Fabulous art, amazing flavours and real experiences in nature are closer than you think. On the fringe of suburban Melbourne, Manningham is a getaway destination that feels just minutes away.
As the houses and traffic lights melt away in preference for open pastures and tall trees, so too will the preoccupations of city life. Drive in and dive in – there’s a ‘worlds away’ feel to explore that is immersive, restorative and delicious!
Getting there: A drive around Manningham will take you to the suburbs of Bulleen, Templestowe, Doncaster East, Warrandyte and Wonga Park and an easy access route is via the Eastern Freeway (M3).
Three ways to make art matter
Manningham is a region that is rich in artistic heritage – potters, painters, in fact artists of all descriptions, have called this region home and drawn inspiration from the natural surrounds.
One not-to-be-missed arts destination is Heide Museum of Modern Art. With an impressive sculpture garden, local and international exhibitions in several galleries, a fabulous once a month Makers Market, and gorgeous glass walled café onsite, there’s a whole day of activities to enjoy in one stunning location. Heide has a long history of supporting the arts with known Australian artists Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester, John Perceval and Charles Blackman all having lived and created works at the site. Heide is a true step into a world of Australian art that is vibrant and alive.
Manningham Art Gallery and Studios in Doncaster is an inclusive art space that brings classes to everyone – regardless of skill level. If you’re planning ahead, check the program and add a class to your day out. There’s everything from pottery to dance – for all ages. Stonehouse Gallery in Warrandyte is also well worth a visit and features the works of many local artists. Located adjacent to the Yarra River you will find immediate inspiration!
When good taste matters
There are plenty of cosy cafes in Warrandyte for relaxed meals in the heart of village life. Many have outlooks to the Yarra River, which weaves through town and offers plenty of walking opportunities for a post-lunch wander. If it’s fine dining you’re after, there are discoveries to be made just a few minutes out of town.
Kellybrook Winery in Wonga Park is a second generation winery set in a secluded valley among rolling hills. Their award winning range of wines is reason enough to visit this pretty vineyard but once you are there, you will also relish the taste of their Riders Brew Co Beers and Kelly Brothers Cider, perfect accompaniments to the range of ‘Grazing Plates’ they offer, or tasty additions to a picnic on their luscious lawn.
The Farm in Warrandyte South is well known as a wedding venue but keep an eye out for their special events for the public, where you can enjoy delicious local produce and admire this stately home and rural setting. The long low verandahs, views to the vines and a fabulous kitchen garden will have you instantly transported to feeling like a local.
And you don’t need to go far to keep it real at Rob Dolan Wines. Located at The Farm, this cellar door is full of character, just like the wines. With a passionate team, dedicated to fun and real food, a visit to Rob Dolan Wines is an essential part of your day! Go early, stay late!
If you’re looking for fresh produce, keep your eyes open for roadside stalls while you drive. Take some fabulous produce home with you and enjoy some country charm all week.
If getting back to nature matters
The first thing you’ll notice about the Yarra River when you wander the banks at Warrandyte is how clear the water is. This living river environment is teaming with birds and wildlife and the patient and the lucky might be treated to a koala sighting, perhaps even a platypus frolic. Layers of native bird songs reverberate throughout the town and a clever kookaburra might be interested in your lunch!
For those looking to exercise their sense of exploration, the walking trails and parks of Manningham are waiting for you! Lace up your walking shoes and fill up your water bottle – any time of the year is a great time to get moving! Ruffy Lake Park, in Templestowe, is the park that ‘has it all’ and has a magnificent playground if you’ve got children to run wild. Soak up the views at Westerfolds Park or explore the oasis that is Currawong Bush Reserve.
Longer wanders are perfectly catered for with trails such as Mullum Mullum Trail, Koonung Creek Trail, or Warrandyte Riverside. The Main Yarra Trail is perfect for shorter or longer sections and if you’re a cyclist you can even pick up the trail in the city and arrive in Manningham on your bike.
There are so many reasons to stop and find the creative heart of Manningham. It’s a perfect ‘day out’ destination with plenty to discover and perfectly situated halfway between the city and the Yarra Valley.