The Cullen sits pretty in Prahran’s bustling urban scene, but don’t let that stop you exploring further afield. Whether you’ve got a day, week or month to stay and play, Melbourne has plenty of daytrip destinations crying out for a visit. Where to start then? The Yarra Valley gets our pick for an easy (and delicious) drive out in Melbourne’s eastern reaches.
We’ve pulled together an easy agenda kicking off in the local neighbourhood and winding out to the Yarra Valley and Healesville. With a day up your sleeve, you can take your time and see the sights, making it back in time for a nightcap.
High Street, Armadale
Before you get ahead of yourself, you’re going to want fuel for the journey. Not the petrol kind (our Smarties are pretty good like that), but the steaming cuppa joe kind. Along High Street in Armadale you’ll find plenty of pint-sized coffee houses, but Walk Don’t Run gets our vote for sheer prettiness (and a superfood-savvy menu). Plus, it’s just around the corner from our favourite print paradise Mister Zimi, worth a peek if you’re in the market for a style souvenir.
Walk Don’t Run: Map link
Mister Zimi: Map Link
Yarra Valley Picnicking
You know you’ve hit the Yarra Valley when the hills open up, the vineyards sprawl and the fresh produce is everywhere you look. Yarra Valley Dairy celebrates the best of the local bunch, from cheeses to preserves, fresh bread and of course wine. Our best bet? Stock up a picnic basket with your preferred selection, then jump back in the car and head along to somewhere nearby with a view. Some great picnic spot suggestions are Warramate Hills Reserve for a natural view, or Domaine Chandon if you prefer to pick up a glass of sparkling with your nibbles. http://chandon.com.au/component/zoo/item/creating-a-late-summer-picnic.html
Yarra Valley Dairy: Map link
Warramate Fauna Reserve: Map link
Domaine Chandon: Map link
TarraWarra Museum of Art
Once you’ve had your fill of picnicking, immerse yourself in some local art. Not just an award-winning winery, the TarraWarra estate also plays host to an art museum, boasting works from John Brack, Brett Whitley and John Olsen, amongst rotating contemporary collections. Map link.
Healesville Contemporary Art Space
If you haven’t quite got your fill of an arty afternoon, head back towards Melbourne to Healesville where the new Contemporary Art Space, an industrial, subterranean space where the work is both local and for sale. If you’re looking to uncover an emerging gem, this would be your best bet to do so. Map link.
After all that gallery hopping, you might be ready to head back to the city before dark. Now you’re in Healesville it’s easy just by following that central highway home, but if you want to stick around and grab a bite to eat, you’ve got plenty of options to do so. Our unparalleled favourite has to be Giant Steps, the tried and tested restaurant, winery and bakery perched in the centre of Healesville. With a glass of the local brew in hand and a piping-hot pizza on your plate, we’d say the day ends on a high note. Map link.
After you’ve had your fill, jump back on the Maroondah Highway out of Healesville and follow it past Lilydale and back into suburbia. You can then jump back on the Eastern Freeway (M3) and let that take you back to Melbourne in just over an hour.
Now you’ve got the smarts on where to go, be prepared and book yourself in a package to ensure you grab a Smartie when you stay. Our ‘Get The Smarts’ package will have it all covered, or speak to us to upgrade when you check-in.