Updated: May 15
Want to unlock the ultimate Yarra Valley day trip experience without having to line up a designated driver? This summer, Hop It has teamed up with Global Ballooning Australia to present you with the ultimate day spent in one of our favourite flying, wining and dining locations, the Yarra Valley.
Join us as we soar in an iconic hot air balloon at sunrise, then explore three or four of the Yarra Valley's premium establishments on our Hop It Green Route. And if you're having trouble choosing where to stop, read on for our selection of some of the incredible estates and experiences on offer – Global’s guide to the Valley.
Ready? Let’s go!
It’s an early start – but worth it! The Global bus meets you at Pullman on the Park in Melbourne city, transferring you out to the Yarra Valley before daybreak. Upon arrival, you’ll be introduced to your pilot, and the excitement begins!
Hot air ballooning is an adventure like no other: there is the adrenaline surge during inflation as your huge, brightly coloured balloon stands up like an over-sized lantern in the half-light, then the slightly strange but compelling sensation of being gently lifted above the ground, floating with the winds in perfect harmony with nature. You'll gaze out over the curvature of the horizon, reaching the height of ascent for the first time and observing a golden silence as the sun rises. These are all facets of the hot air ballooning experience Global's passengers continue to rave about for years after their first flight.
Following the flight, it’s back to Balgownie Estate, where you’ll sit down to a hearty, sparkling breakfast buffet.
Once you’ve eaten your fill, you might elect to take a snooze in the sun on Balgownie’s sprawling deck, OR…
… treat yourself and fill in time by visiting the incredible team at Endota Spa, located onsite at Balgownie Estate.
Express facial starts from $100 for 30 mins — yes, please! Gotta book in advance here, so visit endotaspa.com.au for more details.
Once you’re rested and rejuvenated, it’s back into the stunning cellar door to begin sampling – starting with Balgownie’s premium offerings (tastings start from 10:30 am).
At 11:33am the little white and green Hop It bus rolls up – it’s time to experience some of our favourite cellar doors!
Charlie and his family are passionate about great wines and stories, which you’ll discover tied up in their intricate and elaborate iconography. It all started with a passion for Pinot here, but now they specialise in manner of cool climate, handpicked wines. Try reds, whites and rosés while finding out what really makes these people tick.
Mandala is also the home of Di Vino Ristorante, a beautiful glass-walled lunchroom serving farm-to-table Italian cuisine that’ll make your heart melt.
This place is grouse. They’re the new kids on the block, offering pet nats and every manner of other offbeat experimental liquids. A cosy door, coquettish outlook and plenty of personality to go around makes this spot a big recommend if you’re on the fence about where to stop next.
And, in case you needed any further persuading, this is also the home of CRÉ Wines, so really, you’re getting two stops for the price of one here. And they’re both CRÉte (sorry).
This is a beaut place to pull out some snacks if you’ve had the foresight to pack them! Enjoy one of the best views in the Valley while crickets chirp and vines rustle just over the fence.
Another of the spectacular cellar door buildings on our route, Sutherland Estate is like a little castle set high up in the foothills of Toolangi Forest. There’s a fireplace for rainy, cosy days, big towering ceilings for marvelling at, and a wonderful deck to soak up sun on. You’ll enjoy boutique, minimum-intervention wines made by Angus and Cathy, who’ve been happily settled here since 2006. They also put together a pretty cracking cheeseboard here, too!
Here live Matt, Brad and Seb – a family of winemakers, great and small! The stunning cellar door and restaurant extends out over delectable vines, providing the views you pine for on office days. Come here for tastings with Brad, meals straight from the kitchen garden, and wines from vines carefully tended by Matt. Even Seb has started producing his own drops – what a cutie!
Ahhh, it's time to go home – but believe us, you'll be ready! Curl up for a snooze on your way back into the city on the Hop It bus, or chat with your new bus buddies. After all, you've got something in common now, and – with the day you've just had – a plethora of new and exciting memories to share!
Have we inspired you to go ahead and book the biggest and best day trip itinerary ever?! If you haven't yet – Hop to it!
Please visit hopit.com.au for live availability (look for Green Route – Yarra Valley) or get in touch with the Hop It team directly here. To book in your balloon flight, transfers from the city and champagne breakfast, contact the friendly Global reservations team here.
See you on the Bus!