Twelve hours in the Yarra Valley

How much can you fit into twelve hours? A helluva lot, as I discovered recently.

Our intentions were to visit the Blue Water Gardens in Yarra Junction but somehow, along the way, we also managed to do some wine tasting, climb a lookout tower, visit a rainforest gallery and almost get lost in a forest of Giant Redwoods.

Feeling a tad like Thelma and Louise, my friend Lily and I headed north, ready for some adventure in the Yarra Valley.

Blue Lotus Water Gardens

For once I did absolutely no research so I had no idea what to expect. What a surprise it was. A place magical beyond words.

The Blue Lotus Water Garden is one of the world’s most spectacular seasonal floral display gardens. I can’t believe it’s only an hour from home and I’d never heard about it.

I wrote about it in my last post, Blue Lotus Love. Thousands of lotus, waterlily and other exotic flowers spread over 12 acres of landscaped grounds and lakes. In short, this is a garden of Eden with ornamental gardens and ponds, walking trails and fountains and so much more.

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Just the facts

Blue Lotus Gardens is at 2628 Warburton Highway, Yarra Junction, Victoria
Open every day until mid-April
www.bluelotus.com.au
Garden Admission: $18 adult

There’s picnic and barbeque facilities and a cafe and kiosk on site overlooking the ponds and gardens.

Great gift shop and nursery for those who want to start their own water garden.

The Redwoods, East Warburton

Beyond Yarra Junction is Warburton, nestled at the foot of the mountains, a town lined with cafes and riverside walks. My sights, however, were set on showing Lily the Redwood Forest out of town. I hadn’t counted on the rough side road or the fact that we were almost out of petrol and her worn tyres were dodgy.

Out there (yes, we made it!) giant Redwood trees tower like giants above us. It’s misty, moody and it feels like we’ve stepped into Sherwood Forest. It’s a place to let your imagination run wild. You probably won’t run into Robin Hood but you can do the next best thing and hug a tree.

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Just the facts

The Redwood Forest is located off Cement Creek Road, about 7kms from Warburton. The road is unsealed and a bit rough but it’s not too far to the parking area, and voila, the forest beckons!

Beyond the forest there are also some great walking tracks along the river.

Don’t forget your camera!

 

The Rainforest Gallery

After refuelling both the car and ourselves back in Warburton, we set off again. There’s no walls in this gallery which has two main attractions. The first is a 15 metre high, 40 metre long aerial walkway named the “Skywalk” and the second is a boardwalk that descends into the Myrtle Beech Rainforest. It’s like a massive natural open air gallery with interpretative signs along the way and a soaring ceiling that never ends.

Giant canopies of lush tree ferns, elevated walkways and boardwalks immerse you in the rainforest. It’s a place to relax as you breath deeper and savour the sweet smells of this pristine environment.

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Just the Facts

The Rainforest Gallery is on Acheron Way at the start of Mt Donna Buang Road about ten minutes from Warburton.

The loop walk is 350 metres, with steps, several levels and takes about 20 minutes. The 40 metre long observation platform takes you into the rainforest canopy 15 metres high above the ground.

 

The look out tower at Mount Donna Buang.

This one wasn’t actually on our list but we missed the turn to Healesville and ended up at the summit. Suddenly summer felt like winter.

The wind was cold yet the look out tower beckoned, at least it did to Lily. I wasn’t so keen to climb it but like any true friend (even a vertigo challenged one) I agreed to scale it with her.

My legs felt like jelly melting on the way up and my vertigo threatened to overwhelm me but, yay, woo-hoo, I did it. And what a view from the top. I even took a photo looking down. Gulp.

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Just the facts:

The lookout tower is on Mt Donna Buang Summit Road Warburton. The tower is 21 metres high at an elevation of 1245 metres. Down below the picnic area has gas barbeques, fireplaces and toilets.

This is the start of many walks in the area and in winter the summit area turns to snow play with three tobboggin areas open.

Wine tasting in Healesville

The Yarra Valley is synonymous with wineries and wine tasting and, over the years I’ve visited many cellars. Healesville was on our radar after our round trip to Warburton however we’d already had our glass of wine over lunch.

Still, at 6.30pm that night, strolling down the Main Street of Healesville we found ourselves in a cosy wine bar adjacent to the Hotel. An hour and four delicious wines later (only the equivalent to one glass we were told by our affable waiter Tim) plus a few teary D and M conversations we were ready to move on. It was getting late.

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Just the facts

Healesville is a great base to explore the Yarra Valley. It’s close to dozens of wineries and landmark dining establishments like Innocent Bystander and The Grand Hotel as well as the Healesville Sanctuary, Hedgend Maze and hot air ballooning.

You can make a day or even a weekend of it in the Healesville area.

Dinner at The Grand Hotel Yarra Glen

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It was after 8pm by the time we reached Yarra Glen and tiredness was (finally) setting in but it was tinged with a heady feeling of contented bliss after our huge dose of nature. And hunger. The Grand Hotel in the centre of town was the obvious choice for a pub meal.

Dinner, coffee and shared tiramisu ended our delectable day out

The Grand Yarra Glen 2Just the facts

The Grand Hotel is at 19 Bell Street Yarra Glen www.yarravalleygrand.com.au
A landmark hotel in the area, built in 1888 and classified with the National Trust
Provides pub food, accommodation & entertainment

 

There’s so much to enjoy in the Yarra Valley (including the delicious Chocalaterie in Yarra Glen) but as for Lily and I, we ran out of time! Still, I guess we need to save something for next time. Plus, hubby would not have been impressed!

The Yarra Valley is only one breezy hour from Melbourne yet it has the ability to transport you to another world.

Who says we need to go far to have some adventure. The key is making time to do it, whether it’s a night away or simply spending twelve hours with a friend.

Here’s to following our bliss and doing what we love. Life is beautiful, if we see it that way.

Keep enjoying the journey.

In love and light.


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131 thoughts on “Twelve hours in the Yarra Valley

  1. Oh my goodness Miriam, what a super twelve hours packed full of wonder.. Loved the Forest, that Climb!! wow.. tree hugging you bet! Loved the one of you with hands extended, looks like you are stood in the middle of a nest.. 🙂
    You have a better head for heights than me.. 🙂 on those stairs..
    Now the wine and meal.. wonderful way to finish of a magnificent day..
    Thank you for sharing the Wonder of your Day Miriam..Loved every moment. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So glad you came along with me Sue, at least virtually. It was a wonderful day and must admit it’s nice to be able to relive it and share it here with you all afterwards. The joys of blogging hey. Hope you’re well. xx ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have without a doubt proven how much can fit into a day, wow 😳. I can only surmise that
    you have so much beauty around you without travelling too far. Those Redwood forests…. how I would love to hug a tree like that.
    There isn’t a place you visited that didn’t tempt. I think I could manage a wine tasting and dinner too.
    Yes, it is important to fill our days with what fills our senses.

    Thank you for this lovely post

    miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Miriam, thank you for your lovely comment and yes, to be quite honest, looking back, I’m amazed at how much we did. It all just seemed to flow. And everything really was very close to each other. Such a beautiful area. Thanks again and hope life is treating you well. xx 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sherwood Forest is very different from that glorious Redwood Forest. The first is more about many varied trees and scrub and when going around where Robin Hood once wandered it’s all on a formed path.

    Back to the Yarra Valley, the gardens would be a visual treat. Lovely 🧡

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Slightly as we stopped for a walk in the forest, and resisted the urge to buy a Robin Hood souvenir. We were on our way to housesit in North Yorkshire 🙂 Interesting how different the forests in various countries, as in density etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Miriam we have visited Melbourne, Mornington Peninsular, Phillip Island and Great Ocean Road, however we have never been to the Yarra Valley. It looks so beautiful and having such natural beauty just an hour from Melbourne is even better. I loved touring Warburton virtually with you. I especially loved the last photos of the trees towering to the sky. There is just something about trees that is wise and wonderful to me. We are hoping for a long weekend to Melbourne sometime this year and I will definitely be putting your 12 hour visit on our itinerary. Loved everything about this post. I also wondered if you would like to be a guest on my Over 50 & Thriving Series. If so, can you shoot me an email at sue@sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au and I can send further details? Have a beautiful weekend – it’s nearly Friday! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue, I’m so glad you enjoyed this virtual tour of Warburton and surrounds. I feel like it barely scratched the surface of what the Yarra Valley has to offer but it’s a start. You’ll love the area when you visit and if you love trees you definitely won’t want to miss the forests around Warburton. Enjoy. As for your offer to be a guest on your Over 50 series, I’m honoured and delighted. Thank you for thinking of me. I have a bit on at the moment but will try and email you later today. Have a wonderful weekend yourself and we’ll talk soon. xx

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  5. What a fantastic way to spend 12 hours with a friend. You started out with a plan, and got an adventure. You even kicked your friendship up a notch, and climbed to even greater heights in space and time. Bravo on just being one with nature. Loved your photographs. I also found myself longing to taste some wine, have a fine dinner, and share dessert with my special friend for 12 hours. It seems to have provided wonderous moments for you and yours. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’ve got a gorgeous smile, Miriam. It’s so good to see you happy! It sends these happy vibes across the internet. I never knew lotus was found in Australia. I love the lotus. 🙂 The watchtower looks scary. You made it to the top! Good for you! I’ve never hugged a tree, but I’m so tempted to do it after seeing you so happy. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, go on Cheryl, go and hug a tree, it’s such a wonderful feeling. 😊 As for spreading those happy vibes, you’ve just done that with your gorgeous comment to me. Thank you my lovely friend. xx 😘

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you. I have been really great. Enjoying our new home, area, and homeschooling. Getting out a little bit and making some new friends. Spring is on it’s way and Little Bit and I are ready to get back on the hiking trails. How are you kids doing and your husband? Ever see that sheep you had that time? Hope you are doing well. You seem happy. I am very glad for that.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. So glad to hear things are well for you Jess. You sound happy too and content. Happiness is a choice really, isn’t it. I’m well and so’s the family. Sheepy has a good life in the country living with my daughter and her boyfriend. Sunmer’s almost over but the heat is lingering and I’m loving it. xx

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  7. I love the redwood forest! There’s such a sense of calm there. A sort of muffled silence. And those nests are beautiful, aren’t they? I just hope it doesn’t get too popular and lose its peacefulness. Good for you, climbing up the tower! It’s a great view from up there and I imagine, given your vertigo, you would have felt quite the sense of achievement afterwards. A great post, Miriam, showing a chunk of the delights awaiting in the Yarra Valley. 👏🌻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kim, thanks so much and yes, it really was just a chunk of the delights as there’s so much to explore and experience in the Yarra Valley. Why do I have a sense that you know it well? 🙂

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  8. Now that’s a lovely virtual visit! Thanks for sharing your day and gorgeous pics, Miriam. I would love to go to the Redwoods, in Warburton, and the Blue lotus Gardens. Both places seem so nice. Your fellow rebel and tree hugger WP friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Jo, I actually thought of you the other day, and wished I’d tagged you in this post for your Monday walk. But no worries, this scattered mind of mine thinks of things way too late. 😌 Hope you’re well. xx

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  9. Hi Miriam! So happy to see you out exploring with a friend and extracting every ounce of beauty around you. Like you always do. Just wanted to pop in and say hello. Hope you are doing well and enjoying the hell out of your summer. One question before I go…are there… snakes and spiders in the forest?!?! When I see your photos I think, GORGEOUS, then I quickly think, OH MY. Ha! We only have cougars and bears here so please forgive my ignorance. ANYWAY, so good to see your smiling face! Big hug from me! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tanya, always great to see you here. And I had to smile at your comment, though it’s a fair enough question. Australia gets a bad rap about its snakes and spiders and I guess rightly so, cos we DO have some nasty ones. Having said that however I’ve hardly seen any in all my years adventuring and there were none in that forest (that I could see), though I was VERY mindful when I climbed into that giant nest!! All part of the adventure I suppose. Bears and cougars! Now that seems wild in comparison. Anyway, i hope you’re keeping well and out of mischief my friend! Big hug back from me xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ann and yeah, climbing that tower wasn’t exactly high on my list of things to do but that’s ok. A bit of stretching out of our comfort zone never hurt anyone. Have a great weekend. xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, Miriam, I didn’t expect there’s a giant Blue Lotus Garden not too far from where you are. What a great way to spend 12 hours with a friend. I can see that you’re close to Redwood. They are huge. There’s Redwood forest in California also.The wine and dine are just great.
    If I do come back to Australia, I want to go to the Blue Lotus Water Garden. Thank you for sharing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Miriam, a wonderful whirlwind of a tour for you and Lily! 😀😀 You are indeed a true friend, braving the dizzy heights but what a fantastic experience and views, even if vertigo-inducing! I reckon you earned the wine tasting and delicious dinner. I love the photo of you hugging the Redwood – you look in your element and as if you don’t want to let go!😀 Twelve hours can indeed be amazing when filled with such adventures.Happy Trails! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I’ve had a heavenly weekend … it’s been warm (18 degrees centigrade) and sunny and we’ve spent a couple of days on the coast! I feel so alive and refreshed!! BTW I meant to say congratulations on your nomination for the Bloggers Bash award! Best of luck & I’ll be voting for you! xx

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Aww, thanks Annika, that’s so nice of you. And I’m so glad you had such a wonderful and refreshing weekend. Nothing beats time by the sea to recharge the batteries. Have a great week ahead too. xx

          Liked by 1 person

  12. Miriam, this really made me want to travel. I didn’t know that you had Redwood forests. I thought they only grew in the US. You have taught me something new and inspired me to start planning my summer camping trips. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow Miriam, you certainly packed a huge amount into this time frame! I love your sense of adventure and commend you for climbing the tower especially being vertigo challenged. Your photos are so glorious and show us exactly what you saw so thanks for sharing with us.xx

    Liked by 1 person

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