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Self Drive: Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges, Australia

Victoria Australia Mandala Wines
Victoria Australia
Victoria Australia

Self Drive: Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges, Australia

story by: Inspire Melbourne & Beyond

Escape to the Yarra Valley to cruise the vine-strung hills and rolling farmland, indulging in life’s great pleasures; food, wine and beautiful landscapes. Then disappear into the Dandenong Ranges’ secret fern glades, towering forests and eclectic villages. You can easily base yourself in the Yarra Valley and go on day trips to explore the region.

Day 1:Yarra Valley
Enjoy the easy drive from Melbourne to the Yarra Valley. Stop in the town of Yarra Glen where you can explore the shops and pop into Yering Station for some wine tasting. Nearby is the amazing TarraWarra Museum of Art, a privately funded, public gallery housed in an impressive building.

Next stop is Domaine Chandon, a winery that was established by French champagne house Moët & Chandon in 1986 and is dedicated to the production of sparkling wine. It has a great visitor centre with spectacular views across the vineyard and valley. Here you can do a wine tour, sample the goods and enjoy a late lunch.

Day 2: Dandenong Ranges
Make your way to Belgrave, the home of Puffing Billy, Australia’s oldest steam railway and enjoy a ride travelling 24 km through the beautiful forests and fern gullies of the Dandenong Ranges. The open-sided carriages are the best way to see the stunning views.

After your rail journey take some time to explore the cute villages of the ranges like Olinda, Belgrade and Sassafras that have shops and galleries galore and plenty of places to stop for Devonshire Teas or lunch. Get out into the fresh air in the Dandenong Ranges National Park, it offers a vast network of walking tracks through native bush and is home to the Mount Dandenong Observatory. At 633 metres above sea level, it is the highest point in the ranges and has spectacular views to Melbourne.

Highlights worth seeing along the way
YARRA VALLEY FOOD TRAIL – Stop at the sign-posted gastronomic hotspots to sample, savour, or pick. Call in at orchards, farm gates and roadside stalls to buy local produce directly from the grower.
MOUNT DONNA BUANG – Head to the southern slopes to The Rainforest Gallery with its spectacular observation platform and rainforest walkway.

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