chutneys on offer at The Edible Forest.