Yarra Valley Day Trip With Fraser Place Melbourne

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MELBOURNE | Have you ever wondered what it’s like to explore your home city through the eyes of a tourist? The City Lane recently had the chance to experience this, courtesy of Fraser Place Melbourne. Immersing ourselves into the life of a leisure traveler, we embarked on a day tour of the Yarra Valley, followed by an overnight stay at their boutique apartment hotel, Fraser Place.

An early start on a brisk Autumn morning, we meet up with our friendly Autopia Tour guide, “Safari” Pete, and join our fellow travelers on the mini tour bus. Considering the foggy coldness consuming Melbourne on this morning, our tour guide remains chirpy and full of warmth thanks to his true blue Aussie humour, which soon becomes infectious amongst our group of local and international tourists. Not just a friendly face, the wealth of knowledge shared by Pete, as well as by the winery owners we would encounter later that day, made for a truly informative and educational small group tour.

Located south east of central Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is commonly 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than the city, creating the ideal climate for growing red wine grapes, such as the region’s famous Pinot Noir. If you’re not a fan of red wine, the Yarra Valley also produces some top quality white wine, sparkling, ciders and beers, as well as exceptional food produce. Contrary to popular belief, wine tasting is actually perfect in the Autumn and Winter months… we can attest to that!

Being only a 45-minute drive from the city, we soon arrive at our first stop of the day: Gateway Estate in Coldstream. A local food store and café specializing in fresh and seasonal produce, their locally sourced cheeses dips, jams and breads are amongst many other products available in-store. Made on-site using their homegrown strawberries, a tasting of their strawberry liqueurs is the perfect pick-me-up to start our long day ahead. If strawberry liqueur isn’t your thing, then their U-Pick activity allows you to pick your own strawberries from the vines in their greenhouse. In addition, they grow their own capsicums in their greenhouse all year round, with only recyclable, renewable and chemical-free methods used. With bellies full of strawberry liqueur, house made jams and dips, we move onto our next destination.

Napoleone Brewery and Cider House is a fourth-generation family-owned microbrewery, producing small batch beers and ciders made using locally sourced ingredients and apples grown in their on-site vineyard. Offering Brewery Tours and Cellar Door tastings, their extremely earthy, slightly sweet yet light-tasting beers and ciders have understandably received high accolades for their high quality. Walking around their expansive land, it is easy to picture an intimate function or gathering being held in one of their function spaces, their connecting Meletos Restaurant, or their large outdoor area overlooking their extensive vineyard.

Ready for some wine tasting, Dominique Portet is our next port of call. A boutique winery whose origins date back to France in the early 1700’s, the 10th generation wine makers here have mastered the art of respecting tradition whilst also utilizing modern methods to create wines that are continuously refined and exhibit a depth of unrivalled flavour. Leaving an impression on our palates, the Sparkling Brut and Rose wines develop a complexity of flavour that is the result of Dominique Portet’s passion for top quality produce, and the ability of this boutique winery to control the wine-making process from start to finish.

Our next stop doubles as a destination for wine tasting and lunch. Rochford Wines are considered by many to be one of the best wineries in Australia, with all of their wines uniquely aged in a French oak barrel producing an elegant product that takes at least eight months to develop in flavour, especially when compared with other American oak barrel varieties. Not just wanting to showcase their wines, Rochford Wines specialise in providing an overall experience for their customers, offering a multi-function space, retail store and adventurous activities (including ballooning, Segway tours and wine tastings). Sitting in their dining area, the ambience is quite refined yet maintains a relaxed feel with their minimalistic table settings and décor, with beautiful views overlooking their expansive estate.

To break up our wine tasting extravaganza, a visit to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery satisfies the inner child in all of us. A chocolate haven for children and adults alike, walking into this intricately designed and fun-loving venue, you are immediately met with three large sample bowls of chocolate buttons (milk, dark, white chocolate). Their store is filled with an unlimited assortment of chocolate products, as well as both savoury food and desserts available in their adjoining café. During the month of May, the Rocky Road Festival is featured, with countless flavours of rocky road available for tasting and to purchase.

The last stop of the day, Killara Estate is a hidden gem located off the beaten track. An Italian-inspired vineyard specializing in Italian varietal wines and wood fired pizzas (available in their restaurant, Racers and Rascals), their business has grown mainly from word-of-mouth. An indoor and outdoor seating area overlooks the picturesque rolling hills and their vineyard, with some kangaroos occasionally seen hopping in between the vines. The perfect ending to our wine-fuelled day, the comedic and friendly Italian hospitality by staff at the Cellar Door matches hand-in-hand with their aromatic Chianti and deliciously fluffy wood fired pizzas.

Returning to the city, we settle in for the night at Fraser Place Melbourne. As the sun starts to set over Melbourne, we quickly make our way up to the public rooftop area to catch the last glimpse of the setting sun peeking through the surrounding high-rise buildings. It is extremely calming and serene to witness this experience within the heart of Melbourne’s bustling CBD.

Making our way back downstairs after a long day, it’s hard not to notice the modern Aboriginal artwork displayed throughout the public areas of Fraser Place, whose artistic features continue in the form of street art hanging above the bed in each of their studio apartments. A spacious living area complete with a kitchen, dining area and private balcony, this boutique apartment hotel is ideal for both leisure and business travelers alike.

Internationally renowned as a hospitality group specialising in boutique hotels and luxury serviced apartments, Fraser Place’s stylishly contemporary vibes fit in perfectly with their urban location. Situated within walking distance to the theatre district, art galleries, bars, restaurants and cafes, and sporting grounds, guests have access to Melbourne’s top destinations right from their doorstep. If you’re keen for a day out to the Yarra Valley, Fraser Place Melbourne also offers package deals, which you can enquire about at their front desk.

We thoroughly enjoyed being a tourist for the day, and experiencing some of the many amazing destinations that the Yarra Valley has to offer. So whether you are a tourist or local like us, we recommend you take some time to experience all that this great city and state has to offer.

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Nicole
Nicole
Starting out her career as a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor, Nicole’s professional expansion into the food publication industry came as no surprise to those who saw her genuine passion for food develop over the years. Her appreciation for food doesn’t just entail tasting different cuisines, but also learning about the inspiration behind a dish, and about the story and people behind a venue. Food writing provides Nicole with a creative outlet to share her insatiable appetite with others, whilst food photography enables her to permanently capture the beauty and creativity that is fleetingly shown on the plate. Helping venues to manage their Social Media is a further example of Nicole’s desire to delve deeper into this ever-growing industry. Her love for eating fuels her passion and motivation for maintaining an active lifestyle, with running, hiking, Pilates and travel just some of the ways she manages to stay fit and healthy!

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