This is the heart of wine country. Spectacular, lush countryside that is a brilliant place to unwind within arm’s reach of nearby Melbourne. This proximity makes it a popular spot to escape to on a weekend getaway, and for getting deep into the heart of the soothing greenery there are few places better.
Head into this Carbon-rich forest home to many of Australia’s unique native species including kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, the marvellous platypi and over 120 species of native plants – the most iconic of which is the mountain ash – and find yourself feeling rejuvenated with every step you take into the trees. From woodland walks to strolling among the treetops, the Yarra Ranges National Park is one of Oz’s real hidden treasures that is definitely worth your visit if you are travelling to Melbourne.
Here are a selection of the best activities for a couple of days out in the freshness of the local air.
Stroll among the tallest flowering trees in the world on this captivating 2km walk through the Yarra Ranges National Park. Rare mountain ash trees are all around you, and the path culminates at a 85-metre tall behemoth charmingly named ‘Big Tree’, as well as taking in two beautiful waterfalls along the way.
The Yarra Valley provides an ideal habitat for a wide range of intriguing creatures and plant life. Bright-coloured parrots, delicate honeyeaters and cute wallabies are all there for spotting all year round on an eco journey through the forest, while winter is prime time for laying your eyes on Superb Lyrebirds, a large Australian-native songbird. Book yourself onto a night tour when darkness falls and you will see a whole new set of species too, including the world’s largest gliding possum, the Greater Glider.
Bicentennial National Trail
This is the mothership of all adventures in the Yarra Valley. The world’s longest fully marked trail for non-motorised travelling is 5,330 kilometres long in all, and the Healsville to Narbethong Section of the route is found in the Yarra Valley. You can tackle this trail on horseback, on a mountain bike or on foot, and you will come across some magnificent vistas across Victoria.
Experience the serenity of the ancient treetops on this 350 metre-long walkway high above the forest floor at Donna Buang. You will be surrounded by the ferns, mosses and other greenery that characterise the sweet-smelling rainforest ecosystem here and there are a number of opportune openings on the walkway which give great views of Cement Creek flowing by.