Less than 1.5 hours from Melbourne and surrounded by cosy, tree-laden mountains, Warburton is an all-seasons playground. Featuring the clear running Birrarung (Yarra River), ex-reservoir swimming holes, foraging and wild berry picking to your heart’s content.
- Walking, picnicking and foraging for fruits, berries and medicinals along Birrarung
- Clear river swimming and lolling about in cool mountain water
- Deep breaths of delicious, microbiome-ey forest air
On the Road to Warburton
A late summer Sunday spent in Warburton will whisper away even the most belligerent hangover and set you up for the week ahead, stat. Depart Melbourne on the open highway, turning onto the winding, wonderful smelling Warburton Highway which will guide you right to the opposite wall of the Yarra Valley – Warburton is nestled in the foothills of the eastern Yarra Ranges.
Park your car behind the quaint main street, pull out the picnic blanket and get exploring the lush, green surrounds.
There’s plenty of river bank to choose from, ranging from equipped BBQ sites to cosy green grassy nooks with large rocks to spread out on.
Get stuck into your sandwiches and observe ambitious fly fishermen or, if it’s quiet, sight the rare, shy platypus! Maybe sneak onto a little island via fallen logs dotted along the river’s edge and pretend to be Tom Sawyer for the day.
Yours for the Foraging
If you’re into foraging you can find native currents, brambles, gooseberry thickets and the biggest fig establishment you’ve ever laid eyes on, down in the park across the river.
You can also find wild passionfruit vines, stinkweed and mistletoe berries (if you’re lucky, a charismatic local will be running a guided walk – keep a lookout for Ranger Rem from Armoured Apothecary Foraging Tours).
There’s rock hopping to be done, bridges to run across, and curious little doorways and houses to discover in the bases of trees – fairies, or a cheeky local playing tricks? You decide.
The heart of Warburton (Warby to the locals) is definitely the river, which twists and winds its way right through the centre of town. With its rocky bottom, sandy, sometimes nutrient-rich clay banks and clear running water, you must spend some time splashing about and letting it run over you.
There’s nothing like a chirpy, bubbling river to lift the spirit and remind you how it feels to be one with country.
- Walking shoes
- Mozzie repellent – just in case
- Paper bag for your loot
How To Get There
Melbourne to Warburton town via the M3 and Warburton Hwy: 1 hr 25 mins
There’s plenty of car parking down behind the Arts Centre and along the river.
From Warburton up Donna Buang: 17 km drive / 21 mins
- Bird watching
There’s nothing tricky about these cute walks. The path undulates along the edge of the river and varies between pavers, gravel and some rock and dirt bits.
Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration
The Yarra River Walks, along the banks and linked by the six bridges of Warburton, are 6km worth of choose-your-own-adventure loops