Thursday, November 16, 2006

Melbourne and the Yarra Valley Wine Tour: A Traveler's Guide to Victoria

By James Lush

SUMMARY: If you are visiting Melbourne, in the state of Victoria (Australia), you should also make time to visit the gorgeous Yarra Valley - home to over 55 wineries and the very best food and views that the Victorian countryside has to offer. Read on to find out my recommendations for the best things to do, places to go and spots to stay at.

A few weeks ago, I had a month-long vacation in Australia, mostly in Melbourne. It was my third trip to this city and the best one yet. It seems like every time I visit Melbourne, I always discover something new and this time, it was the excellent wineries in the area. I was virtually raving to my friends about all the fine wines I had tasted on my visit. Hence, at their urging, I am writing this traveler's guide to Melbourne, with a special eye on its delightful wine.

Firstly, on any visit to Melbourne, I strongly suggest that first-time visitors take a day or two to explore this magnificent city. Among all of Australia's major cities, this is the one that will likely have that special attraction to even the most jaded, well-traveled and world-weary tourist. As the locals say, Melbourne can mean different things to different people. It may seem foreign at first but there is always something that is strangely familiar and which, on some level, reminds the globe-trotting visitor of home. I guess that's why they call Melbourne a chameleon city.

Melbourne is a city of diverse cultures and remarkable contrasts. Here, different groups have learned to co-exist comfortably with one another. For instance, the Italian neighborhood and the Chinese neighborhood, which are side by side.

Whether your lifestyle is beachside or bohemian, Melbourne has something that will appeal to you, be it the food, wine, art, style, customs, nightlife, businesses or beliefs.

Once you're ready to start your wine tour, the place to begin is the Yarra Valley, a prime wine-growing district that began making wine in the late 19th century. Its cool climate and rich soil are ideal for producing dry red wine, chardonnays and pinot noirs. Among the excellent small wineries are Yeringberg, Yarra Yering, St. Hubert's, Seville Estate and Coldstream Hills.

Sample the offerings of wineries such as de Bortoli, Yarra Yering and Domaine Chandon (sparkling wines). You can have lunch at one of the wineries and spend the night in the area where there are a number of first-class hotels with luxurious accommodations.

On your second day, begin with a hefty breakfast (Yarra Valley offers the popular option of having breakfast on a hot air balloon as you cruise the sky, interested?) before heading to Healesville Sanctuary to view the indigenous koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and platypus. A little way further will take you to the Mornington Peninsula and its 30 wineries. There are excellent accommodations in the area for an overnight stay.

On your third day, have breakfast and taste the wine at Karina Vineyard then head to Dromana Estate for lunch and more wine tasting. The combination of the sea, cool climate and the area's excellent volcanic soil all contribute to the production of exquisite chardonnay and pinot noir. Spend the night in the vicinity.

On your fourth day, with your wine tasting tour over, you may want to ride the ferry to Queenscliff for a tour of the Great Ocean Road before heading back to Melbourne.

If you're visiting Melbourne in Victoria Australia - be sure to also take the time to go and check out the Yarra Valley.

Home to more than 55 wineries plus some amazing restaurants, you can find plenty of great luxury Yarra Valley accommodation - chateaus, bed and breakfasts, retreats, estates, lodges and so forth.


Anonymous said...

Sad to see that the owner of this blog has decided to break copywrite by publishing my article on his/her site and removing the hyperlinks back to my site, as per the terms & conditions of re-publishing my work!!!

PLEASE NOTE: if you publish articles from, you MUST not remove any links or content included.

The whole point of giving you free access to articles for publication is that you will leave the authors' links intact!

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