Yarra Valley is part of the The Australian Great Dividing Range. It runs from the north of Queensland to Melbourne.
Behind Sydney it is the Blue Mountains. Around Canberra it is the Australian Alps and the Snowy River Region. To the east of Melbourne it forms the pleasant rural, hilly Dandenong Ranges crossed by the Yarra River Valley. The Yarra River winds 242 kms (150 mi) through the foothills of the Dandenong and Yarra Ranges. It empties into Port Phillip Bay through the downtown of Melbourne City.
Things to do
The Yarra Valley has a terrific array of hero attractions – things that really should be on your ‘must do’ list, maybe even your ‘bucket list’.
- Visit the region’s multiple award winning winery’s
- Go to Diamond Valley railway One of the world’s best Miniature Railways.
- Go to Domaine Chandon Established by French Champagne house Moët & Chandon in 1986
- Visit Edendale Community Environmental Farm
- Play at Etham North Adventure Playgroup
- Spend the day at FunFields Theme park
- See the Sunrise from an Air Balloon
- Visit the Montsalvat Art Community
History of Yarra Valley
The Wurundjeri Aboriginal People lived in the Yarra Valley for at least 30,000 years before European Settlement. The Aboriginal name for the river was Birrarung. The first Explorers sailed up the river in 1803, but it was not until 1835 that Melbourne was founded and settlement and land clearing began in earnest. Gold was discovered at Warrandyte in Travel Destination Yarra Valley in 1851, sparking the Victorian Gold Rush. Gold fever turned Melbourne into a boom town with discoveries at Ballarat and Bendigo.
So much money was sent to Britain (Australia was still a colony of Britain and the taxes on gold belonged to the Crown) that it funded the expansion of the British Empire. Flooding was always a problem and the Upper Yarra Dam was built in 1888 to provide flood control and a water supply for the growing city. The Yarra Dam was upgraded and completed by 1957 to provide a stable water supply.
Things to Do
Yarra Valley is the home of the Victorian wine industry. The wineries of the Yarra are excellent. Small group of private wine tours are available. The wine and food tour of the Yarra Valley is worth checking out. If you like classic cars, take the Classic Convertible Wine Tour. Get a bird’s eye view from an early morning hot air balloon flight. The Puffing Billy Steam Train takes a ride through the bushland. This is a great way to get the smell and feel of the Australian eucalypts on a really fun excursion. Healesville Sanctuary (take a day tour to include it and the wineries) has one of the best selections of wildlife in Australia.
Map of Yarra Valley
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Yarra Valley