Healesville, at the head of the Yarra Valley, has been a tourist hotspot since the 1880s. For good reason – it’s just over an hour from Melbourne, on the edge of the Yarra Ranges National Park. Nearby is the beautiful Maroondah Reservoir Park for invigorating walks. There is an amazing modern art gallery at the TarraWarra Museum of Art, and for wildlife there is the Healesville Sanctuary, packed with native Australian animals. Known for its cool-climate wines, open cellar doors and outstanding restaurants, Healesville offers an outstanding number of places to visit, taste and experience. And here’s where to rest your head – book via Culture Trip.
Get ready to retreat into luxury – there are just three apartments in this large historic home, an ornate property in acres of old-world garden. Period rooms are striking, all framed mirrors, Art Nouveau furnishings and luxury cotton quilted and damask bedding. Take a walk through the colonnade under the veranda, down to the quaint wooden recliners on the terraced lawn and listen to the water fall from the decorative fountain. And expect a warm welcome from Elroy and Nutmeg, the two resident donkeys.
That Four Pillars Gin Distillery is just down the road makes this incredible home the perfect spot to stay. Then there’s the head-turning quirky decor – bamboo wallpaper flanking the sunny dining room, funky green tiling lining the groovy modern kitchen and a freestanding fire in the lounge. There is also a separate studio, similarly styled and tastefully furnished. And let’s hear it for the on-site restaurant and café, with tasty food served all day. You’ll be so absorbed, you’ll probably never get to the world-class wineries just down the same road. But you should try.
It’s all about the romantic vibe at these four porch-fronted clapboard cottages and a two-bedroom apartment hidden away among towering tree ferns and richly scented eucalypts. Just 10 minutes from Healesville, your welcome starts with a local wine and cheese platter, or, if you are really indulging, a couple’s massage and – oh go on then, a Japanese face and scalp massage. Wake to a gourmet breakfast hamper with free-range eggs, bacon, mushrooms and asparagus, and head back to town to the Innocent Bystander, a relaxed local winery with an airy restaurant, café and wine tasting bar.
If you love restored houses, this 1920s timber home is an absolute classic, with its tin roof and timber-and-stucco exterior, wood-framed windows and broad wraparound veranda with comfy recliners. Inside, the two bedrooms, kitchen and living areas are all modern and chic, and the retractable glass doors opening to a private paved courtyard are a nice touch. Some of the best cool-climate vineyards and cellar doors in Australia are as good as on your doorstep, so gather the best and brightest, and retreat to your little oasis for an extended tasting session, warmed by the glorious box fire in the lounge.
Your inner artist will be inspired, but which will you be? An Impressionist? The Garden apartment has a French Provençal feel, heightened by the glorious lavender in the garden. Or an Orientalist? The Treetops apartment is Japanese-themed, with lacquered furniture, screens and paper lamps. In all, there are four open, contemporary styled and sunny apartments to choose from. The nearby TarraWarra Museum of Art, an incredibly long stone building half submerged in the sloping hillside, is surrounded by terraced vines. It has exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and a fabulous on-site café serving outstanding cooking.
From the outside, it looks like a French farmhouse, with a steeply angled tin roof and dollhouse upper-floor windows as well as fabulous French doors opening to the front porch. Inside are four rustic country furnished bedrooms, with an eye-catching chandelier in one. Scattered around is plumply upholstered furniture, alongside elegantly tied-back drapes, a clawfoot bath and marble backsplash in the kitchen. The fabulous Healesville Sanctuary is just down the road, with an astounding array of native Australian wildlife, including the rarely sighted platypus, plus emus, kangaroos, dingoes and koalas.
Your host Ralph is a sommelier – and he really knows his wine. He’s happy to pass on tips to the best wineries in the region. It’s all part of the warm welcome to this sprawling hotel with five rooms, ranging from a standard room with two double beds to a family room with two bedrooms and separate living areas. There’s also a separately located villa and cottage next door, both of which can take larger groups and include full kitchens, living areas and covered verandas where you can enjoy those choice wines you’ve picked.
Healesville used to be the “it” place. Think Ibiza in the forest. Well, you can turn back time at the Healesville Garden Grandview, a restored 1930s two-storey timber hotel right in the heart of town with glorious gardens. It’s among the best accommodation Healesville has to offer. The 4m (14ft) pressed metal ceilings are captivating, as are the huge sweeping verandas and the grand lounge with its open fireplace. It’s so easy to imagine a dashing Studebaker Roadster parked out front and fabulous guests tumbling inside. You can stay in the four-bedroom executive wing, or one of the two three-bedroom apartments. And if there are enough of you – well, just hire the entire hotel.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
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