ONE DAY IN THE YARRA VALLEY
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
The Yarra Valley is the region surrounding the Yarra River in Australia. It is about one hour east of Melbourne, and does not include the city itself. The Yarra Valley is a well known day trip destination for both locals and tourists with numerous activities for singles and families.
During my two week stay in Melbourne, I spent a full day in the Yarra Valley and this was our itinerary of activities.
MORNING: HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY
We started off by leaving Melbourne at around 9AM and headed outside of the city to Healesville Sanctuary. It took us about one hour to get to Healesville, and the drive was absolutely beautiful.
Healesville Sanctuary is part of the Zoos Victoria, which has an emphasis on fighting animal extinction. The focus of Healesville is to provide a safe haven for Australian wildlife. In doing so, Healesville is also educating the public about animal welfare and initiatives.
During my visit, I learned about koalas, kangaroos, platypus, and local Australian birds. The keepers gave tips on what you can do in your day to day to improve the lives of these animals. One of the tips provided would make a positive impact to both koalas and birds. This is to use recycled paper. It is something we don't think of often, but it makes a difference in the birds lives. When trees are cut down to create paper, birds lose a home. If these trees are eucalyptus, then koalas could lose a food resource. So, if at the end of the day we still get paper, why wouldn't we want to make a change that is having a positive impact on another living being? After listening to keeper talks, the Sanctuary encouraged pledging to make a difference.
Other animals found in the sanctuary are; dingoes, wombats, emus, wallabies, owls, pelicans, tasmanian devils, and more!
There is also a Wildlife Health Centre which treats sick or injured native animals. During the Aussie fires the centre was caring for many of the orphaned animals surviving. Visitors can go to the centre and see vets at work with the animals. You can see the facilities and learn more about the care required for different animals.
MID-DAY: YARRA VALLEY CHOCOLATERIE & ICE CREAMERY
After a busy morning and early afternoon in Healesville, we were hungry and thirsty! So, we figured spending the rest of the day eating and drinking would be a good choice. We like to eat dessert first, so we made our way to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.
We found plenty of parking, and fields of wine and grass. The scenery was spectacular, and when we actually went in there was free entry and free chocolate tasting! There is a gift shop intertwined with the tastings so you can purchase your favorite chocolates.
For those of you who love ice cream, there were so many options - vegan ones too, and the ice cream is made fresh every day!
The chocolaterie offers sustainably sourced cocoa that benefits the environment, wellbeing in the community, farming, and trust. They believe that "sustainable practices make for better lives and better chocolate - helping us to make life sweeter."
If you are planning your visit to the Chocolaterie, there are numerous activities to sign up for during the month. These include Chocolate Discovery Classes, Taste & Create Workshops, and Chocolate Story Time.
After ordering ice cream and purchasing some local chocolate, we headed to some food and drinks.
AFTERNOON: FOOD AND DRINKS
We headed to Four Pillars Gin first for some drinks and snacks.
Four Pillars Gin: Four Pillars is known for its gin, but also for distilling. The bar itself has a very cool industrial atmosphere - where you can actually see the production area of the liquor. The drinks were amazing, but what struck me the most was the energy of the people working there. It was so lively and upbeat! Two pairs of employees were walking around selling shots and drinks to tables with the proceeds going to fire relief. They even danced and took song requests!
We could have easily spent more time at Four Pillars simply because the vibe and people were great - it was a plus that the drinks and gin were incredible. But alas, we wanted more food, so we headed to Innocent Bystander.
Innocent Bystander: This is the perfect place for pizza and wine! We came here at a busy time, so a dinner table was not ready for us. The host guided us to a cool lounge area where we waited at prior to dinner. We ordered truffle fries, beers and wine. Once at our table we had delicious artisan pizza, family style!
We left Innocent Bystander with hearts and bellies full of food and good times.
The day in the Yarra Valley was incredible! Between the animal encounters, desserts, delicious food, and drinks it was an unforgettable day.
If you end up going there or have been there, let me know what your favorite activity was in the comments below!