If you journey past Melbourne's outer Eastern suburbs, you will venture into what is colloquially known as the 'end of the line' - Warburton. It's a little way past my neck of the woods in the scenic Yarra Ranges and it's a popular playground for the inner Melbournians and international tourists who regularly flock here in droves, looking to experience idyllic weekends.
Why? Because it's simply beautiful here.
The area is dense with forest, wildlife and charm. Warburton is an old township; settled in the early 1900's and dotted with suitably quaint antique stores and homes, nestled amidst the lush valley scenery.
Arriving here, (either via the Warburton Trail or the equally scenic Warburton Highway, a trip of around 45 minutes from Lilydale), stepping out of your car promises to be a sensory experience of the highest kind.
The pace and vibe here is wonderful.
The cool, fresh mountain air hangs heavy with the scent of eucalyptus, aged, damp wood, rich earthy aromas and old, dry dwellings with a touch of enticing fresh coffee. Audibly, all sound has that strange, hyperbolic quality experienced exclusively in treed valleys and the bird calls are musically spectacular, (punctuated on occasion by the faint chink of a café spoon or two).
For families, Warburton offers so much and the best part is, it's a whole lot of loveliness for nothing.
You can visit Warburton just to appreciate its breathtaking beauty, or come loaded with cash to spend in its boutique stores and cafés. We like to strike a balance when we come here. Somewhere between both options, makes the perfect day retreat, from the regular stresses of life.
Should you venture out Warburton way, make sure you do three fabulous things here (besides taking in the extraordinary views and scents!)
Try the Yarra River. The Yarra runs right through the centre of the Warburton township. It's sparkling clean here, having passed through the mountain ranges and makes the perfect place to take a family picnic. The banks of the Yarra here are lush and grassy with plenty of seats and a walking track. It's a beautiful place to settle down with a BYO picnic basket and a bottle of wine, while you watch the kids frolic by the river's edge and glance at the passing locals and visitors as they stroll by.
Be prepared to settle here for a while - it's hard to go home. Cost: Free.
|Frolicking amidst the sparkling Yarra river. Bring your bathers in the warmer months (and perhaps a change of clothes for the kids in winter - they have a habit of getting wet regardless!).|
You can spend literally all day here doing just this and the kids are guaranteed to stay happy and off your back. (The river sounds magical too!)
|The abundant wildlife in Warburton offers some picture perfect moments and keeps the kids excited. |
Don't forget to pack a camera!
Try Warburton's Playground:
No trip to any family-friendly destination is truly complete without a visit to a dedicated children's space. That said, our second family-friendly pick is letting the kids run free in the lovely area set aside for happy play.
Warburton's playground is conveniently located between the pretty stores off the main street. It's small but interesting and certainly adequate and is surrounded by manicured gardens and pathways. You'll have trouble once again, pulling your kids away from the fun to be had in here.
We've the best solution though and it works a treat every time we want to move them on...
As a family, our biggest and most anticipated part of any day trip to Warburton, is a visit to the Warburtons Candy Emporium. It's our last stop for the day on any visit because you can part with some serious cash here where the little people are concerned!
Try The Warburtons Candy Emporium:
Step inside this old-time store and step back in time when you do. (The same can be said regarding any of Warburton's dwellings really - all olden-day lovelies with chipped and slanting wood floors, creaky fittings and a rustic appeal jazzed up with modern-day gourmet goods, eclectic wares and a coat of paint.) Perfection!
Here, you'll find all manner of Australian home-grown treats from the local cottage industries like boiled sweets and nearby chocolatiers, to international favourites such as English Jammie Dodgers, Fry's bars and a bountiful selection of colourful and whacky American lines: Gums, chews, popping candy and all-day-suckers. It's glorious!
... And it's every kid's dream!
You really can't help but spend in here - both time and cash. It's like taking a little international trip to another end of the world. I really don't need to tell you that my kids (all kids!) LOVE it in here!
|The 'You must put some of that back' face!|
The Warburtons Candy Emporium is located at 1/3375 Warburton Hwy, Warburton VIC. 3799
Munch your 'candy' loot while taking in the sights on the walk back to your car along the main street. The shopping here does not disappoint. Browse clothing, home interiors, bags, jewellery, locally made souvenirs and gourmet cafes. There are many historic stores to explore, a small local antiquities museum as well as a huge visitors centre.
Warburton has it all in just the right dose for the best family day out that leaves you feeling refreshed and well-travelled without the exhaustion of a major trip. If you ever venture out near this way, don't hesitate to travel just a little bit further to experience this gem in the hills of Victoria.
Just the Facts:
Find additional information about Warburton here.
Warburton is located 75kms east of Melbourne.
Additional attractions in the Yarra Ranges include Healesville Sanctuary.
Have you ever visited Warburton?
Do you have a day-tripper playground where you frequently visit near your home?
This post has been written as an entry in the Kidspot Voices of 2015 #ShareAustralia competition.
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