Tour Description

New Year in the Yarra Valley

Six Days: 29th December 2019 – 3rd January 2020

Twin Share: $1995 per person. Sole Use: $2395 per person.

Included in the tour:
  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Celebrate the new year with Endeavour Tours as we discover the hidden delights of the stunning Yarra Valley! Basing ourselves in Warburton on the Yarra River, we explore the surrounding highlights including the beautiful lotus flowers and waterlilies at the Blue Lotus Water Garden, Dame Nelly Melba’s Estate and the stunning scenery of Black Spur Drive. Let us show you this picturesque part of Victoria and its many gems on a wonderful new year adventure.

 

Day One – SUNDAY 29 DECEMBER 2019

(includes light lunch and three course dinner)

After completing home pick-ups (limited areas*) we begin by travelling through the pretty Mount Lofty Ranges. We pause for morning tea at Tailem Bend, located on the cliffs above the east bank of the Murray River.

Following refreshments we continue towards the Tatiara where we travel through the towns of Coonalpyn, Tintinara and on to Keith, to enjoy a light lunch.

Our afternoon drive leads us across the border and the plains of the Wimmera region of Victoria, through Kaniva, Nhill and Horsham, stopping along the way to stretch our legs. As we travel, we see glimpses of the Grampians in the distance – a remarkable sight of rugged peaks amongst the rolling hills of the surrounding area.

Today’s destination is the town of Stawell in the Wimmera region. Stawell enjoyed a mining boom during the Victorian Gold Rush days and still boasts some lovely buildings from the 1860s-70s such as the original Courthouse, Railway Station and Town Hall.  Our accommodation tonight is at the Magdala Motor Lodge (Ph. 03 5358 3877) where we can freshen up before coming together for dinner with our fellow travellers.

 

Day Two – MONDAY 30 DECEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

After breakfast we depart Stawell and journey east through Ararat to Beaufort, located in a rich pastoral district and noted for its merino and wool production.

We enjoy morning tea before continuing on past Ballarat to Melton. Less than 40 kilometres from the centre of Melbourne, Melton offers a great balance of urban and rural living which has seen it expand rapidly.  We have lunch in town before continuing our drive past the outskirts of Melbourne.

By late afternoon we reach our destination of Warburton, a charming old goldmining town on the Yarra River, nestled in a fertile valley and  surrounded by lush forests of mountain ash. In the past it was a town driven primarily by the timber industry and is now a popular holiday destination. On arrival, we settle into our accommodation for the next four nights at  Oscar’s on the Yarra (Ph. 03 5966 9166).  We have time  to unpack and freshen up before coming together for dinner in the restaurant.

 

Day Three – TUESDAY 31 DECEMBER 2019

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we make our way to the Rainforest Gallery. Situated in the Yarra Ranges National Park, this is an easy short walk along an observation platform which takes you into the lush canopy of the rainforest, 15 metres above the ground. The rainforest is home to magnificent Mountain Ash trees which stand up to 65 metres tall and Myrtle Beech trees which are over 300 years old, plus the ferns, mosses and palms which thrive in this damp environment.

Travelling back through Warburton, we continue to Yarra Junction and one of the highlights of our tour, the Blue Lotus Water Garden. This unique attraction is only opened for three months of the year, during the lotus flowering season. The beautiful tropical landscape has many built waterways which are home to a variety of flowering lotus and waterlily, surrounded by shady palms, shrubs and colourful flower beds. The gardens include an Australian Native greenhouse, a tropical house containing rare and endangered plants from around the world and the Giants of the Amazon exhibit, featuring giant waterlilies with leaves (lily pads) that grow up to 2m wide. This garden really is a tropical paradise!

A short distance away in Woori Yallock is Rayners Orchard. This environmentally sustainable, family owned property grows over 450 varieties of fruit and we get to sample different fruits in season, as we explore the orchard on a tractor tour with Farmer Len or one of his sons.

Following our visit we’ll head back to Warburton and our accommodation, where there will be plenty of time to freshen up before dinner. Tonight, we have the opportunity to participate in New Year celebrations at Oscar’s, or if preferred we can head back to our rooms for a relaxing evening.

 

Day Four – WEDNESDAY 1 JANUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

Happy New Year!

After a relaxed start to the morning, we travel to Healesville to spend time enjoying the scenery of the area. We stop at the Maroondah Reservoir to marvel at the wonderful views from the walls of the dam.

From here we begin to travel along part of the Maroondah Highway known as Black Spur Drive. This is one of Australia’s most picturesque drives and links the Yarra Valley with the mountain areas around Marysville. It winds its way up the Great Dividing Range and is bordered by immense mountain ash trees that allow dappled sunlight to filter way down to lush green ferns.

We stop at a picnic ground near Fernshaw at the base of Black Spur to relax and enjoy morning tea.

The spectacular scenery continues as we drive to Marysville, situated on the Steavenson River. It is hard to believe that most of this peaceful town was destroyed by fire in February 2009. The town has been rebuilt and the centre of Marysville extends along an avenue that has been landscaped to reflect the surrounding natural region.

On arrival we visit the Phoenix Museum located in the Marysville Visitor Centre where we can see first hand accounts of Black Saturday and their story of recovery. We have time to look around the Centre and learn more about this town and its close-knit community before lunch.

This afternoon we discover the unique artworks of sculptor and painter Bruno Torfs. Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden is a lush rainforest filled with amazing life-size sculptures, hand-crafted and fired in his kiln. Bruno’s work is inspired by his journeys to some of the world’s most intriguing and remote regions, as well as being derived from his imagination. Bruno was among the many residents of the town who lost much in the bushfires. It is wonderful to hear his story and see how he has rebuilt his home, gallery and spectacular garden filled with captivating sculptures. Before heading back to Warburton we take the opportunity for a drive around this wonderfully scenic town.

Afterwards we return to our accommodation.

 

Day Five – THURSDAY 2 JANUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and three course dinner)

This morning we farewell our hosts and drive to Coldstream which is the location of the former home and garden of one of Australia’s most celebrated icons, world-famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba. We’ll enjoy morning tea and take a guided tour of the Melba Estate Gardens: seven acres of stunning gardens landscaped over a century ago. A grand cypress hedge was planted around the property, creating intrigue and mystery for over 100 years until 2014, when the gardens were opened to the public for the first time.

Following our visit, we call into the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery. Established in 2012, the spectacular showroom is filled with thousands of chocolates, fresh pastries, decadent desserts and home made ice-cream. Large viewing windows allow us to watch the master chocolatiers at work, handcrafting the wonderful creations that are available for purchase and tasting. What a fantastic way to finish our exploration of the beautiful Yarra Valley!

We’ll depart after lunch and make our way around the outskirts of Melbourne destined for Ballarat. Probably best known for its role in the gold rush era, Ballarat is now Victoria’s largest inland city and amongst the backdrop of grand heritage buildings, is a modern city with a melting pot of cultures, art, food and wine.

Late afternoon we arrive at our accommodation at the Bell Tower Inn (Ph. 03 5334 1600) and there will be time to unpack and freshen up before coming together for dinner on our last night on tour.

 

Day Six – FRIDAY 3 JANUARY 2020

(includes cooked breakfast and two course lunch)

After breakfast we depart Stawell and drive through Horsham to Natimuk for our morning tea.

Continuing on, we enjoy our last views of the mountains as we pass Mount Arapiles before crossing the border into South Australia. We arrive at Keith in time for lunch at one of Endeavours favourite hotels.

We reboard the bus after lunch to make our way along the Dukes Highway, passing through Tintinara and Coonalpyn, home of the now famous Coonalpyn silo mural.

Our comfort stop in Tailem Bend gives us a chance to stretch our legs before crossing the Murray River, and making our way through the Adelaide Hills.

Arriving in Adelaide, we begin returning everyone home after a memorable holiday to the beautiful Yarra Valley.