The Yarra Valley spreads eastward from Melbourne's suburban fringe, and is a popular area with both locals and international visitors. Because Melburnians often use the valley for weekend breaks, the best time to visit is on working weekdays when the crowds are thinner. The small, attractive towns are dotted with good cafés, restaurants, and shops; in the rolling countryside between them you’ll find numerous fine wineries that have excellent restaurants with impressive food and views.
Healesville is a good base for travel to Yarra Valley wineries and the Dandenongs Region, as it's an easy drive from both. This pleasant town with a tree-shaded main street is also home to the Healesville Sanctuary, an open-plan zoo that showcases all manner of Australian native wildlife. Two popular areas within Yarra Ranges National Park—Badger Weir Walk and Maroondah Reservoir—are ideal for bushwalking and picnics.