Business event organisers were treated to some gastronomic delights as they toured the premiere business event venues in the magnificent Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges.
The two day famil program commenced an easy one hour drive from Melbourne at SkyHigh Mount Dandenong, where participants left the cityscape behind and took in the crisp mountain air. Situated on the uppermost reaches of the Dandenong Ranges, SkyHigh features a private function room with spectacular floor to ceiling views of the surrounds. Our next step was Mist@Olinda, situated within the beautiful Dandenong Ranges Botanic Garden. Both venues serve as great off-site function spots.
After heading up one side of the mountain, the group travelled down the other side towards ‘the Valley’ and a morning tea stop at the purpose built conference facility – The Country Place, an award-winning residential conference venue that prides itself on its customised and flexible approach in delivering the customer experience. The group were pleased to not have to climb the high ropes course!
Yarra Valley Lodge was the next stop, the largest residential venue in the Yarra Valley for business events. The group had a roaming tour of the expansive property that featured 10 flexible conference and function spaces before settling down to a relaxed two course lunch.
Eastern Golf Club and Yering Gorge Cottages was one of the hidden gems on the famil itinerary and truly encapsulates the BEV hash tag #ididntknowyoucouldconferencethere. The group relaxed in front of the open fire, enjoying some of the Yarra Valleys finest wines, while viewing the properties resident kangaroos. Did you spot the rare albino Kangaroo?
After a full day with full bellies, we arrived at our evening resting spot Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa, where the group checked in and settled into their one bedroom spa suites. After a bit of R&R and opportunity to refresh, the highlights continued through the evening with an extensive wine tasting and sampling of local cheeses. The group then adjourned to the prestigious and historic Chateau Yering Hotel for an exquisite evening of fine-dining at award winning Eleonore’s Restaurant. This heritage listed Victorian mansion on 250 acres, borders the Yarra River and is set on established gardens dating from 1854.
The group awoke the next day refreshed to a trademark crisp and misty Yarra Valley morning, with colourful hot air balloons already overhead on their morning voyage. Just a short run up the road from Balgownie Estate is Yarra Valley Estate, a conference venue committed to sustainability and wildlife welfare encapsulated in its Babbajin Wildlife rescue park. Family owned and operated, Yarra Valley Estate’s aim is to be carbon neutral & fully environmentally restorative with a zero waste ethos. Located on 120 acres the property features its Edible Forest Garden with over 500 plants on one acre of purpose built garden, which is also the setting for unique team-building activities.
Heading across the Valley the group arrived at RACV Healesville Country Club which has been designed to offer a one-stop shop for conference and event organisers with both intimate and large events catered for.
A visit to the Yarra Valley is not complete without a visit to at least one or two wineries and our final two stops facilitated this need – Rochford and Oakridge Wines. Rochford is a versatile indoor and outdoor function, event and entertainment destination. From intimate corporate dinners to incentive groups and product launches, Rochford’s large indoor spaces and expansive grounds are your blank canvas to create the ideal event.
Our final stop and highlight is the extraordinary Oakridge Wines where you are only limited by your imagination. Dinners in the winery with opera singers, wine tasting in the barrel hall with the head wine maker or specially designed menus by head chef Matt Stone.
The group was sad to say good bye to each other and this beautiful region but everyone left with a fuller understanding and appreciation of how great this region is for business events and all right on the door step of Melbourne.