Stay close, go further
Ring in spring in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges, when the region is at its bloomin' best.
1. Forest walks
The Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges are home to a wide array of walking trails and winding paths, to suit all ages and abilities. Tackle a scenic route in any of the region's many state and national parks, or opt for a leisurely stroll in verdant gardens. Choose from a series of short walks in Warburton, or tackle the whole 38 kilometres to Lilydale along the historic rail trail. For serious athletes, the 1,000 steps of the Kokoda Memorial Walk offers the ultimate workout.
2. Natural gems
The region's waterfalls are in full swing in spring, thanks to high winter rainfall, so grab your walking shoes and head out to witness the beauty of racing water at La La Falls in the Warburton area. Walk an easy 1.6 kilometres from the carpark through Mountain Ash forest and ferny glades to the base of the falls and soak up the serenity of the area. Or, enjoy a gentle walk through 200-year-old forest to the peaceful cascades of Sherbrooke Falls.
Enjoy the Yarra Valley's scenic surrounds during a heart-stopping adventure with Warburton Adventure Company. From caving to abseiling, mountain biking to river sledding, there's something for every nature-loving, thrill-seeker.
3. Blooming beauties
There's plenty of fertile ground for flowery fun in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges during spring. Frolic through delicate cherry blossoms at CherryHill Orchards' Blossom Festival in September, or stroll through the region's many parks and gardens as they spring into bloom. See the thousands of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and daffodils on display at the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden, or enjoy the lively atmosphere at The Tesselaar Tulip Festival where over one million flowers are in full bloom.
Make friends with ferns in the Alfred Nicholas Gardens and explore the green grounds of Cloudehill Gardens.
4. World-class wineries
The Yarra Valley is internationally renowned for its cool-climate wine. Choose from over 60 cellar-door experiences, from stalwart's DeBortoli, Oakridge Wines, Yering Station and Seville Estate, to smaller winery gems such as Soumah of Yarra Valley, Elmswood Estate, Fergusson Winery and Restaurant or Medhurst Wines.
5. Gourmet delicacies
Sample small-batch gin at the Four Pillars distillery in Healesville and opt for a pint or flight at Coldstream Brewery and Hargreaves Hill. Linger over long lunches at hatted restaurants Levantine Hill and TarraWarra Estate, or settle in for a fine feed at Innocent Bystander and cosy pubs such as the Healesville Hotel. Load up on fresh fare at farm gates and provedore's around the region. Drop in for a Devonshire tea around Olinda and Sassafras and grab dinner with a view at SkyHigh on top of Mount Dandenong.
6. Family fun
Get up close to Australian native wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary and wind through rainforests and fern gullies aboard beloved steam-train Puffing Billy. Stop in at regional farms for fruit picking, or delight the kids with gourmet dairy treats at Yarra Valley Dairy and Yarra Valley Chocolaterie.
7. Soar to new heights
Top off a trip to the Yarra Valley with a scenic, hot air balloon flight. Drift silently across the land in the early morning light, as you take in rolling green hills, vine-laced valleys and long stretches of forests. Finish up with a gourmet breakfast of local produce and sparkling wine – it's five o'clock somewhere, after all.
8. Valley views
There's an accommodation option for every budget in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Have a 'cabin-in-the-woods' style experience with an edge of luxury at Eagles Nest or Kangaroo Ridge Retreat, and surround yourself with towering Mountain Ash trees and native bushland at Billabong Falls. Pick from cute cottages and charming B&B's, spend a night in the lovingly restored Old Mechanics building in the centre of Healesville or glamp out in style in a belle tent or pod at Badger Creek.