Make a run for the hills where cool-climate wine, produce and activities await

See and do

It’s hard to believe the Yarra Valley is so close to Melbourne. One minute you’re in the CBD, the next suburbia and then all of a sudden, rolling hills covered in vines and paddocks with cows aplenty. And wine and produce is what this region’s all about. The region’s world-renowned producers of cool-climate wines have helped put the Yarra Valley on the map for connoisseurs and everyday lovers of a good drop.

One way to see the wineries is from above and Global Ballooning offer a number of flights, including at sunrise, the top time to see the Yarra in all of its glory.

For a sugar hit after the flight, stop by Kennedy & Wilson for a chocolate tasting and take home a deck of Thins. 203 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville 3777. 03 9739 0518. Head to the TarraWarra Museum of Art, the region’s top gallery featuring Australian art from the second half of the 20th century. 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd, TarraWarra 3775. 03 5957 3100.

In the picturesque Healesville Village you’ll discover shopping, cafés and food producers – pack a cooler bag to take some of the local delights home from Kitchen & Butcher. 258 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville 3777.

Eat and drink

Book a table at Bella Vedere in Coldstream, where the focus is on organic and regional produce. Owner and executive chef Gary Cooper likes to keep things local, so most produce is sourced from the Yarra Valley. Menu highlights include quail and Swiss brown pie, lamb sweetbreads fried in molasses butter, and pickled sweet ham on the bone with black pudding. 874 Maroondah Hwy, Coldstream 3770. 03 5962 6161. Notable winery De Bortoli isn’t just a place to swirl some cool-climate wines, it’s one that offers a well-priced, locally inspired menu highlighted by its antipasto tasting board, pastas (order the gnocchi ragu) and desserts (go the semifreddo). Wash it down with their Yarra Valley Reserve Release Chardonnay. 58 Pinnacle Ln, Dixons Creek 3775. 03 5965 2271. Beer and cider production have a long history in the region and fans will relish what the Yarra Valley has to offer. You can download a Yarra Valley Cider and Ale Trail map that takes in seven of the region’s top producers. Don’t skip the Coldstream and White Rabbit breweries.

Stay

From resorts to guesthouses and B&Bs, there’s a myriad of options when it comes to bedding down. Book in at the Yering Gorge Cottages, self-contained villa-style rooms that come complete with a spa and are hidden in the heart of a private nature reserve on the banks of the Yarra River. 215 Victoria Rd, Yering 3770. 03 9739 0110. Other boutique places to stay include Harvest House, Furmston House and the Healesville Hotel.

Must do

This month sees the return of the Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival 2014 over three days featuring the Yarra Valley’s best wineries, restaurants, food, cider and ale producers along with venues showcasing more than 60 events. Feb 14-16.

Time Out's top five Yarra Valley wineries

For more information, visit Victoria.

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