Bohemian vibes, heart-warming food and lush bushland await in this pocket of Melbourne. Here are our favourite things to do in Warrandyte.
Start your day by pulling up a pew on the verandah at Warrandyte Stonehouse Cafe [321 Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, Warrandyte]. Surrounded by towering native trees, this welcoming stone cottage offers a change of pace to typical suburban cafes, with an outdoor area that will make you feel a world away from Melbourne’s burbs. Fill up on the Stonehouse’s Hearty Breakfast of bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, rosti, pork and fennel chipolatas on sourdough. Or, if you’re after something on the sweeter side, the apple and raspberry pancakes make dessert for breakfast entirely acceptable. Wash it down with a turmeric latte or a bottle of kombucha while you enjoy the bush setting. Don’t be surprised if some of the local native birds fly down to the verandah to say hello.
Image source: facebook.com/warrandyte-stonehouse-cafe
Not only is the Stonehouse a top-notch place to eat, but the building also has strong ties to the artistic community of Warrandyte. In fact, it was the birthplace of one of the areas longest-running art cooperatives, established in 1972 by a group of potters. When you finish breakfast, take a short drive from the cafe down the charming Yarra Street to where the Stonehouse Gallery [103 Yarra Street, Warrandyte] lives today. Here you can browse lovingly handcrafted jewellery, ceramic works, glass creations and more, all made by Stonehouse artists. For those looking for something specific to add to their home, commission works can also be arranged here.
Image source: instagram.com/stonehousegallery
Once you’re done browsing the wares of local artisans, take a short stroll down to the banks of the Yarra River. The section that weaves through Warrandyte is one of the cleanest stretches of the Yarra, and its lush surrounds make it a picturesque place for a leisurely stroll, or a run if you’re feeling active. For an extended exercise sesh, walk along the banks of the Yarra to Bound Bend Reserve [Pound Bend Road, Warrandyte]. When the sun is shining, it’s a much-loved swimming spot, but even on a milder day there is plenty to do. Information boards will tell you all about the Indigenous history of the Pound Bend area as well as the construction of the Pound Bend Tunnel. It was built in the 1800s as a diversion tunnel so a section of the Yarra could be drained for gold mining. Not only is this location rich in history, but the tunnel also creates rapids that are usually gentle enough to walk or paddle through. Pound Bend is also an excellent spot for animal lovers — keep your eyes peeled for the koalas, echidnas, kangaroos and kookaburras that frequent the area.
Image source: instagram.com/marcelo_andres_torres
Return to the main street to reward yourself with a little something from the Sassafras Sweet Co [207 Yarra Street, Warrandyte]. Here you’ll find sweet delights like raspberry drops and fudge blocks, as well as confectionary from the USA — hello, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups! These will keep your energy levels up for a spot of shopping along the rest of Yarra Street. Straddling either side of this leafy thoroughfare, you’ll find a range of charming boutiques selling everything from hippy-style clothing and jewellery to artisanal homewares. The free-spirited gift store Folk Art [232 Yarra Street, Warrandyte] has been around since the 70s and is known for its bohemian homewares, accessories and apparel sourced from all around the world. Further along Yarra Street just past the Warrandyte Pub, SheEarth [106–108 Yarra Street, Warrandyte] sells a collection of enchanting crystals and gemstones, perfectly playing to Warrandyte’s character. Expect to find everything from rough cuts of amethyst to polished gems fashioned into jewellery.
Image source: instagram.com/sheearth
Hiding down a dirt road amongst the rolling hills of Warrandyte you’ll find a wine-lovers oasis and your lunchtime destination. Pietro Gallo Estate [54–56 Brumbys Road, Warrandyte South] was brought to life by John Di Pietro and Anna Gallo, both passionate about exceptional food and drink. Head to the cellar door and sample wine, liqueur or grappa and select your favourite to enjoy alongside lunch. The onsite restaurant, Olivigna, offers tasty wood-fired pizza and hearty pasta dishes, in a beautiful rustic setting. Inside, it displays the tools and machines used to make their wine and spirits, while stunning views of sprawling vineyards and bushland await through its windows. The alfresco area is a brilliant place for a meal with friends when the sun is shining and during the cooler months, cosying up at a table by the fireplace is a treat. If you’d like to continue your food and wine experience, book in for a distillery tour or a Limoncello appreciation class to learn from the experts. Stroll through the picturesque grounds and take in the views before the next leg of your day.
Another location that captures the natural beauty of Warrandyte is Warran Glen [373 Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, Warrandyte]. It’s a nursery that offers a range of plant life from around the world. Meandering through this indoor-outdoor emporium of greenery, you’ll feel transported to an exotic holiday destination. In addition to beautiful plant life, you’ll find unique garden art, whimsical water features as well as a range of boutique giftware. In addition to the nursery, Warran Glen has its own botanical garden complete with a picturesque pond, and an onsite eatery. Head over the footbridge to the café and order a coffee to enjoy while overlooking the tranquil gardens.
Image source: instragram.com/olivigna
No visit to Warrandyte is complete without stopping in at the much-loved Warrandyte Berry Farm [449–451 Ringwood-Warrandyte Road, Warrandyte South]. Its road-side stall sells a range of strawberry delights that you can enjoy onsite or take home. Try the homemade ice cream topped with fresh strawberries and berry sauce, chocolate dipped strawberries or jam doughnuts for a dessert to your lunch. Or, for something to enjoy later, pick up one of the conserves or the addictive strawberry leathers — the perfect snack for your drive home.
Image source: instagram.com/warrandyteberryfarm
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