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Healesville, VIC – Accommodation, To Do & More

11/06/2024
10 mins read
Healesville
Source: Visit Victoria

Healesville, a delightful town in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, offers a blend of natural beauty, rich history, and unique attractions. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or a culture buff, Healesville has something for everyone.

Overview

Healesville, VIC, is a charming destination known for its vibrant community and stunning landscapes.

  • Origin of Name: Named after Richard Heales, who was the Premier of Victoria from 1860 to 1861.
  • Known For: Renowned for its wildlife sanctuary, local wineries, and beautiful parks. read more
  • Tourist Friendly: Healesville is perfect for tourists interested in wine tasting, wildlife encounters, and outdoor activities. read more
  • Where: Located in the heart of the Yarra Valley, approximately 52 km northeast of Melbourne. Nearby towns include Yarra Glen, Warburton, and Marysville. read more

Accommodation

Things To Do

Healesville Sanctuary

For an authentic Aussie wildlife experience, Healesville Sanctuary is the place to be. This sanctuary offers a close-up look at some of Australia’s most iconic animals, all in a setting that feels like you’re wandering through the outback. Koalas, kangaroos, and platypuses (platypi?) are just a few of the critters you’ll meet. The sanctuary is also heavily involved in conservation efforts, so your visit helps support the preservation of these incredible species.

The highlight for many is the “Spirits of the Sky” show, where majestic birds of prey take to the air in a display that’s equal parts educational and awe-inspiring. And for those who want to get even closer, there are plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals. It’s a great spot for families, couples, or solo adventurers looking to connect with nature.

  • Main Attractions: “Spirits of the Sky” show, close encounters with native wildlife, conservation programs
  • Location: Badger Creek Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: Healesville Sanctuary
  • Fun Fact: The sanctuary is home to the Australian Wildlife Health Centre, which treats over 1,500 orphaned, ill, or injured animals each year.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/TZx4d7PcGYQSRrMz9

Innocent Bystander

Innocent Bystander isn’t just a place to eat and drink – it’s a destination. This vibrant eatery and winery has quickly become a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The atmosphere is laid-back yet buzzing, with long communal tables perfect for making new friends over a glass of wine. Their menu features Neapolitan-style pizzas, paella, and tapas, all made with fresh, local ingredients.

But let’s not forget the drinks. Innocent Bystander serves up an impressive selection of wines, including their standout Pinot Noir, all poured straight from the keg. If wine’s not your thing, they’ve got you covered with craft beers and Four Pillars gin. It’s the ideal spot to unwind after a day of exploring Healesville.

  • Main Attractions: Neapolitan-style pizzas, local wines and craft beers, casual dining atmosphere
  • Location: 316-334 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: Innocent Bystander
  • Fun Fact: The restaurant’s name comes from a desire to create a brand that stands out for its simplicity and approachability – just like an innocent bystander.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/wMpfNz6fXZdvJX9C9

Watts River Brewing

If you’ve got a passion for craft beer, Watts River Brewing is your kind of place. Run by a couple of beer-loving mates, this brewery serves up a fantastic range of beers right from their shiny, stainless-steel brewhouse. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, making it a great spot to relax with a cold one and maybe even chat with the brewers about their latest creations.

Pizza lovers will be pleased to know that Watts River Brewing also serves delicious, freshly made pizzas that pair perfectly with their brews. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a day exploring the Yarra Valley, whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just looking for a great place to hang out with friends.

  • Main Attractions: Craft beers, brewery tours, fresh pizzas
  • Location: 7 Hunter Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: Watts River Brewing
  • Fun Fact: The brewery is named after the Watts River, a small but beautiful river that flows near the brewery.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/x5dNcqsu3TLEr6St9

Alchemy Distillers

For a different kind of spirit adventure, check out Alchemy Distillers. This small-batch distillery, located right on Healesville’s main street, is all about quality over quantity. Known for their exceptional whiskies, gins, and vodkas, Alchemy Distillers is a must-visit for anyone with a taste for fine spirits. The distillery’s intimate setting makes it perfect for a relaxed tasting session where you can truly appreciate the craftsmanship behind each bottle.

The team at Alchemy is passionate and knowledgeable, always ready to share the stories behind their creations. Whether you’re sipping on a smooth whisky or a crisp gin, you’ll feel the dedication and love that goes into every drop. It’s a perfect spot for an afternoon tipple with friends.

  • Main Attractions: Whisky, gin, and vodka tastings, small-batch production
  • Location: 242 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: Alchemy Distillers
  • Fun Fact: Alchemy Distillers operates in a historic building that once housed a fruit cannery, blending old-world charm with modern distilling techniques.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/J4Cxkj7VYWGSZ3CA8

TarraWarra Museum of Art

For a dose of culture amidst the natural beauty of the Yarra Valley, TarraWarra Museum of Art is a must-visit. This museum boasts a stunning collection of modern and contemporary art from Australia and around the world. The sleek, award-winning building itself is a piece of art, perfectly complementing the rolling hills and vineyards that surround it. Inside, you’ll find a dynamic range of exhibitions that change regularly, so there’s always something new to see.

Whether you’re an art aficionado or just looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, TarraWarra won’t disappoint. The museum also offers educational programs and workshops, making it a great stop for families and those keen to deepen their appreciation of art. Don’t forget to wander through the beautiful grounds and maybe even enjoy a picnic with some local produce.

  • Main Attractions: Contemporary art exhibitions, stunning architecture, educational programs
  • Location: 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: TarraWarra Museum of Art
  • Fun Fact: The museum was founded by philanthropists Eva and Marc Besen, and opened to the public in 2003.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/wZynZp5RRKmEKuk86

Yarra Valley Dairy

Cheese lovers, rejoice! Yarra Valley Dairy is your ultimate destination for indulging in some of the best cheeses Australia has to offer. Located in an original 100-year-old milking shed, this charming spot offers a variety of delicious cheeses made from rich, local milk. The friendly staff will guide you through a tasting of their fresh and matured cheeses, and you can pick up your favorites to enjoy later.

In addition to cheese, the dairy also offers a selection of local wines and gourmet products, perfect for creating a picnic hamper. Sit outside and enjoy the picturesque views of the surrounding farmland while savoring your cheese platter. It’s a delightful experience that combines good food with beautiful scenery.

  • Main Attractions: Cheese tastings, local wines, gourmet products
  • Location: 70-80 McMeikans Rd, Yering VIC 3770
  • Website: Yarra Valley Dairy
  • Fun Fact: The dairy is known for its Persian Fetta, a marinated cheese that’s become a favorite among visitors.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/q7vQR3PPJ4KJ35X69

Four Pillars Distillery

Looking for the perfect gin experience? Four Pillars Distillery in Healesville is where the magic happens. This place isn’t just about sipping gin; it’s about diving headfirst into the world of botanical alchemy. From the moment you step inside, you’re greeted with the aromas of exotic spices and citrus, all working together to create some of Australia’s finest gin. The staff are as passionate about gin as you are about finding the perfect G&T, and they’re more than happy to share their knowledge.

But it’s not all about education – there’s plenty of fun to be had too. Whether you’re a seasoned gin aficionado or just dipping your toes into the world of craft spirits, the tasting paddles here are a delight. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, sign up for one of their masterclasses. Who knew learning could be so delicious?

  • Main Attractions: Gin tasting paddles, masterclasses, distillery tours
  • Location: 2A Lilydale Rd, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: Four Pillars Distillery
  • Fun Fact: Four Pillars has a gin named Bloody Shiraz, which combines their Rare Dry Gin with Yarra Valley Shiraz grapes.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/aLoW2gM4w2KehwLY6

Maroondah Reservoir Park

If you’re in the mood for some outdoor relaxation, Maroondah Reservoir Park is just the ticket. This expansive park offers lush gardens, peaceful picnic areas, and walking trails that lead to stunning views of the reservoir. It’s the perfect spot to unwind with a book, enjoy a leisurely stroll, or have a picnic with friends.

For those who like a bit of history with their nature, the park features an impressive dam wall and spillway, both feats of engineering from the early 20th century. Climbing to the top of the dam rewards you with panoramic views that are well worth the effort. Whether you’re looking to chill out or stretch your legs, Maroondah Reservoir Park has got you covered.

  • Main Attractions: Walking trails, picnic areas, dam wall, spillway
  • Location: Maroondah Hwy, Healesville VIC 3777
  • Website: Maroondah Reservoir Park
  • Fun Fact: The park is home to the Rose Stairway, a beautiful stone staircase flanked by manicured gardens and rose bushes.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/z2mpSmNeSeUwAXEr6

Badgers Weir Picnic Ground

For a slice of tranquility just outside Healesville, Badgers Weir Picnic Ground is the place to be. Nestled amidst ancient fern gullies and towering mountain ash trees, it’s an idyllic spot for a picnic, a short hike, or simply soaking in the serenity of the Australian bush. The sound of the creek bubbling nearby and the birds chirping overhead make it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.

The picnic area is well-equipped with tables, barbecues, and ample space for kids to run around. There are also several walking tracks that meander through the lush forest, offering glimpses of local wildlife and beautiful vistas. It’s a great spot to reconnect with nature and enjoy some peace and quiet.

  • Main Attractions: Picnic facilities, walking tracks, natural scenery
  • Location: Badger Weir Rd, Badger Creek VIC 3777
  • Website: Badgers Weir Picnic Area
  • Fun Fact: The area was once used as a source of water for Healesville, and you can still see remnants of the old weir and water infrastructure.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Gf7WMcxw2wpsMwQ38

Nearby Towns

Yarra Glen, VIC:

  • Distance from Healesville: 13 km west
  • Highlights: Known for its wineries and gourmet food, Yarra Glen is a hub for wine enthusiasts and foodies. The town also hosts the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, offering sweet treats and family-friendly fun.
  • Notable Sites: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, Yering Station Winery, and the Yarra Valley Railway.

Warburton, VIC:

  • Distance from Healesville: 32 km southeast
  • Highlights: Nestled in the heart of the Yarra Ranges, Warburton offers scenic views, hiking trails, and a relaxed atmosphere. It’s a perfect spot for outdoor activities and nature lovers.
  • Notable Sites: Warburton Rail Trail, Redwood Forest, and La La Falls.

Marysville, VIC:

  • Distance from Healesville: 34 km northeast
  • Highlights: Known for its stunning natural beauty and rejuvenation after the 2009 bushfires, Marysville offers beautiful gardens, waterfalls, and scenic drives.
  • Notable Sites: Steavenson Falls, Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Garden, and the Marysville Trout and Salmon Ponds.

Coldstream, VIC:

  • Distance from Healesville: 18 km west
  • Highlights: Coldstream is home to the famous Domaine Chandon winery and offers a range of other vineyards and gourmet experiences. It’s a great place for wine tours and tastings.
  • Notable Sites: Domaine Chandon, Rochford Wines, and Coldstream Brewery.

Lilydale, VIC:

  • Distance from Healesville: 24 km southwest
  • Highlights: As the gateway to the Yarra Valley, Lilydale offers beautiful lakeside parks, historical sites, and a bustling local market. It’s a convenient base for exploring the region.
  • Notable Sites: Lillydale Lake, Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail, and the Yarra Ranges Regional Museum.

History

  • Pre-1839: The area around Healesville is inhabited by the Wurundjeri people, the traditional custodians of the land.
  • 1839: The first European pastoralist takes up land in the area.
  • 1860: A new trail to the Woods Point goldfield is blazed, passing by what will become Healesville.
  • 1863: The Coranderrk Aboriginal Station is established on Badger Creek, 5 km south of Healesville. It becomes a place for displaced Aboriginal people and plays a significant role in the local community.
  • 1864: The town of Healesville is officially surveyed and established. It is named after Richard Heales, Premier of Victoria from 1860 to 1861.
  • 1888: The Grand Hotel is built in anticipation of the railway’s arrival, designed to accommodate 100 guests.
  • 1902: Healesville Railway Station complex is constructed to cater specifically for peak holiday traffic.
  • 1920s: Construction of the Maroondah Dam begins, bringing hundreds of workmen to Healesville and boosting the local economy.
  • 1930s: The town sees increased motor tourism and decreased railway patronage, partially bypassing Healesville.
  • 1941: The Healesville Rural Fire Brigade is formed.
  • 1980: The Healesville railway line closes.
  • 1985: The Healesville Urban and Rural Fire Brigades amalgamate.
  • 1996: The Chum Creek Rural Fire Brigade amalgamates with the Healesville brigade.
  • 2003: TarraWarra Museum of Art opens, providing a cultural boost to the region.
  • Present: Healesville is a major center for tourism, known for its food, wine, and natural attractions, including the Healesville Sanctuary and Maroondah Reservoir Park.

Information Centre

Healesville has a dedicated Visitor Information Centre located at The Old Courthouse, Harker Street, Healesville. For assistance and local information, you can contact them at (03) 5962 2600. The centre offers maps, brochures, and advice on attractions, accommodations, and events in the region.

Getting There

By Train and Bus

  1. Train from Melbourne to Lilydale:
  • Take the Lilydale line train from Flinders Street Station or any station along the Lilydale line.
  • The journey to Lilydale Station takes approximately 1 hour.
  1. Bus from Lilydale to Healesville:
  • From Lilydale Station, catch the Route 685 bus to Healesville. This bus travels through the scenic Yarra Valley and stops at various locations in Healesville, including Maroondah Highway/Green Street.
  • The bus journey takes about 40 minutes.

By Direct Bus

  • Route 684 Bus:
  • You can also take the Route 684 bus, which runs from Southern Cross Station in Melbourne to Healesville. This bus operates twice daily and provides a direct connection to Healesville without needing to transfer at Lilydale.

Driving

  • If you prefer driving, Healesville is about a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne. Follow the Eastern Freeway (M3), then the Maroondah Highway (B360) towards Lilydale, and continue to Healesville.

For detailed schedules and real-time updates, visit Public Transport Victoria.

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