This region can be divided into two separate areas, both close to Melbourne and famed for their natural attractions and scenic beauty.
Located to the north-east of Melbourne is the Yarra Valley. It is Victoria's oldest wine region with over 80 wineries set in picturesque rolling hills mainly around Lilydale, Coldstream, Yarra Glen, Healesville and Seville. The first vines were planted in 1838 at Yering Station and these days the Yarra Valley is recognised as one of Australia's chief cool climate producing regions. Many of the wineries have cellar doors offering wine sales, picnic and BBQ facilities, with some of them also featuring restaurants, cafes and boutique accommodation, making them complete attractions within themselves.
In addition to wineries, the Yarra Valley features fruit farms, bush walks, markets, galleries and attractions for the whole family including the famous Healesville Sanctuary.
The drive north east along the Maroondah Highway from Healesville passes through Black Spur which is noted for its spectacular tall trees and dense forests. Past Black Spur is the small village of Marysville where natural attractions abound at this gateway to the snow resort of Lake Mountain.
The Dandenong Ranges, also know as simply The Dandenongs, are where Melbourne's leafy eastern suburbs meet the mountains and forests. Protected parklands preserve the natural beauty of this area which includes valleys and hills covered in thick temperate rainforest and dense ferny undergrowth. It's a bushwalking and cycling paradise with extensive trails through lush vegetation. From the peak of Mount Dandenong are panoramic views of the city, while the surrounding villages offer boutique accommodation, galleries, markets, beautiful gardens and many plant nurseries. The Puffing Billy steam train runs between Belgrave, Emerald and Gembrook, taking in the scenic landscape of the Dandenong Ranges.
Visitor Information Centres in this region.
Regional photographic features:
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Regional guides on other websites:
Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges destinations:
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