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Cosy Up this Winter in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges

See & Do Winter

As the winter chill sets in, there's no place better to cosy up than in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Misty hills, towering frost-covered trees and quaint villages that feel straight out of a storybook.

Our region boasts some of Victoria’s most breathtaking landscapes if we do say so ourselves, and they take on a whole new level of beauty in winter. It’s the perfect backdrop for a romantic getaway or a peaceful retreat.

Whether you’re planning a romantic escape, a family getaway, or a solo adventure, enjoy a winter experience like no other.

Grab your scarf and beanie, and get ready to embrace the season in style. It's an absolute haven of warmth and charm.

Yarra Valley Hot Chocolate

Warm Your Bones

Winter here means indulging in some serious comfort food and drink. Think hearty meals by crackling fires in cozy country pubs or sampling world-class wines and artisanal cheeses at local vineyards. Whether you’re into gourmet dining or prefer something more casual like a hot chocolate by the fireplace, we got you covered.

Yara Valley Chocolaterie makes a mean hot chocolate you simply can't pass up. And depending on when you visit, you might find yourself in the middle of their incredibly tasty festivals celebrating hot chocolate, rocky road, brownies and more.

Their famous hot chocolate is always on the menu with a season menu of special flavours, so there's always something delicious to try like their Sticky Toffee and Burnt Orange Caramel Brownie Hot Chocolate....the ultimate in winter indulgence (pictured above).

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Yarra Valley winters are best enjoyed with a mug of steaming mulled cider. Head to Napoleone Cider and settle in by their cosy wood-fired brazier. On weekends, sip on their signature mulled cider, made with a delicious blend of spices that will chase away the chill.

Relax by the fire, savour the flavours, and breathe in the fresh country air. Plus, your beloved pups are welcome, too!

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Rochford Wines offers a cosy winter escape filled with warmth and charm. With welcoming spaces such as Isabella's Restaurant (pictured above), where you're greeted by panoramic views stretching across the valley and the comforting crackle of a fireplace. It's an ideal scene for fireside dining with their signature slow-cooked meats and hearty vegetarian dishes.

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Alternatively, Rochford's lakeside Il Vigneto Pizzeria (above) serves authentic Italian fare from a wood-fired oven, enticing you to savour every bite in a laid-back setting. The pizzeria's lively ambience makes it the perfect spot to create memorable moments with family and friends. Il Vigneto also welcomes pets, ensuring your visit is a true family affair.

A visit to Rochford would be incomplete without exploring their cellar door and award-winning wines.

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A Hearty Meal (and free toboggans)

There's no shortage of amazing places to enjoy a hearty feed with a warm snuggly fire warming the surroundings. Comfort food? Yes, please and here's a guide to some of the best places to dine by the fire.

For diners looking for a little extra, we can't pass up a Good Food Guide Chef-hatte curry on a cold day and South Indian restaurant, Babajis Kerala Kitchen is gonna your winter go-to in Warburton. Locals already know how amazing this place is and in winter, as you head into Warburton to enjoy the snow at Mt Donna Buang, you can pick up a free toboggan hire when you dine in.

They also offer outdoor dog-friendly open fires overlooking the Yarra Rover where you can warm your bones with a hot curry, hot Rasam plungers (spicy South Indian tomato & tamarind broth) or a spiced mulled wine.

Alternatively, step inside and sample their Indian whisky and local wines by the open fire.

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If enjoying a great glass of Yarra Valley wine in front of a crackling fire is your perfect winter warmer, Fondata 1872 (pictured above with florals by Edward and I and photographed by Allie Claire Creative) is open Wednesday to Sunday and their winter pasta and wine nights are quintessentially cosy.

Likewise in the Dandenong Ranges, there's always something on at Micawber Tavern, paired with a hearty comforting pub-style meal. Grab a seat by the log fire and warm your bones with a great meal and often, live entertainment too. Check their busy roster of live music and special events.

Puffing Billy

Winter Play

For those who love a bit of adventure, winter in the Yarra Valley and Dandenongs offers plenty to do. Explore misty forests on scenic hikes, visit charming gardens where winter blooms add splashes of colour, or hop aboard the Puffing Billy steam train for a nostalgic journey through the hills.

An excellent choice any day of the year (they're open 365 days), Healesville Sanctuary will once again transform into a winter wine festival with the return of their much loved Wine & Wildlife festival on Aug 24-25. With over 20 local wineries, breweries and distilleries setting up cellar doors, this feel-good wine event will leave a rosé in your cheeks as you sip and saunter from tepee to tepee knowing proceeds contribute to the life-saving rehabilitation work undertaken at the Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital.

Dress for adventure in your winter woollies and gumboots. For people needing extra warmth, bonfires will be scattered around, while those who love a boogie can enjoy live acoustic music.

There will be non-alcoholic drinks and food trucks along with the Sanctuary's three onsite cafes. Your ticket includes a tasting glass and exclusive entry into the Sanctuary, too.

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Winter fruits are also in season at Rayner's Orchards and whether you're looking for school holiday fun or an avid foodie, there;'s something for all to enjoy, even during winter.

Sample fruits as you take a tour via tractor and learn about their orchard and the varieties grown here. Foodies and families alike can pick their own fruit to enjoy at home to create the perfect wintery fruit cobbler, muffins or jams. Open 7 days a week there are always at least 8 or more fruits in season to try at any time

There’s something magical about experiencing nature in its winter cloak, and this region allows you to do just that. Keen on snow? Here you'll find the closest snow to Melbourne, roughly an hour away from Melbourne's CBD in Warburton.

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Snuggle In, Snuggle Up

Accommodation options here are diverse and suit any style of traveller. From kid-friendly to off-the-grid tiny houses where peace is a certainty, boutique guesthouses and hotel-style accommodations with spa facilities to charming bed and breakfasts tucked away in the hills, you’ll find the perfect place to snuggle up after a day of exploring.

The Farmhouse at Meletos (below), located at Stones of the Yarra Valley offers an ideal spot to curl up in the cooler months and enjoy a glass of something local, or time to catch up on that book you've been meaning to read.

Farmhouse

Packed with eclectic charm and quality pub food, ideal for a winter's evening, Yarra Valley Grand, offers an extensive range of local wines and brews, all matched with great regional hospitality. This winter, book your visit and tailor your perfect weekend exploring everything the Yarra Valley offers. This winter, save 25% off your total bill when you stay for 2 nights or more and bunker down with a complimentary bottle of local wine in one of the 10 rooms.

The Manager's House (pictured below) includes large communal spaces, a cozy fireplace, and 4 bedrooms is the perfect getaway with mates! To sweeten the deal, in-house guests who purchase a $80 voucher will receive an additional $20 free to spend across food and beverages during their stay.

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