Visit Victoria Day 3: Global Ballooning, Rochford Winery, Yarra Valley Dairy, Rayners Stonefruit Orchard, Giant Steps, Koala Conservation Centre, Waves Apartments and Phillip Island Nature Park
If there is a reason to wake up at 4 in the morning, the reason but is a damn good one. Thus, when the reason is to fly on a hot air balloon overlooking the plains of Yarra Valley, I don’t mind waking up at 4 am or even 3 am.
Hot air balloon ride is very popular in Victoria and one of the most popular rides is in Yarra Valley!
You’ll fly for approximately one hour over the beautiful Yarra Valley and its vineyards, drifting gently over the countryside in a beautiful hot air balloon.
This is one of the must do thing in Yarra Valley. We woke up at 4.30 am for this. Due to the uncertainty of the weather, our guide had to reconfirm with Global Ballooning at 4 am. With calm wind and weather, we made it.
Flying approx. an hour overlooking the beautiful Yarra Valley as well as seeing the sunrise above the clouds are unforgettable moments. The hot air balloon ride compliments with a customary champagne breakfast at Rochford Winery.
Global Ballooning Address and Contact:
8-10 New Street
Richmond VIC 3121
Tel: (03) 9428 5703
Champagne Breakfast at Rochford Winery
Rochford Wines is a fully operational vineyard and winery that houses a spectacular complex and a tourism award winning restaurant and café, as well as a permanent sound shell for outdoor performances.
The free flow champagne and the healthy Aussie style breakfast is something to look for here.
Rochford Wines Address and Contact:
Cnr Maroondah Highway & Hill Road
Coldstream VIC 3770
Tel: (03) 5962 2119
After taking the hot air balloon ride, we continue our road trip discovering some of the hidden gems in Yarra Valley. The first stop is the Yarra Valley Dairy.
Yarra Valley Dairy
Producers of fine farm cheeses, the Yarra Valley Dairy specialises in both cow’s milk cheeses and goat’s milk cheeses, which are sold throughout Australia.
The award winning Yarra Valley Dairy is popular with few of its best inventions. Their Persian Fetta and Ashed Goats Pyramid is my favourites. Try out their goat’s milk cheeses you will no regrets.
The problem is buying back the cheeses as it needs to be chilled at times so flying more than 8 hours will spoil the cheese. If not, I will buy plenty of their beautiful fetta cheeses.
If you are a cheese lover, drop by have a look and check out their cheese products.
Yarra Valley Dairy Address and Contact:
Yering VIC 3770
Tel: (03) 9739 0023
We all know about dairies and wineries in Victoria but how about orchards? One of the orchards we went is Rayners Stonefruit Orchard.
Tractor Ride at Rayners Stonefruit Orchard
The freshest fruit is the fruit taken straight off the tree. Peaches, Nectarines, Apricots and other varieties to select from. It’s the ‘Garden of Eden’ in the Yarra Valley… and you can take an Orchard Walk through the groves of stone fruit trees, sampling the freshest fruit, and enjoying the company of one of our staff explaining about the fruit of our trees.
If I bring my parents here, they take their time and enjoy the fruits here. The orchard is beautiful and the fruits there are simple marvelous. I never thought there are so many varieties of peaches, nectarines and apricots. The friendly owner had a very lengthy chat with us and we sampled most of his fruits.
Rayner’s Stonefruit Orchard Address and Contact:
60 Schoolhouse Road,
Tel: (03) 5964 7654
It is hard to believe we visited so many places in the morning and time for lunch.
Lunch at Giant Steps
Come and try the full range of Giant Steps and Innocent Bystander wines at their cellar door in Healesville. The winery includes a pizzeria and houses an artisan bakery, with all cakes, pastries and breads made daily on the premises. At the rear of the cellar door you will find the cheese room. The winery also roasts two blends of coffee daily to ensure great coffee is available and the cellar door has selected a personal list of the world’s greatest beers, including several of their own creations, including Little Creatures Pale.
The place is packed when we reached there. Luckily, we made reservations or else it will be a lengthy wait. The pizzas are the popular here and the food here is fantastic.
Giant Steps / Innocent Bystander Winery Address and Contact:
336 Maroondah Highway (corner Don Rd)
Healesville 3777 VIC
Tel: (03) 5962 6111
After lunch, we drive to the popular Philip island. Many think of Philip Island is only for the Penguins. Well, it is time for you to know more about this small beautiful island.
To Phillip Island
Surrounded by some of the best surf beaches in Victoria and with four townships, Phillip Island has a reputation as a coastal getaway with a bent for family fun. Here, you can see penguins, seals and koalas in their natural habitats, explore heritage and natural attractions or soak-up the scenic coastline, including the striking Bunurong Marine Coastal Park. In October, Phillip Island switches gear for the 500cc Motorcycle Grand Prix.
The Koala Conservation Centre
The Koala Conservation Centre was created to establish a protected koala population on Phillip Island away from human dangers. Experience close koala encounters among the tree tops on the elevated boardwalk. Learn about the koalas in the visitor centre where colourful displays tell the koala story. This unique setting will let you experience koalas in an environment representing their natural bushland habitat.
We bump to a few koalas up, close and personal at the Koala conservation centre. We got lucky as usually they will sleep on top of the trees for 20 hours a day.
Koala Conservation Centre Address and Contact:
Phillip Island VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5956 8300
We didn’t do a day tour in Philip Islands like many other tourists. We stayed on the island at Waves Apartments.
Waves Apartments is self-contained style accommodation offering the luxury of a personal 2-person spa in the bathroom, private balconies or patio with foreshore and bay views and luxury guest amenities.
This is a very beautiful apartment that can fit a family rather than me alone. The apartment comes with a kitchen as well as a huge Jacuzzi.
Waves Apartments Address and Contact:
1 Cowes VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5952 1351
If around the corner of the apartment, we dine at a popular restaurant called Harry’s on the Esplanade.
Dinner at Harry’s on the Esplanade
Harry’s on the Esplanade offers delicious traditional European food prepared with great care. Fresh seafood from local fishing boats, beef and lamb grazed on Phillip Island and cheeses from local cheese makers throughout Gippsland enhance the fantastic menu.
We didn’t have any cheese during dinner but their seafood is really amazing. On top of the fresh seafood, their lamb shank is worth to try.
Harry’s on the Esplanade Address and Contact:
17 The Esplanade Cowes
Phillip Island VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5952 6226
That’s not it. You won’t complete the evening without visiting the cute Penguins at Philip Island Nature Park. It is a chilly evening but it didn’t stop us to take a look at those cute penguins!
Phillip Island Nature Park
The Phillip Island Penguin Parade, the star attraction of the Phillip Island Nature Park, has been delighting visitors for many years with little penguins making their way up Summerland Beach each night at sunset. Over 500,000 visitors make the Phillip Island Penguin Parade the third largest visited natural attraction in Australia.
After almost 10 years I visited this park, the park looks almost the same. With a few upgrades and renovations, Philip Island Nature Park looks new. The fairy penguins or little penguins are the smallest penguin species in the world. This is the highlight of the Philip Island.
Phillip Island Nature Park Address and Contact:
Summerland Beach, Ventnor Road
Phillip Island VIC 3922
Tel: (03) 5951 2800
That’s all for the day and we visited so many places and what an experience!
Check out my other Visit Victoria days experiences by clicking the link below:
Visit Victoria Day 8: Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, Coffee Tour, Shark Walk, Victoria Market and Chinatown
Visit Victoria Day 9: Gold Class Limousines and Goodbye Australia