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7 days in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges this winter holidays


27 Apr. 2021

There’s so much to do in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges that it’s worth planning a longer stay and school holidays is the perfect time to escape the city and spend some real time in the mountains and valleys.

Even if you’ve only ever day-tripped to the region, this winter is the perfect time to linger longer – there’s enough to keep the kids occupied for a whole week… and all the family will benefit from some crisp country air, a change of scenery, and a home away from home – we really do deserve it!

Our ‘every day is a fun day’ road trip offers a never ending itinerary to suit all ages and you’ll soon be relishing the ‘times in between’ as the scenic journey is as delightful as the destinations.

We have capital F family fun in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Choose a gorgeous country cottage or Bed N Breakfast with an open fire, or change it up for a farm stay for the little animal lovers in your life. There are restaurants and takeaway options to feed you (parents need a break too), an abundance of wine to taste, and a daily outing just waiting for you!


Healesville Sanctuary is open all school holidays but you’ll need to book now to secure your places. Experience Healesville Sanctuary’s new Lost Sanctuary exhibit and make your way through the wild forest to discover giant animatronic dinosaurs and megafauna around every corner! It’s worth spending a whole day making new friends.


There are so many ways to ride the trails and so many trails, Bring your own bikes from home, or hire on your way through from Yarra Valley Cycles or Girt by Dirt– you might even find a tandem or Ebike for something different . The Warburton to Lilydale Rail Trail is great for little ones with lots of short stretches between towns (important for ice creams along the way!), but we also love riding the Yarra Valley Trail (from Lilydale to Yering) and O’Shannassey Aqueduct (Warburton) is a lovely elevated ride with plenty of views.

After the exertions of the day spend a quiet night in at Belgrave’s Cameo Cinema.


Gumbuya World is the place to go today – the kids will have so much fun they’ll remember it forever. Many parents will already have fond memories of Gumbuya Park from their own childhoods – and today there is even more to enjoy with waterparks, wildlife experiences, and more rides that you can possibly go on in a single day. Book your tickets online


Get out an about in the morning with a hike in the forest. Panton Hill Bushland Reserve is 140 hectares of bushland reserves (in seven sections) which are are significant for their diverse array of native plants, animals and vegetation communities, important regional habitat links, the presence of threatened species, the presence of historical and heritage sites, and opportunities for environmental education and recreation. You can even learn some words in local language! There's more than 200 walks to discover in our downloadable Walks Eguide so you can plan ahead.

Make the most of where you are staying and enjoy the afternoon in - light the fire, roast marshmallows, play baordgames or stream a movie together. Let the world go by and watch it all from the loveliness of your accommodation. Take a stroll in the neighbourhood just like a local and order takeaway for dinner. Quiet days are good days too.


There’s no sibling rivalry when it comes to this suggestion. A visit to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie will tick everyone’s happy box.

Fom this Saturday 27 June their popular Junior Chocolatier Classes will be offered on Saturdays and Monday – Wednesday mornings during the school holidays. Classes limited to 10 children to abide by social distancing regulations. Strict hygiene measures will be in place as usual. Bookings essential here.E

Enjoy a delightfully chocolate-infused sweet and savoury menu for lunch in the cafe. There’s outdoor games and room to run on the lawn outside and some sweet treats to take home to your accommodation (for future bribes…we didn’t say that!). You may or may not drop into Four Pillars Gin (for the adults) on the way past…just sayin’.

If you’ve got a few hours to spare in the afternoon (and want to burn some choc cals) there’s a new Goanna Golf mini Golf course at Yarrambat Golf Course – perfect for playing 18 holes with your minis!


Guaranteed that every child that goes on a Rayner’s Orchard Fruit Taste Adventure tour on the tractor will try a variety of new fruits (and several they have always said were yuk). With more than 400 different types of fruit growing there’s something new and ripe every week of the year. Winter is a great time for citrus – juicy mandarins, pomegranates, and on a tour with Farmer Len you can try everything ripe straight from the tree.

And you can stock up on a whole range of local seasonal produce to take home with you, direct from the region’s happiest farmers. Check out the nursery and have a fruity lunch in the café.


From your base ‘home away from home’ you’re never too far away from the snow! The snow season can vary between mountain destinations (and from week to week) but you will have the winter playgrounds of Lake Mountain Alpine Resort and Mt Donna Buang within an easy drive. Find out about facilities and activities here. Note that some activities are restricted, and there is no gear hire on the mountain, due to social distancing.

That’s a jam-packed, happiness express week away together – and if you need some built in R&R book a second week and take your time.