Day trip to Healesville
Melbourne Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
For their first full day in Melbourne, we took our American friends on a day trip to Domain Chandon winery and Healesville Sactuary. It took about an hour and a half to drive to the Yarra Valley area and I was instantly charmed by the rows of red leaf trees that greeted our entry to the winery.
Domain Chandon in Coldstream produces the famed Dom Perignon champagne (or sparkling wine, given that it's not made in Champagne, France). Tastings or lunch are served in a glass-walled building that overlooks the vineyards. Every table is set with signature glasses and complimentary bread, cheese and beetroot dip to accompany tastings. There were four sparkling wines to try, including a Pinot Shiraz NZ (I don't think I've ever seen red champagne before) and my favourite, the Cuvee Riche NZ, given that it was the lightest and sweetest.
Next stop was lunch at Mt Rael in Healesville (www.mtrael.com.au). This restaurant and hotel is perched on a mountain top, hidden amongst all the gum trees. The restaurant itself has fantastic food and modern decor, though probably above my price range if my parents weren't paying (he he).
Last stop was the famed Healesville Sanctuary. I couldn't believe how active the koalas were! Apparently, koalas sleep for around 20 hours a day, but we managed to arrive during the four they were awake. They jumped from tree to tree, munched on gum leaves and stared curiously at the crowd of tourists taking their photo. Although I was born here, this was also the first time I'd seen an echidna. Its spiky ball of a body was camouflaged next to a rock hiding tasty ants. However, our American friends were a little disappointed with the lazy kangaroos. There's actually a sign in their enclosure saying that kangaroos only hop when they sense danger, so their lax behaviour is a sign of comfort. Just shows how much the tourist status can consume you - everyone cared more about getting a photo of a jumping kangaroo than whether they were comfortable.