Exploring Yarra Valley
Whether you're a wine connoisseur or a nature enthusiast, it's without a doubt that Yarra Valley has a whole lot to offer. From popular attractions such as Puffing Billy and Healesville Sanctuary, to award winning wineries, there's plenty to see and do for your well deserved weekender or mini road trip.
While the Shacky experience is all about discovering local gems for yourself, we thought we’d give you a hand with a small list of our personal favourites in the area, as well as some local gems you won't find writeups for from our hosts!
Nature and Walks
The Ada Tree
This giant Mountain Ash is said to be one of Victoria’s largest living trees and the biggest hardwood tree in the world. It is estimated to be over 300 years old and is 76 meters tall with a girth of 15 meters. It once was even taller, possibly 120 meters tall, but the top has been blown out by a lightning strike. The easy 3.2km return walk through the myrtle beech rainforest is lovely with many points of interest along the way.
How to get there:
- From Powelltown - about 6kms past Powelltown turn right Big Creek Road. Drive for 24kms along this forest road to access the Ada Tree car park on Ada River Road.
- From Warburton - follow Warburton-Woods Point Road through East Warburton and turn right onto Brahams Road, after 13kms turn left onto Big Creek Road and continue to Ada River Road.
La La Falls
The enjoyable walk through Mountain Ash forest and temperate rainforest to the falls is approximately 3.2kms return. The track is graded and suitable for people of all fitness levels with some slight inclines.
How to get there:
- La La Falls is a short drive from the Warburton township. Follow the signs from Park Road (opposite the Sanitarium factory) along Old Warburton Road, to the start of the track on Irruka Road.
This beautiful site features a 40 metre long observation platform which takes you into the rainforest canopy 15 metres above the ground in the Yarra Ranges National Park near Warburton. A 350 metre long elevated walkway takes you through the Rainforest Gallery where you will see magnificent 65 metre tall old growth Mountain Ash trees, ancient Myrtle Beech trees (many of which could be up to 300 to 400 years old), ferns, mosses and other plants that make up this damp and diverse rainforest environment.
How to get there:
- From Warburton follow Mt Donna Buang Rd for about 8kms until you reach Acheron Way. The Rainforest Gallery is on your right.
Nancy's of the Valley - Yarra Junction
Only a 15 minute drive away, this lovely, welcoming café serves up the best coffee in the area. Their food is amazing as well. Delicious cakes and treats and wholesome, quirky dishes created with seasonal, local and organic produce. Plenty of gluten free and paleo options as well.
Gladysdale Bakehouse – Yarra Junction
The best pies you’ll ever have! A huge range of flavours makes it very hard to choose! Their salads are amazing as well and are made fresh daily. There is also a big selection of deserts and cakes that are divine, so make sure to save some room!
The Independent - Gembrook
This restaurant has put Gembrook on the map! It’s very popular, so make sure you book. Contemporary Argentinian food in a casual but stylish setting.
Little Joe – Warburton
Relaxed and great food! Woodfired pizza and tapas, Yarra Valley wine, boutique beer, locally roasted coffee, artisan pastries and turkish bread.
We are an easy 13kms from the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail. The 38km 'Warby Trail' meanders through beautiful bushland, wineries and farmlands.
Running parallel with the Warburton Rail Trail, the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail is set into the mountain ranges, and therefore provides a different perspective to the environment. Surrounded by tall trees, and ferns, the trail allows for spectacular views of the Yarra Valley.
The Cog Bike Cafe in Warburton offers a range of bikes for hire, including pedal-assist (e-bikes) for those so inclined! Located right at the end the Warby Trail they have a range of great local maps and the knowledge to steer you in the right direction.
Pedal Pickups is a great service to utilise. They will get you (and your bikes) back to your car or the Shacky.
Fresh From the Farm
A 10 minute drive away is Rayner’s Orchard, a boutique fruit orchard that grows over 350 varieties of fruit. Get all your stonefruit fresh, ripened on the tree along with all their stonefruit based products such as jams, chutneys, fruit leather & fruit jellies.
Take a Tractor Fruit Tasting Tour through the groves of stone fruit trees, sampling the freshest fruit, and learning all about the trees and varieties. Open 7 days a week with a Café on site.
An award winning commercial strawberry farm, which produces some of the finest strawberries in Australia. Pick your own delicious fruit straight from the plant, or purchase farm fresh pre-packaged strawberries. There is also a selection of delicious gourmet products available. Enjoy the beautiful surrounds and relax with a coffee and cake from the ‘Berry Café’.
Open Friday – Sunday, November – April.
Yarra Valley Dairy
Yarra Valley Dairy is located in the farm's 100 year old milking shed which has beautiful views of the Yarra Valley. The Cheese Shop is open 10.30am -5:00pm every day where you can sample their famous cheeses. All of the handmade Farmhouse Cheeses are available for purchase in the store alongside a range of carefully selected regional produce, local wines and homewares.
Come along and pick your own cherries, raspberries, boysenberries and blackberries 7 days a week from November to January. Persimmons are also available in May.
Kerr's Classified Locations
These are some of our hosts Sarah and Matt Kerr's favourite, lesser known spots in the area!
Just outside of Warburton is a forest of Californian Redwoods. Planted in 1930, there are over 1,476 trees ranging from 20 metres to the tallest being 55 metres. As you walk into the forest, you feel as if you are entering another world. The silence is surreal and the dappled light stunning.
Not so long ago, this was a hidden secret that not even all locals knew existed. It has recently been discovered and shared around social media however, you can still fluke having this mystical forest all to yourself – especially if you visit mid-week.
One reason for its sudden fame is to do with the work of local artist David Digapony who creates magical sculptures amongst the trees woven with the fallen branches. The sculptures rise and fall and you may be lucky enough to find one when you visit.
Wander through the forest to the other side and follow the sound of gushing water until you come upon the beautiful river.
How to get there:
- About 8km from the main road through Warburton, turn left into Cement Creek Road (it's a gravel road). Pass the bridge and keep going until you see the forest on your right, you can park there. Walk through the gap next to the gate and you’re there.
Seven Acre Rock
Seven Acre Rock is a large rocky outcrop that provides some of the most spectacular views of the Yarra State Forest, Bunyip State Park and adjoining farm land. On a clear day, it is possible to see Western Port Bay and Port Phillip Bay.
Look out for Lyrebirds as you walk and be careful out on the rock as it can be slippery in wet weather.
Make sure you head into Powelltown afterwards to visit the Powelly Pub. Fantastic food and great atmosphere!
How to get there:
- From Yarra Junction, head towards Powelltown. After about 14kms, just before Powelltown, turn right into the unsealed Learmonth Creek Road. Drive for approximately 9kms and turn left onto Bunyip Rd at a T intersection. Not far along you’ll see a picnic area on the right and a track heading off on the left. Park here and walk along the track for 600m.