• Kelan River Taroko National Park
  • Plyons Princess Pier
  • Little Penguins St Kilda Pier
  • Panaroma Yarra Valley
  • Chandon Yarra Valley
  • Bidding Goodbye Koh Lipe
  • Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall Taipei
  • Pebbles QiXingTan Beach
  • Candle Rocks Yehliu Geopark
  • Nanya Rock Formations Taipei
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2 December 2013

Winery hopping in Yarra Valley

The best thing about summer breaks from uni - you put your hand up to whatever that comes along without worrying about the piles of assignments or the pending assessments. When my friends told me they were driving up to Yarra Valley - an Australian wine region located east of Melbourne, I immediately jumped to the opportunity to tag along for the ride. If you don't have a car, you can either hire one or sign-up for a private tour.

Call me a typical asian, I am not a fan of the sun, but for this trip, I would totally trade the blankets of hovering clouds for sunshine. And indeed the weather could not have been any better. With growling stomachs, we drove from the buzzing streets of Melbourne CBD to the small town of Healesville (~1 hour) and arrived at Giant Steps/ Innocent Bystander for breakfast.

 Innocent Bystander/ Giant Steps - A very industrial looking building

Calzone $19, savoury muffin $4.5 and Portuguese tart 

Despite the rave reviews on Urbanspoon I was not at all impressed by the food. The combination of ham mushroom, goat curd and eggs wrapped in calzone just did not blend well. Savoury muffin was interesting but too dense and the Portuguese tart was not flaky. Yes, impressive ambiance but food was a tad over priced and I doubt I'll go back for breakfast again. Perhaps we missed out on lunch as the high ratings (especially the pizzas) must be indicative of something good. 

After chilling out, we continued the pleasant drive towards Tarrawarra estate via Maroondah Highway. There is just nothing like a good old fashion road trip - I got to admire the scenic view of the valleys and cattle herd roaming the land that passed me by. As we pulled into the driveway of the beautiful landscape of Tarrawarra estate, our building excitement was cut short as the whole estate was booked  for a private event and was not open to the public. Bummer. Hence, we have to divert to plan B - De Bertoli Wines. I must say it was the perfect plan B, stunning views of the vineyard, lovely homemade cheese platter and premium wine. 

Entrance of De Bertoli Wine Estate

This gorgeous estate houses some of the oldest plantings in the Yarra Valley region 

The Cellar Door and Cheese Room open 10am-5pm daily....perfect spot to enjoy an indulgent wine and carefully selected cheeses.

 Cheese house

BellaRiva Pinot Gringio Vermentino

So how good is the wine? First I am a total rookie when it comes to wine; secondly, my friends were the ones who did the tasting while I decided to satisfy my wine tasting cravings in Chandon (last stop). According to my sources the wines were pretty good.     

Next stop, Yarra Valley Chocolaterie located just outside Yarra Glen on the corner of Old Healesville Road and Melba Highway. 

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie factory

Panaromic view from the factory....stunning

The place was jam packed with families with children and tourists

Chocolates - my guilty pleasure. The minute I walked through those glass doors, my eyes where drawn towards the three massive bowls of chocolate samples - White, Milk and Dark. Best part is, they are FREE!!!  Never have I seen a showroom occupied with such huge range of chocolate products. Also there's a large viewing area where you can watch chocolates being made, complimentary chocolate samples and ice creams. Would totally recommended this place especially if you have younger kids and looking for something other than vineyards.  

Time to hit the road towards Yerings Station(Victoria's first vineyard). Do wonder around their grounds and admire the picturesque exhibits, buildings and sculptures.

Cellar Door

Last but not least, Chandon, the highlight of the day.  Famous for their sparkling wines and one of the finest place for wine tasting. Despite the highly recommended wine tour, for whatever reason we decided to give it a miss. Bummer, just felt like kicking myself now. 

I could just laze on the lawn all day and admire the breathtaking view and lush greens

Fabulous wine but the place may be overcrowded by tour groups 

Bought myself a Chandon Sparkling Pinot Shiraz NV (Red Sparkling) for $23. Again I'm no wine expert but I just love the slight bitterness of Red Wine coupled with the popping effect of sparkling on your pallet. Great end to a fabulous day. 

On our way back to Melbourne CBD we stopped by Box Hill for dinner at First Taste Restaurant (头啖汤). Most of my friends ordered claypot rice with various toppings from beef to chicken, vegetarian and fish. Reasonably priced from $8.80 to $10 a dish for such generous servings. I ordered porridge with century eggs and pork strips. One of the best porridge I've tasted in Melbourne but it was a tinge bit too salty for my liking.

Travel tips:
- Most vineyards have their own restaurant. So feel free to stopped by and have a bite. 
- For a reasonable price of $5 per person you can sample an extensive range of wines. Plus, you'll receive $5 off if you purchase your first bottle from each cellar door. 
- Five standard 20mL tastings of wine equals one standard drink. If you are a health conscious person, you might wanna be mindful of that.

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