One of the most beautiful wine regions in Australia is the Yarra Valley. This was the first region that I visited and tried the different wines they had to offer and also the first region that made me fall in love with wines and the process of creating the wines.
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About Yarra Valley
Yarra Valley is the wine region in the Victoria state of Australia. It is surrounded by the Yarra River and is a thriving wine region in Australia. The region is divided into two regions, the Valley Floor and Upper Yarra. Major towns include Yarra Glen, Coldstream, Warburton and Healesville.
The best time to visit Yarra Valley is around Autumn (around March and April) and Spring (around September and October). This is the harvest season and you will find some of the best wines. Because of the cold climate, Yarra Valley is famous for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sparkling wine and the iconic Yarra Valley Shiraz. The region is estimated to have around 80 wineries.
How to get to Yarra Valley?
The best and fastest way to reach Yarra Valley is by driving from Melbourne. Yarra Valley is just around 60 kilometres from the Melbourne city and takes only an hour by road. Visiting Yarra Valley makes it a perfect one day trip from Melbourne.
However, I do not suggest driving unless you are not a wine drinker or are staying in Yarra Valley for the night. If you want to enjoy different wines, then it is best not to drive.
Reaching Yarra Valley on public transport is a bit tricky. One needs to take two modes of public transport. First a train from Parliament station in Melbourne to Lilydale station (one hour train journey). And then take a bus from Lilydale station to Healesville (30 minutes bus journey). Up to date information on public transport can be found on the Public Transport Victoria (PTV) website.
Note this mode of transport becomes more difficult after reaching the Yarra Valley. The wineries are not next to each other and it becomes hard if you want to visit different wineries.
One day wine tours to Yarra Valley
There are one day tours that are organised by tour agencies to visit Yarra Valley. These tours include the wine tasting at different wineries and the transportation between Yarra Valley and Melbourne city. I have visited Yarra Valley twice and both the times I went with tour groups. It is much better to take these tours because you would definitely want to enjoy wine without having to worry about the drive back home.
There are two different times I visited Yarra Valley. Once when I was very new to Melbourne and the other time was when I had stayed in Melbourne for sometime and was missing the wines. The first time I went with Chillax Tours (costing AUD 65) and the second time I went with Yarra Valley wine tasting tour (costing approximately AUD 135).
Different kinds of wines available in Yarra Valley
Note: Yarra Valley has many more variety of wines and not just the ones mentioned below. I have tried the below four of them at different wineries I visited and hence have written only about them.
The best Australian Chardonnay comes from Yarra Valley. The fruit is handpicked in cool weather and chilled before crushing and fermenting in oak barrels. The wine is left in the barrels for several months to ferment. Chardonnay is white wine and dry in taste.
Another dry wine to taste is the Pinot Noir of Yarra Valley. Pinot Noir is a red wine and is generally made with a technique called whole cluster fermentation where the entire grapes with the stems goes into crushing and fermenting.
A bubbly alcoholic wine is the Sparkling wine. It is a mix of both white and red grapes and two thirds of the sparkling wine is made up of red grapes. The Sparkling wine is white in colour and is the wine used for celebrations and occasions. There are numerous fruity flavours in sparkling wines and they range from dry to sweet taste.
The most popular wine in Yarra Valley is Shiraz. It is a red wine and is made from dark skinned grapes. The skin of the grapes are fermented to make Shiraz. The taste of the wine is dry. Shiraz is also very famous in South Australia.
The name Shiraz became popular in Australia and earlier it was known as Syrah. In Australia, the wine was also called as the Hermitage till late 1980s. It was changed because it caused a problem in some of the export markets and hence the name Hermitage was dropped.
Update: !! Unfortunately, the Sticks winery is closed currently.
My most favourite winery in Yarra Valley is the Sticks winery. Established in the year 2000, Sticks winery produces fine wines. I specifically loved their wine called Ratafia. It was divine and so delicious. Even though I have stopped drinking wine now, I can still feel the way the wine made me feel.
Safety for solo female travelers
Yes, Yarra Valley is absolutely safe for solo female travelers. I visited the region twice when I lived in Melbourne and both the times it was solo and I never had any issues whatsoever. However, I would suggest to be cautious especially at nights and if you are not going with any tour agencies.
Are you new to solo traveling or have a lot of questions regarding solo travels? Then read frequently asked question for solo traveling.
Yarra Valley is one of the beautiful wine regions in Australia. If you are a wine drinker and if you love visiting wineries, then Yarra Valley must definitely be on your list. It is absolutely beautiful.
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