Best 7 Towns to Visit in the Yarra Valley

by | Last updated Mar 30, 2024 | Melbourne, Victoria | 8 comments

Warburton is one of the main towns to visit in the Yarra Valley

 

The Yarra Valley is known for being one of Australia’s premier wine regions. But amongst the many acres of vines growing there are also a number of many towns to visit in the Yarra Valley. While driving through the Yarra Valley, some towns you will miss if you blink, while others are great little hubs for the local communities.

In this post, come with me as I discover some of the best little towns in the Yarra Valley. Whether you visit the Yarra Valley for a day, a weekend, for a romantic getaway or for a family-friendly holiday, there is plenty to see and do in the towns, and their surrounds, within the Yarra Valley.

Living near the Yarra Valley, I frequent it often and visit many of the towns. Here are 7 of the best Yarra Valley towns to visit on your trip to the Yarra Valley, that I can highly recommend. You could visit them all on a tourist holiday of the Yarra Valley or choose to spend a day or two at one of them.

 

How to Get around the Yarra Valley

 

Public transport is limited in the Yarra Valley. There are some bus services but they are infrequent and not conducive to exploring the Yarra Valley. Best to have a car or go on a tour. You can rent a car through DiscoverCars that allows you to compare cars and costs before you rent.

 

7 Towns to Visit in the Yarra Valley

 

Kicking off with Lilydale, which is known as the gateway to the Yarra Valley.

 

Lilydale

 

Lillydale is referred to as the gateway to the Yarra Valley. This is because most who visit the Yarra Valley will travel along the Maroondah Highway to get there. And Lillydale is on the Maroondah Highway.

 

What is there to see and do in Lilydale

 

  • The commercial centre of Lilydale extends for about one kilometre along the Maroondah Highway. There are shops on either side of this beautiful tree lined street, with more shops in the Lilydale Marketplace Shopping Centre that is located on Hutchinson Street.
  • Lilydale has many coffee shops and restaurants to enjoy.
  • Find many of Lilydale’s oldest buildings along shady tree-lined Castella Street. See Lilydale’s old shire offices built in 1889 which is now home to the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum. This little museum showcases Lilydale’s history.
  • There are many parks in Lilydale to enjoy with the largest being Lilydale Lake. Here you will find much open green land surrounding a beautiful lake.
  • If you love riding bikes, you could go on the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail.

 

Lilydale lake is a beautiful blue lake in the middle of Lilydale for sailing and walking around.

Lilydale Lake

 

Where to Stay in Lilydale

 

Click here to check out where to stay in Lilydale.

 

Coldstream

 

On leaving Lilydale follow the Maroondah Highway which turns left and follow it to the town of Coldstream.

Coldstream is only a small town with the biggest attractions being the 

  • Coldstream Brewery. Yep, there is a brewery in the middle of this wine region of Australia. Great food from burgers to sniztels to pizzas.
  • Coombs Estate which was once the home of the opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. At certain times the estate is open and you can tour around it seeing a lot of her memorabilia in the rooms.
  • Yarra Valley Dairy. Pop in and check out the locally made cheeses.

Facade Coldstream Brewery With The Golden Shivering Man On The Roof. Yarra Valley 2 Day Road Trip.

Pop in for a cold one at the Coldstream Brewery

Coombe Estate In The Yarra Valley Was The Home Of Dame Nellie Melba And It Is Found At Coldstream On The Melba Highway.

Once the home of Dame Nellie Melba

Where to Stay in Coldstream

 

Click here to check out where to stay in Coldstream.

 

Yarra Glen

 

Yarra Glen is a scenic town located in the Yarra Valley. It is also one of the larger towns in the Yarra Valley making it a hub for many people who live in the Yarra Valley.

Most shops are located along Bell Street, the main street of Yarra Glen. You will also find the beautiful Grand Hotel which was built in 1888. 

 

What to See and Do in Yarra Glen

 

  • Walk up and down the Main Street of Yarra Glen taking in the old buildings which are home to many boutique shops, coffee shops and general services for the locals.
  • Visit some of the best wineries in the Yarra Valley near Yarra Glen including Yering Station (south of Yarra Glen on the Melba Hwy) and De Bortoli winery (north of Yarra Glen on the Melba Hwy). 
  • Spend time watching the chocolate being made at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery a short drive from Yarra Glen.
  • If the horses are on, you could spend a day at the races at the Yarra Glen raceway.
  • First Sunday of every month is the Yarra Glen Raceway Market. Held at the race track there are many locally made products and produce on show.

 

Yarra Glen Main Street is a tree lined street with shops either side.

Yarra Glen main street

#YarraValleyChocolaterie&IceCreamery #LiveWorkandPlayinAustralia

never enough chocolate at the Chocolaterie!

Where to Stay in Yarra Glen

 

Click here to check out where to stay in Yarra Glen.

 

Healesville

 

Healesville town was first surveyed in 1864 with timber and farming being its first industries. But it was the arrival of the railway in 1889 that transformed this town into a tourist destinations. Yep, evening the 1860s people from Melbourne were heading to Healesville for day trips, weekend getaways and longer holidays. Today, Healesville is still a major tourist destination with plenty to see and do.

 

What to see and do in Healesville

 

  • Walk up and down Nicholson Street, the main thoroughfare checking out the stores and coffee shops. 
  • Head to the Healesville Animal Sanctuary to get up close and personal to many of Australia’s animals. First opened in 1934 and located deep in the Yarra Hills National Park this is a fabulous zoo to get up and close with the local animals. You can even book a swim with a platypus!  You can purchase your online entry ticket to the Healesville Sanctuary here.
  • There are a number of wineries in the Healesville area along with Four Pillars Gin Distillery for gin tasting.
  • Visit the renowned Beechworth Baker for many sweet delights and great coffee.
  • Enjoy Badger Weir Park with its landscaped picnic areas and rotundas. Great for families visiting Healesville with kids to run off some energy.
  • Just north of Healesville is the Maroondah Reservoir.
  • Just north of Healesville is the beginning of Black Spur, a wonderful drive through tall Ash Trees.

 

Healesville Sanctuary Zoo Entrance. Covered Welcoming Entrance amongst The Trees.

Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville, Yarra Valley Main Street. Tree Lined Street With Cars Parked Either Side.

Healesville main street

Where to Stay in Healesville

 

Click here to check out where to stay in Healesville.

 

Marysville

 

Marysville is located within the heavily forested mountains of the Great Dividing Range. It dates back to the mid-1800s when gold was discovered in the area. It was tragically burnt to the ground in the Black Saturday Fires of 2009 but now lovingly rebuilt. You can reach Marysville by driving along the Black Spur from Healesville through Narbethong to Marysville.

 

What to See and Do in Marysville

 

  • Marysville is built on the banks of the Steavenson River, which runs through Gallipoli Park. In this park  you can relax, have a picnic, maybe a BBQ, listen to the water, go on a walk and just enjoy being outdoors. You can also walk through town and visit the numerous shops and cafes.
  • Some 3km from the main town is Steavenson Falls. The drop is around 84 metres, making one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls. There is an easy 350 metre long track that leads from the car park to the falls where you can see them from several viewing platforms. At night the falls are floodlit until 11pm making for a beautiful site. 
  • Marysville is an ideal bushwalking area with many tracks through the surrounding forest. One of the most popular is Keppels Lookout which can be accessed by driving along Paradise Plains Road or via the walking track from Marysville town or Steavenson Falls. You will get fabulous views over the area.
  • Marysville is also the gateway to one of Australia’s snow areas – Lake Mountain. It rises to 1,433 metres and during the snow season many visit for cross country skiing and snowplay. But you can visit Lake Mountain at other times and if offers many walks.

 

Marysville statue of firefighter are it was obliterated by fire.

Marysville has been rebuilt after the fires

Tall ash trees as you drive Black Spur, Yarra Valley.

reach Marysville after driving Black Spur

Where to Stay in Marysville.

Click here for accommodation options in Marysville

 

Warburton

 

Warburton is some 75km east of Melbourne. It is reached by turning right off the Maroondah Highway onto the Warburton Highway just after the township of Lilydale. The town is in the Yarra Ranges so is heavily treed and runs parallel to the Yarra River. It has been a popular mountain escape area since the early 1900s.

 

What to See and Do in Warburton

 

  • Walk along the town’s main commercial centre and see the multitude of small business, services and a variety of eateries. It is a typical Aussie town – tree lined main street with all the services a small community needs.
  • Visit the Visitor Information Centre to see the large replica of a water wheel used by the logging industry. Unfortunately thanks to covid lockdowns the wheel was halted and thus, the timber got cracks in it making it unsafe to turn. It is still impressive to see.
  • The Yarra River is right on Warburton’s door steps and you can walk the 3 km long path passing by the town centre and crossing iconic bridges over the river. There is also some great fishing in the river.
  • Being in the Yarra State Forest, there are many walking tracks. Take the short drive up Mount Donna Buang to the Rainforest Gallery where you can walk onto a 40 metre long elevated walkway through the tree tops or down to the valley floor. Then head to the top of Mount Donna Buang for views over the area. 
  • There are also picturesque waterfalls to visit. La La Falls are found off Old Warburton Road, south of the town centre. There is a 1.5 km track to reach the falls.

 

Sign of Warburton walk along the Yarra River.

Walk along the Yarra River in Warburton

Bridge over Yarra River at Warburton.

Bridge over the Yarra River, Warburton

Where to Stay in Warburton

 

Click here for accommodation options in Warburton

 

Wandin

 

As you drive along the Warburton Highway in the Yarra Valley, there are many small towns you will encounter. Some of these towns you miss if you blink! One of note is Wandin. Wandin is well-known for its horticulture and today you can still find many fruit farms that allow you to come and pick strawberries, raspberries and other fruits. In the small township there are a few shops and coffee shops.

coffee shop at Wandin in Yarra Valley.

enjoying a coffee in Wandin

 

Where to Stay in Wandin

 

Click here for accommodation options in Wandin

 

Come discover Yarra Valley towns

 

The towns I’ve mentioned in this post are the largest and most notable towns in the Yarra Valley to visit. They are great to base yourself so you can enjoy all it has to offer, from the wineries to the walks to the small towns. So jump in your car and come for a day trip, a romantic getaway or a long weekend to appreciate all that the towns of the Yarra Valley have to offer.

 

Marysville sign, coffee shop in Wandin and main street of Warburton PIN.

8 Comments

  1. Laureen

    Saving this for our next Australia visit. We definitely will be back nd this looks like the perfect thing to add to our next itinerary. I love Australia!!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, I hope you get to spend a lot of time in the Yarra Valley – there is so much to see and do.

      Reply
  2. Maggie

    I’d love to visit Australia’s wine regions! The Yarra valley sounds particulary lovely. I love how historic some of these towns are, like Healesville.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      The Yarra Valley is a wonderful Australian wine region with plenty to see and do including visiting the cute towns, going on walks, getting up close and personal to native animals and of course, enjoying the wine and local produce. I hope you get to Australia one day.

      Reply
  3. Sonia

    I would love to have a vacation week in the Yarra Valley, giving me time to explore each of the towns you mention. I especially like the sound of bushwhacking around Marysville.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      A week in the Yarra Valley would be a great idea – it is a beautiful area to explore.

      Reply
  4. TerrI

    I love that they have signs showing the walking tracks. What a great thing for visitors.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      We have plenty of these signs all over Australia explaining walks – they come in very handy!

      Reply

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Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve Sign shaped like a big white wave with Sharyn McCullum On the Great Ocean Road.

G’Day! Sharyn here, an Aussie loving discovering Australia. Let me show you around so you can discover Australia too.  Read my story here.

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