12 Things To Do In The Yarra Valley, Victoria
In less than one hour from Melbourne’s CBD you can be surrounded by the rolling hills of the stunning Yarra Valley. Famed for its wildlife and wineries, it’s the perfect escape from city life with an abundance of Yarra Valley attractions suitable for all ages including families with kids. Whether you have an entire weekend, or are looking for a Yarra Valley day trip, this guide of things to do in Yarra Valley will help make the most of your time.
Things to do in the Yarra Valley
Being Melbourne locals, we love to get and about to explore the surrounding areas. The Yarra Valley is one of our favourite parts of Victoria and there is plenty to do there. We travel often to the Yarra Valley with kids and without so we have included a range of options for couples, friends, and families. See below our list of the best attractions in the Yarra Valley. We have also included places to stay in the Yarra Valley, in case you want to stay over night or for the weekend.
1. Admire the views at Steavenson Falls, Marysville
One of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls near Melbourne is Steavensons Falls which is an impressive 84 metres tall. If you are visiting the Yarra Valley it is definitely worth a stop as it is quite simple to get to. The main look out is just a short and easy 350 metre walk and the views are worth it.
You could easily add Steavensons fall into your Yarra Valley day trip itinerary while planning to see other things in the area.
2. Feel part of a Fairytale at Redwood Forest
From one of the most famous Yarra Valley attractions to one of Victoria’s hidden gems, a visit to Redwood Forest is like stepping onset of a fairytale. Located a few kilometres outside Warburton, the forest is home to nearly 1500 towering Californian Redwood trees. These trees are perfectly planted in rows allowing an enchanting escape from the outside world.
Not only can you enjoy the perfect silence, but the forest offers endless picnic spots and photo opportunities which the entire family will love. You can easily visit the Redwood Forest on a day trip to the Yarra Valley.
3. Indulge at Yarra Vallery Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery
As one of the most famous Yarra Valley attractions, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery has been enticing visitors young and old with their delicious delicacies since 2012. Their world-famous treats are now also on offer in chocolateries on the Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula.
Not only can you get lost in a chocolate showroom which showcases thousands of chocolates, but you can also indulge in pastries, desserts and ice creams with daily tasting sessions, chocolate making classes and even an all-day café.
You can enjoy the treats guilt-free, knowing that the Chocolaterie is part of the Cocoa Horizons programme which supports farmers and their communities to ensure all cocoa they use is farmed and sourced sustainably. When searching for what to do in Yarra Valley this Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery is guaranteed to be a winner regardless of age or budget!
5. Meet the Australian Icons at Healesville Sanctuary
Another famous Yarra Valley attraction is Healesville sanctuary, one of the Melbourne Zoos, where you can get up close to some of the most popular Australian icons. See koalas, kangaroos, dingos, emus, wombats as well as various native birds.
Healesville sanctuary makes the perfect day trip from Melbourne for families, there are plenty of events on during the holidays where kids have free entry. Grab the kids and a picnic and make sure to check out their wildlife experiences.
6. Explore the treetops at Kinglake Forest Adventures
One of the best things to do in the Yarra Valley for those who are more adventurous, is to visit Kinglake Forest Adventures, where you can climb in the treetops. It is one of the most popular Yarra Valley attractions for families with kids as there are experiences also for younger ones.
If you like to ride, they have various mou ntain bike trails of different levels. Take a picnic and spend the day.
7. Admire Mason Falls
Located within the picturesque Kinglake National Park, Mason Falls are one of the most beautiful Yarra Valley attractions. The Masons Falls Picnic Area is ideal for families thanks to free gas barbeques, tables and toilets not to mention the stunning towering gum trees which are home to over 90 native bird species.
The short hike to the falls is suitable for all ages and leads to a viewing platform known as the Masons Falls lookout. The falls are most spectacular after heavy rainfall but even on dry days the walk through the lush forest is rewarding regardless.
After your hike head back to the Mason Falls picnic area which was renovated in 2019 and offers free BBQs, toilets and sheltered seating which is ideal for family picnics.
7. Enjoy the snow at Lake Mountain Alpine resort
Just 2 hours from Melbourne you can enjoy a day at the snow! Yes, that’s right, no need to pack up for a long trip, you can easily do a day trip from Melbourne. Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is a cross country family friendly ski resort perfect for first time snow-goers. Try out their three toboggan runs, try out their cross country skiing, or take a ski or snowboard lesson.
Have no gear? No worries, at Lake Mountain you can hire everything you need including jackets, boots, shoes, toboggans, and even skis or snowboards for adults and kids.
8. Admire the Blue Lotus Water Garden
Enter into a colourful new world of lotus and waterlilies at the Blue Lotus Water Garden in the stunning Yarra Valley. From December to April this 14 acre garden features a paradise of Giants of the Amazon, to ancient Japanese flowers. Sit back and admire the manmade lakes, ponds, and lagoons containing over 70 varieties of waterlily flowers including a prized collection of Claude Monet’s original waterlilies from his garden in France.
There are plenty of family friendly activities to keep the kids entertained and is one of the most beautiful things to do in the Yarra Valley during this period.
9. Enjoy a Yarra Valley Wine Tour
Due to the region’s cooler climate, vineyards can be seen for miles around with wine tours proving one of the most popular things to do in Yarra Valley. In total there are over 160 wineries in the area, specialising in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. The majority offer local produce to accompany tastings alongside cellar door tours. A few favourites include:
Helen and Joey Estate: If the weather and crowds allow, enjoy your tasting on the terrace of the Helen and Joey Estate which offers incredible views of the vines and valley. Partner your tasting with a tempting charcuterie board with the finest selection of meats, cheese and biscuits.
TarraWarra Estate: Not only is this a must-visit cellar door which is uniquely designed within a hill, but a world-class kitchen garden restaurant as well as on on site art gallery. Enjoy impeccable food, wine tastings and view their renowned art collection at the TarraWarra Museum of Art all in the same afternoon. Check their website for opening times & events.
Yering Farm: For a contemporary, laid back experience Yering Farm is renowned for its playful approach. From the colourful labels to the easy-drinking selection on offer, their wines are ideal partners for a relaxing family BBQ. As a former fruit farm, they also offer a “Syder” that is a pink lady apple cider which is the perfect refreshing treat for a Sunny Sunday afternoon.
Domaine Chandon: From the fun to the formal, Domaine Chandon are renowned for their top-shelf sparkling wines with tastings costing $12 for 6. Alongside self-guided tours of the winery you can enjoy your tasting or glass of bubbles on the terrace with views over the vineyards. There is also dining options available from their restaurant which is serving delicious treats from 12-4 pm.
Cycling Vine Tours: Looking for a vineyard tour with a difference? Enjoy a cycle tour of the Yarra Valley wineries with an expert guide. The tours can be tailored to your preferences and abilities allowing you to embrace the stunning scenery and tempting tastings at your own pace.
10. Pick Your Own at Cherryhill Orchards
If searching for family-friendly things to do in Yarra Valley, the Cherryhill Orchards will not disappoint. The Riseborough family have been shipping their cherries all over the world since 1940 but the public can also visit to pick their own.
Not only can you enjoy a picnic whilst embracing the beautiful views but pick your own sweet cherries for dessert from their 85 acres of cherry orchards. If time is limited, you can simply swing passed and pick up a punnet or some tasty cherry ice cream to be enjoyed on your road trip round the region.
Note that cherry-picking is seasonal and you must book online beforehand as the orchards have limited pick your own tickets per day. More details on dates and ticket prices here.
11. Enjoy a hike & swim at Big Peninsula Tunnel
One of the best things to do in Yarra Valley to cool off in the Summer months is to enjoy a refreshing swim at Big Peninsula Tunnel. Dating back to the 1850s, the tunnel was hand-dug to divert water flow and expose miles of riverbed which was sprinkled with gold for mining.
The tunnel is around 2 metres high and 25 metres long and provides the perfect place to explore, picnic or swim during Summer. The entrance of the tunnel is home to a delightful little pool and one of the most relaxing Yarra Valley attractions as the calming water creates a natural spa.
Following your refreshing swim, there are stepping stones across the river or for the adventurous, you also start the McMahon Creek Goldfield walk which is a 13km loop lasting approximately 4 hours.
12. Learn about sustainability at Edendale Community Environment Farm
For an educational afternoon, Edendale Community Farm offers one of the most unforgettable things to do in Yarra Valley. Situated in Etham, the farm offers a hands-on insight into sustainable living.
Visitor experiences include feeding chickens or turkeys, meet the goats and Taffy the jersey cow or pat one of the resident guinea pigs. Edendale also hosts a child-friendly spiral garden and sustainably grown orchards and vegetable gardens to inspire the young and old to plant your own.
Alongside the friendly animals and inspiring nature, you will spot artworks scattered throughout which also follow a sustainable theme such as the Copper Butterfly Mural and Bee Stepping Stones.
The farm is open daily from 9:30-4:30 pm with admission by gold coin donation.
Best time to Visit the Yarra Valley
There are plenty of things to do in the Yarra Valley for families all year round and each season has it’s advantages.
Autumn (March-May): One of the most beautiful times to visit the Yarra Valley is in Autumn when the leaves in the forest turn a yellow red colour and fall from the trees. Though it can be chilly, it is truly beautiful.
Winter (June – August): Winter is perfect if you plan to head to the snow. Lake Mountain usually opens start of June through to September so there is plenty of time to plan a trip. If you want to stay overnight, get a cosy cabin nearby, put on the fire and relax.
Spring: (September – November): Spring is a colourful time to visit the Yarra Valley where the flowers start to bloom. The weather is generally nice and sunny, and warming up. It is also a great time to view the waterfalls after the Winter months which have heavy rain.
Summer (December-February): Summer is popular in the Yarra Valley as there are more sunny days and the weather is quite warm. It is a great time for camping but make sure you book in advance as it is peak season.
Your Guide to the Yarra Valley Attractions
This Yarra Valley guide has hopefully inspired a few ideas on what to do in the Yarra Valley for the entire family. Whether you’re visiting for the wildlife or simply the wine, the list of Yarra Valley attractions continues to grow and with each visit proving even more fun than the last. Know any more things to do in the Yarra Valley for families or travellers? Let us know!
If you are heading to the Yarra Valley for a weekend or even a week away, check out our post on Things to do in the Dandenong Ranges as it isn’t too far away. Looking for more things to do in Melbourne? Follow our FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM page, or join our community group MELBOURNE FOR KIDS.