Published 10 August 2020
While Warburton may be the obvious destination for any trip you take along the Warburton Highway, there are so many reasons to stop along the way. Pretty rural towns, world-class wineries and special views are dotted along the highway, so take a moment to stop and savour a newly discovered wine, take an Instagram-worthy photo, or enjoy a walk or cycle on one of Victoria’s best rail trails.
Just past Lilydale, take a right on the B380 (otherwise known as the Warburton Highway) and follow the signs for a delicious day. The townships of Wandin, Seville, Woori Yallock, Yarra Junction and Warburton all offer something unique. Start early, there’s lots to do.
Some of Victoria’s most revered wineries are right here in the Upper Yarra Valley, and the grapes grown in the particular cool climate conditions on ‘this side of the hill’ are sought after for premium wines that are welcomed on tables worldwide. These are boutique wineries where your cellar door tasting is often as close to the winemaker as you can get!
Sir Paz, Wandin East. With a touch of the Mediterranean, this family owned vineyard is a dream realised over decades. Sir Paz has the Yarra Valley’s highest altitude vineyard, so in addition to their hand picked, ‘gently processed’ wines you can also enjoy captivating views sweeping across the Yarra Valley.
Elmswood Estate, Seville. Uncompromising wines from a vineyard that makes the most of its elevation (240 metres above sea level), climactic conditions and rich soil. Considered one of the “Dark Horses” in winemaking, this cellar door experience will enrich your appreciation of wine and winemaking. (And the elm lined driveway is a photographers delight!)
Five Oaks Vineyard, Wandin East. These award-winning wines are known for their finesse and cellaring potentials – some benefit from up to 10-15 years – if you can wait that long. And there really are five 90-year-old oaks on the property, that give this winery an air of distinction that cannot be replicated.
Tip: Always check ahead with the cellar door as trading hours differ.
The winery lunch is a must-do in the Yarra Valley. Tuck in by a roaring fire at the cellar door or dine alfresco with views and vineyards at your fingertips. Choose between these two, but be sure to visit both:
Payne’s Rise is a welcoming lunch option with wood fired pizzas and cheese platters the perfect companions to their well-respected wines. The old homestead (circa 1860) provides an eclectic mix of old and new, and a charming backdrop for photos.
Seville Estate - An award-winning winery as noted in the 2019 James Halliday “Winery of the Year” but Seville Estate is also a winner for its delightful accommodation and restaurant. Enjoy a tasting at the cellar door but take the time to explore the gardens and enjoy a meal. The emphasis here is on home harvested produce, and memorable dining experiences, matched perfectly with estate wines. It’s an experience that cannot be overlooked, but you will need to book ahead.
It’s time for a post-lunch stroll, and a walk on a section of the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is a perfect way to stretch the legs and catch the afternoon sun. Entries to the trail are frequent and well signed providing ample opportunity to walk ‘out and back’ between villages.
If you’re looking to taste more wine there are many more wineries to discover in the region (or you may still have wineries from the morning list to visit if you’ve taken your time). However, if you’ve got the urge to ‘change it up’ for the afternoon and explore beyond the grape then try these:
Warratina Lavender Farm, Wandin North Is it time for afternoon tea? Pop into the teashop for a lavender infused Devonshire, and try-and-buy handmade lavender based beauty products and more in the gift shop. A stroll in the gardens is delightful any time of the year but especially over summer when in full flower.
Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods, Seville. Small batch handmade Yarra-Valley-in-a-jar-to-take-home with you! Yarra Valley Gourmet Foods uses the freshest Australian local produce to manufacture an inspired and beautifully packaged collection of gourmet salad dressings, jams, jellies, mustards, cordials, chutney/relishes, mayonnaise, and vinegars. They are the essential add on for the cheese boards you will create at home to go with the wines you bought today! Fill your larder with goodness.
Don’t forget your designated driver and buy them a treat, or if it’s an ‘all in’ kind of day consider engaging a local tour provider so you can cruise the Upper Yarra Valley with ease –Shortlist Private Tours, Driven Indulgence, Tour the Valley and Yarra Valley A2B all provide tours and charters, and local knowledge is guaranteed.
If you find you just can’t tear yourself away there is always the option to stay overnight.