Travel, Lifestyle

Melbourne Itinerary In A Day With Day Trips to Yarra Valley, Dandenongs and Daylesford

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So you've got just one day in Melbourne. Here's some ideas -  

1. Head to Cumulus Inc in Flinders Lane for an iconic Melbourne coffee and dining experience.

 

2. Walk to nearby Federation Square and check out the eateries, architecture and galleries including the Ian Potter Centre and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Take in the view from the steps of St Paul's.

Walk or take the free Circle Line Tram around the city. 

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3. Check out nearby Hamer Hall and the NGV arts precinct on St Kilda Road.

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4. Head down to Southbank by tram. Go for a walk and enjoy the ambience of the Yarra. Enjoy more shopping and eateries and the lavish Crown Melbourne precinct.

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5. Visit Bourke St Mall and do some shopping in the great stores. Check out the refurbished Myer Store, trendy Zara, Emporium Melbourne shopping precinct and the laneways.

 

6. Grab a coffee nearby eg at places like Manchester Press, Brother Baba Bhudan, Federal Coffee Palace or Captains of Industry, or any number of great cafes. Therere many exciting places to be found in Melbourne's laneways.

 

7. Take in the Melbourne Museum or the Melbourne Aquarium, which are world class (several hours needed at each)!

8. Head out to St Kilda, Brunswick St or Smith St by tram - some of the most eclectic precincts in Melbourne with boutique shopping and amazing restaurants and cafes, and take a stroll along the Esplanade.

 


 

 DAY TRIP TO THE YARRA VALLEY

 1. Visit the amazing Gelaperia in Healesville. He brings high-level artistry to gelato and sorbetto making. He uses the finest locally sourced ingredients to create gelato that is a pleasure to the palette. He favours seasonal flavours like plums, peaches and persimmons. The staff are warm and engaging, this place is popular with both locals and day trippers alike.

2. Want to experience a bit of royalty and refinement? Then visit Coombe Farm Estate the home of opera sensation Dame Nellie Melba. For years this beautiful estate has been hidden behind a large hedge. It has undergone a facelift and has been unveiled in a tasteful and stunning renovation that gives you a window into an iconic period in Victorian and world history.

We took a tour around the grounds the historical homestead was built by Dame Nellie Melba. It features one of Victoria's oldest pools, Charlie Chaplin even swam there. We loved the peacock chairs on the verandah and caught a glimpse of a rooftop entertaining area. Is this Melbourne's original rooftop bar? 

A stroll around the stunning 2.8 hectare gardens offered a plethora of highlights. William Guilefoyle, the same talented designer of the Royal Botanic Gardens, designed the Coombe Farm Estate. Some of our favourite garden delights were the the large hedge of 700 metres that envelopes the property and the captivating Japanese wisterias. The beckoning of secret garden spaces, we enjoyed our stroll amongst the croquet lawn and cypress hedges. 

We headed inside to admire the collection in the gallery and were impressed by Dame Melba's collection of 14 Louis Vuitton bags. The estate also features a James Halliday 5-star rated Cellar Door. Definitely taste the award winning Blanc de Blanc.

After our tour we dined at Coombe Cottage restaurant. Come here for lunch or their famous high tea (only $55 including the tour is amazing value). The menu is savvy with a foodie touch. 

3. Enjoy impressive artisan wines?  Visit Yarra Yering  in Gruyere near Healesville is a winery of distinction. It features some of the best and most iconic wines in Australia.

Dr Carrodus was a visionary who established the winery upon European styles. He was one of the pioneering winemakers who brought the Yarra Valley back to grape in the 1970s. Dr Carrodus was a perfectionist and would pour wines down the drain if they didn't meet his high standards. His wines, like his labels, rarely changed. There was Dry Red No. 1, a blend of classic Bordeaux grape varieties, and Dry Red No. 2, a Cote Rotie style blend of shiraz and viognier.

 

For a small fee, they will take you through their premium reserve wines and back vintages. Sit at a table by the open fire as you taste and enjoy the fine views under the watchful eyes of the cellar door cat. 

 

4. Located on the main street of Healesville is The Sweet Olive. It is a delicatessen and wine bar. The displays showcases premium cured meats, specialty cheeses, fine Italian pastas, local wines, lunch specials and even evening tapas delights. The owners are living their foodie dream, inspired by their holidays in Europe.

The Sweet Olive create their own sweets like chocolate mint infusions and sensational fudge. Your foodie gourmet needs are covered here. Fancy some fresh burrata? Buffalo mozzarella? The Sweet Olive creates specials such as spiced squash soup with orange and coriander yoghurt. Or house cured salmon, pink grapefruit and shaved fennel. This is the perfect place to stock your pantries for a dinner party. 

5. Famous for its high quality fare Healesville Hotel is one of the best dining experiences in regional Victoria. It was one of the first "gastropubs" to kick off the gastropub renaissance. Healesville Hotel has been consistently exciting diners for years with its fresh regional and seasonal produce. 

The Quince dining room is the place to experience the menu from head chef Zoe Birch. She has a passion for food and makes most things from scratch including sourdough bread, cultured butter and pickled vegetables. The kitchen draws on the inspiration of its own garden. Come here for house made pickles, cauliflower cheese croquettes, smoked fish pie, slow cooked pigs jowl and corn fed maltose duck breast. The butcher selection is very popular such as Sher Wagyu rump (marble score seven) or Kitchen & Butcher grass fed Black Angus eye fillet.

The Healesville Hotel charcuterie plate of local produce was a triumph with an expansive array of produce. Slow cooked pigs jowl with apple, radicchio and mustard was cooked perfectly, while the grass fed O'Connor's porterhouse, house cut fries, spinach, Zoe's mustard and salsa verde was a compelling dish. The fare portrays fine modern cuisine with rustic touches. Desserts harkened to our childhood with large toasted marshmallow and lemon curd doughnuts.

6. YV Refreshments is a cafe at a railway station it serves legendary coffee, baked goods, soups and they even run hugely popular dumpling nights! Classic nostalgia combines with a touch of Scandinavian means you can get green smoothies or have a killer sausage roll. 

A local hang out, Refreshments makes great use of the decommissioned Healesville railway station. The place is so charming, check out the old "Refreshments" sign on the platform, the red caboose and if you are lucky you might notice a tray of tomatoes in the sun. 

The food is simple and affordable and includes exceptional toasties, delicious baguettes, frittatas, and super food salads. Dr Marty's crumpets are served with Cunliffe & Waters jam or local honey. The dumpling nights are legendary with hundreds of people queuing for six varieties of dumplings served from an adjacent food truck. 

7. Kitchen & Butcher is a food haven, a one-stop shop in Healesville. This place provides fresh produce in overdrive. Load-up and bring the finest of produce back home. Think charcuterie, gourmet sausages, fine cuts, as well as specialty cheeses and other fresh produce. Kitchen & Butcher also excels when it comes to catering and take home food. Yarra Valley gift hampers are on offer and they run popular workshops. 

Cheese expert Sophie, spent 11 years at Richmond Hill & Larder and sources the best local and international cheeses. Come here for slow roasts, pork and fennel sausages, grass fed Black Angus and popular duck burgers. 

8. Finish the day at Hargreaves Hillin Yarra Glen, a perfect place for craft beer and food lovers - a bold brewery leading the charge on seasonal beers.

On the rise, Hargreaves Hill offers an open window into the craft beer adventure with a smart engaging dining room and bar. Not a flashy large facility, the bar is limited to only a few stools and provides an intimate rewarding experience. Three of the rooms in this converted old bank have a stunning fireplace, where in winter the atmosphere is warm and inviting. 

 

When we arrived at Hargreaves Hill, we sampled the beer tasting board. It showcased the diversity of Hargreaves’ range. The World Loves Melbourne is familiar with the Hargreaves Hill Pale Ale, but we found the stout, the IPA and the pilsener equally seductive.

We had the pleasure of spending time with Beth Williams, one of the co-owners of Hargreaves Hill. She is an interesting character who trained as a professional opera singer. While some craft beer breweries project a full hipster style, Hargreaves Hill has a sense of adventure peppered with a tone of finery and class. Beth spoke about their ever-evolving beer brewing business, which is expanding into interstate markets. 

We tip our hat to Hargreaves Hill, the bar features seasonal beers on taps including a Belgian beer. Food here is impressive and beers are readily matched. Hervey Bay Scallops with garlic crumb and white radish remoulade was a dish to rave about. Stunning also was the fish pie with scallops, trevally, prawns, braised leek, fennel and parmesan mash, as well as the 200g Black Angus eye fillet with pea puree, potato and thyme galette, and seeded mustard jus. Sides of rosemary and sea salt smashed chats and green beans with almonds and ricotta were the perfect accompaniments.

 


 

DAY TRIP TO DANDENONG RANGES

1.  Head to Seasons restaurant at Cloudehill in Olinda for lunch. 

 

During our visit autumn was on full show with hues of copper, red, yellow and purple tones. Seasons is housed within a 1930s converted weatherboard house. Food at Seasons is smart and honest, with a nod to local and seasonal produce. The slow roasted pork belly served with pan-fried potatoes, and house made apple cider sauce was a superb dish, as was the chicken burger with spinach, beetroot and spiced yoghurt on home made buttermilk bun served with sweet potato chips.

The desserts were delicious we had the baked raspberry cheesecake and lemon curd tart, both served with double cream and strawberries.

For accomodation we recommend Botanica Editions - we loved our stay and felt pretty relaxed.  Enjoy the beautifully scenic drive to the Dandenong Ranges and explore the town of Sassafras.  This town is the perfect place to take it easy.  It offers a unique opportunity to unwind and experience village life. For Melbourne folks its only an hour away. 

Sassafras is the kind of town you want to return to over and over again and stroll its charming main street. Here you will find the perfect way to while away the morning into the afternoon. 

2. Start in Sassafras at a chic French inspired café called, Cafe De BeaumarchaisIt is named after Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, a well-known and celebrated French historical figure. Born a watchmaker's son, he rose in French society to become influential in the court of Louis XV as an inventor and music teacher.

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From the moment we stepped through the French doors, we were greeted with chandeliers, couches and wall displays instantly reminding us of France and the café’s namesake. Head here for High Tea. The staff are extremely friendly and can create a High Tea experience for two or larger groups. A visit here is not complete without indulging in one or two cakes.  A local patisserie chef extraordinaire makes these delicious creations. Credit image above © Yarra Ranges Tourism.

3. After having imbibed at Café Beaumarchais check out some of the shops on the street. Our inner child started to cry out and we stopped into Geppettos.  It’s a world of nostalgia and inspiration specialising in wooden toys like marionettes, hand puppets, spinning tops, kaleidoscopes, puzzles and games. These are the kinds of toys you want to keep forever. Our favourite was the Tin Man. The staff are engaging and helpful and the toys are sourced from all over the world.

4. Sassafrass main street has a shop for everyone, we visited one of the oldest shops on the street, Tea Leaves. It is the kind of shop that fills you with fear and excitement all at once. The teapots seem to have their own personalities and call out for you to touch them. The fear creeps in when you hear your mother's voice in the back of your head telling you not to touch. We were particularly entranced with a wall of owl teapots and could feel their eyes follow us around the shop. Credit image above © Yarra Ranges Tourism.

5. We were lucky on our visit and the weather was pretty good but it was still a little chilly. We stopped into Creswick Natural Fibreswhich is owned by Creswick Woollen Mills. The mill is the only coloured woollen spinning mill in the country. The shop features all kinds of things to keep you warm. From alpaca throws made in Ballarat to possum beanies from New Zealand and everything in between. This is the place to find that perfect merino wool scarf or the granddaddy of comfort, a cashmere jumper. You can even find possum garments from New Zealand, which we understand is a very normal thing to find across the ditch. We were a little surprised to see possum garments but as some of you may know, New Zealand has long produced possum goods as a way to keep the numbers under control. 

 

6. Our last stop was Soak, one of the nicest smelling shops in Sassafras. The sole purpose of this boutique is to pamper oneself. It features a collection of Australian made soaps, salts, lotions and bath products. It is the kind of place that encourages you to find your own fragrance by tempting you with body butters, handmade soaps and candles. Why not try soap made from linden flowers or goat’s milk or bath salts named after Cleopatra herself? Credit image above © Yarra Ranges Tourism.

7. Village life would not be complete without a drive through the countryside. We were overwhelmed at the beauty of the region and discovered many wild flowers growing randomly in a roadside paddock. We were so inspired we had to stop and walk through them. Further down the road we stumbled upon a chestnut cart.

Besides being very charming, the cart was managed via an honour system. Chestnuts are very much in season at the moment and it was a real treat to grab a bag straight from the source. 

The Dandenong Ranges offers a range of ways to create your own village life experience. Over a full day in the mountains, we had so much fun.

Here are five of our favourite experiences:

1.High Tea in the hilltops. Take the very scenic drive to Sassafrass and stop by Café de Beaumarchais for a wonderfully intimate high tea experience. The sweet treats are a true indulgence.

2.Explore Olinda, another village close to Sassafras with a fabulous collection of shops, teahouses and a candy store or check out Kallista, Belgrave, Monbulk or Gembrook which are all within a scenic yet short driving distance.

3.Enjoy the best view of Melbourne. For one of the most beautiful places to watch the sun set, head to SkyHigh for a glass of champagne on the balcony. 

4.Take time to clear your head and breathe in the sights and smells of the impressive cool climate gardens which distinguish the ranges from many other regions. You can download a trail from the Dandenong Ranges website, which steers you to the well-known and the more obscure gardens open to the public.

5.Picnic in the magical tall timber forests of the Dandenong Ranges. The national and state parks in the Dandenong Ranges are an endearing yet sometimes forgotten attraction. Just a few moments in the astounding natural settings of Sherbrooke Forest, Olinda Falls Reserve or Dandenong Ranges National Park can help you recharge and refresh.

 


 

DAY TRIP TO DAYLESFORD AND MACEDON RANGES

1. Head out to Tuki Trout Farm, an outstanding experience built upon three generations of this family business about 1 1/2 hours from Melbourne. Sam was adept with the fishing rod but it was David who caught the almost 1kg trout, then cleaned and gutted and cooked over hot coals, ready to eat within minutes. Fish trout from one of six ponds, and learn how to clean and cook the fish to enjoy for your lunch. You're guaranteed to catch a fish and we loved the experience. Many families have been coming here for years as a fun destination.

Robert and Jan are superb hosts with country hospitality. Sit on the enclosed deck and imbibe your fresh trout while taking in the sweeping views all the way to the Grampians. Tuki Trout Farm are also known for their amazing steak and lamb, and the house made apple pie. Loved the pink flesh and flavour of the trout!

2. The historic Daylesford Hotel was our base and home in Daylesford. This grand hotel is over 150 years old and has been stunningly renovated in recent times. We stayed in the well-appointed Apartment upstairs, also boasting spectacular views over the region. The hotel is short walking distance to many of the shops and cafes, particularly in Vincent Street. We were made to feel welcome by publican Graham, and we enjoyed our stay. Built in 1856 the historic Daylesford Hotel is an ode to the Victorian era with a modern touch.

 

Chesterfields and quality decor at historic Daylesford Hotel...

 

3. We then strolled down Vincent Street, taking in some of the cafes and shops such as Larder Cafe, Jimmy's Bar and Cafe Koulka at Frangos & Frangos, Himalayan Bakery and Cafe and Bocconcini. We enjoyed afternoon tea at Jimmy's Bar and Cafe (above) where the fit out is upmarket, even spectacular.

Checking back to our room we visited Daylesford Hotel for dinner. The simple menu descriptions belied the quality of the food. The Charcuterie Plate was fabulous, enjoyed with local beer and wine.

What an enchanting town is Daylesford, full of stately iconic buildings...

4. enjoy dinner at Daylesford Hotel. A signature at Daylesford Hotel is the house made pie with mash and peas. The pastry was fluffy and rewarding, and the pie filling was generous with high quality beef cooked perfectly. We commented on the gravy/jus and were told it takes three days to make. The creamy mash was welcomed.

The World Loves Melbourne loved the country feel of this renovated pub, with stained glass windows and open fireplace.

5. Daylesford boasts top notch culinary destinations. After checking out of Daylesford Hotel we headed to the The Boathouse for breakfast. This place has a stunning vista of Lake Daylesford all around, so try to get a window seat. With a smart menu and breathtaking views, it's hard to beat. Our waiter was cheerful and eager to please.

The Boathouse has quickly established itself as a mecca for fresh, regional produce and delicious food, only 3 minutes drive from the centre of town. Head Chef Christian Reuther has drawn on his vast experience to craft an interesting menu that reflects the Spa Country's paddock to plate ethos.

Check out the stunning vista from The Boathouse.

6. We then went for a relaxing stroll around Lake Daylesford. Open to the public since 1930, Lake Daylesford has become a main attraction for visitors and regularly used by locals. It's a haven for bird life and a great place to relax, enjoy a picnic or take a scenic walk to enjoy the glorious views.

The Boathouse also boasts this mounted rowing boat; it really is a boathouse!

The World Loves Melbourne loved this Farmers Skillet breakfast, with baked egg, istra chorizo, Nicola potatoes, capsicum and Gruyere cheese. This dish was a hearty rustic breakfast in the perfect location.

7. Our next stop was Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens and Wombat Hill Cafe. This delightful cafe was a perfect spot for a light morning tea.

The Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens is an enchanting place to visit any time of the year. The gardens are built on top of an extinct volcano known as Wombat Hill, which can be seen from most locations in Daylesford.

 

8. The culinary highlight was our visit to the Lake House in Daylesford with iconic Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker, foodie visionaries who operate one of the best restaurants in Australia. What a thrill for The World Loves Melbourne to meet Alla Wolf-Tasker at lunch; her burning passion for food and hospitality after over 30 years is inspiring.

We were greeted by Larissa Wolf-Tasker on arrival , a charming host who showed us some of the new developments on the property including a large wine cellar and the Waterfront Pavilion (perfect place for a wedding reception). Larissa told us about her grandparents coming from Europe to Australia years ago and how the family bought up land in the region. The culture they brought to Australia was a "if you love someone you feed them" philosophy.

Alla Wolf-Tasker did much of her culinary training in France; the romance of the food but also the journeys and adventures in the provinces was unforgettable. The current property was purchased at the end of the 1970's with a vision for a culinary destination. Alla Wolf-Tasker literally changed the culinary scene. It wasn't like people road bikes down the lane with loaves of French bread in their baskets. This was hardcore potato country and Alla Wolf-Tasker brought unprecedented innovation to the scene. 

Back in those days Allan Wolf-Tasker was immersed in an alternative art studio in St Kilda and Alla Wolf-Tasker ran a cooking school and catering business in Melbourne. On the weekends they would spend time at their Daylesford property, and opened the doors for the restaurant in 1984. They say they are a 30 year overnight sensation.

Larissa told us the attitude to the development back in 1984 was that "if it doesn't work it will be a nice country house." But look at it all today! Now over 120 staff employed! Accommodation, function rooms and spa facilities, as well as the restaurant - yet there was never a grand master plan. Just an evolvement in sync with the Wolf-Tasker passion. So much heart and soul here, and the stunning result of large dreams. Says Larissa, "Real hospitality people clutch the heart and then wear it on their sleeve." Here you will find what Larissa calls "the united nations of Lake House." People are here from all over the world, specialists in their culinary field. Larissa also speaks of the "united sense of global hospitality" where hospitality people come together from across the world to enhance each other and pitch in where needed.

Come here to the Lake House to be happy. Here you will find that hospitality is about pure joy and theatre.

Extraordinary are the Oxtail and marrow dumplings, winter consomme, truffled butter brioche. This is the perfect winter dish with the hearty and rich oxtail and marrow flavours. Earthy but majestic and delicate. We understand diners can't get enough of these dumplings. The truffled butter brioche was a surprise, the brioche was light enough to mop up some of the compelling broth. We didn't expect so much truffle. The wait staff commented, "when you do truffle you need to do truffle." No holding back.

Stunning was this Carpaccio of kingfish, spanner crab, lime, mint, jalapeno, green gazpacho. This was a silky combination of a cacophony of the best sea flavours. Sam remarked on the generosity of these treasured parcels. Presentation was first class.

A highlight was the Shared plate for 2 of Flinders Island rump of saltgrass lamb, roasted with Moroccan flavours, tagine of winter vegetables, mint labna, parsley, pine nut, currant, coriander salad, harissa. Sam remarked this was the best lamb she'd ever eaten; perfectly cooked with a tinge of pink. There was crunch and sweetness, and we enjoyed the refreshment of the mint labna.

Dessert was exceptional with Shared plate for 2 - Winter harvest - apple tarte tatin, chestnut, sultana, parsnip, Muscat. This was a golden triumph of sweet fruit symphony. An amazing rendition of a French classic.

Breathtaking vistas of Lake Daylesford at Lake House.

9. Our final journey was to Trentham and to Red Beard Bakery, in a shed like structure down a side lane off the main street. Judging by the crowds, this is the place to be.

 

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