A short trip under an hour away from Melbourne delivers beautiful landscapes, free range produce and that lingering feeling of “why didn’t we do this sooner?”. There’s more to the Yarra Valley than the overly constructed cellar doors bristling with tourist buses. So here is our quick guide to time well spent for the time poor in the unforgettable Yarra Valley.
FIRST STOP - YARRA FARM FRESH
After you’ve packed your camera and then gotten over the fact that Google Maps is saying you’re only 51 mins away from your big adventure, make your way to Yarra Farm Fresh. They claim to have the best of Yarra Valley under one roof, and we think they might be on to something.
From A-grade strawberries to natural juices, the best vegetables and fruits that every season has to offer, hand crafted chocolates and many other local offerings. It’s like walking into the Willy Wonka Factory for grazing platters.
SECOND STOP - YARRA VALLEY DAIRY
Just down the road and placed inside an old milk shed, you’ll find the Yarra Valley Dairy’s shop and cafe, where you feel like you have all the space in the world to stop, relax and indulge in lactose heaven. Admittedly, it is rather hard to choose which cheese you’ll take home.
There’s spiced and herby cheeses in jars and soft, hard or ashed cheeses packaged politely in their signature white pyramids. Luckily there are cheese boards available and tastings are encouraged. With milk provided from neighbouring farms, you can taste the benefits of the great relationships between farmers and the dairy.
THIRD STOP - NAPOLEON CIDER & BEER CELLAR DOOR (WITH MELETOS NEXT DOOR)
What?! Cider and beer in wine country. Since Napoleon Cider took the Melbourne cider scene by storm and changed the way we perceive cider, they have grown their operations and now also make super delicious craft beer ranging from pale ales to saisons and other experimental beer. This makes for the perfect stopover to reset the palate and surround yourself in views of rolling hills and endless rows of vines.
The lineup of beer and cider isn’t small so it’s handy to know you can grab yourself a tasting paddle for only $12. Pull up a pew at the bar or walk across the room and find yourself in Meletos where you’ll need to order a wood fire pizza to avoid food envy.
FINAL STOP - PICNIC ON THE LAWN AT DOMINIQUE PORTET
Look, you could just head homeward bound at this point, but those juicy berries, local bread and fresh cheeses are going to look pretty tempting staring at you from the back seat on the drive home.
No visit to the Yarra is complete without a visit to the Dominique Portet cellar door. Home to the Yarra Valley’s most well known and loved Rose and Sparkling Rose, the grounds are reminiscent of the French countryside. Grab a bottle of their Brut Rose and a cured meats platter while soaking in the sun and views of beautiful rolling hills and feasting on your recently purchased overflowing hamper, courtesy of the Yarra Valley.