The Yarra Valley is a world renowned Victorian wine region. To be honest we haven’t spent a huge amount of time in the Yarra Valley which is strange given its only 90mins drive from home. The area specialises in all things hospitality and tourism and has a huge range of Yarra Valley accommodation from luxury boutique to budget options, there is something to suit every budget.
Touted to be the flagship park of the Park Lane Holiday Park fleet, I had high expectations. The Yarra Valley is a very popular food and wine area of Victoria and people from across the world come here to visit some of the state’s best wineries. It’s located about 55 kms from central Melbourne to the North East and just over an hours drive away. I’m honestly not sure why we haven’t spent more time here.
As you know we also road tested the Big 4 Traralgon Park Lane Holiday Park a couple of weeks ago. As I said in that post, Park Lane Holiday Parks pride themselves on their outstanding customer service, quality facilities and well-maintained grounds. The Yarra Valley park maintains those high standards but is totally different to the Traralgon park.
One of the world’s great cool climate wine producing regions it has a significant history dating back to early 1800s. The Yarra Valley boasts 90 cellar doors including the famous Domaine Chandon, which can trace it’s roots back to the famous Moet & Chandon from France. Yarra Valley is also home to De Bortoli, Yering Station, Balgownie Estate and Rochford Wines some of Australias best known brands. Many of these wineries are also famous for their restaurants and popular with weddings.
The increase in the foodie scene has also bought with it several micro breweries, cideries and gin distilleries. Our favourites are the White Rabbit Brewery and on this trip we experienced the Four Pillars Gin Distillery for some boutique gin with boutique prices!
The things that took me by surprise when we arrived at the Big 4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park was all the different accommodation options available. There are options to suit every budget and while you might be thinking its a holiday park, these parks really are going above and beyond to attract families of all types and sizes.
If you follow me on social media you would have already seen my photos of our Cockatoo Villa with 3 bedrooms which accomodate up to 8 people, two bathrooms, large lounge area, full size kitchen with dishwasher, huge fridge/freezer, microwave, cook top and oven. There was also an indoor and outdoor seating area, the outdoor on our own balcony.
The master bedroom has a king bed with ensuite, bedroom two has a queen bed which Alannah quickly snagged as the princess suite and the third bedroom had two sets of bunk beds. The rooms were spacious with plenty of room and open wardrobes where you can place/hang your clothes.
Did I mention the European laundry with front loading washing machine and dryer. I have to admit I was pretty happy about that as we took the kids out of school early on Friday to get down there early and this meant I could wash their school uniforms and not race home Sunday and have to do it. Bonus!
The back deck was lovely but do note you will have to share it with the people in the next condo. I sat out on the balcony a lot and it opens on to an open lawn. The first night I was sitting there and I heard a rustle in the tree about a metre from where I was sitting. I put the light on on my iPhone and found this little guy sitting there looking straight back at me!
I loved these little cute and cozy glamping pods. I’d be more than happy to return for a romantic weekend for just Craig and I in one of these cool little pods. I loved that the glamping pods opened on to the park with Badger Creek in the background, it was full of native birds grazing on the grass. The little balcony with a two seater table setting would be prefect for reading the paper and enjoying your morning coffee.
Inside, the glamping pod has a king bed with ensuite in natural timber tones. All linen is provided along with a bar fridge and microwave. We love an afternoon grazing plate full of cheese and antipasto so the bar fridge would be perfect for that and a few beers and a bottle of local wine.
Glamping tents have become all the rage in holiday parks these days and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some can accommodate two people and some are big enough for a family of four. The family tents come in four different designs including retro, boho, industrial and eclectic themes. The glamping tents come with a private ensuite only a few steps away and used exclusively by those staying in the glamping tents.
Inside the family glamping tents are a king bed in the master and two king singles in the kids tent. Both tents have electric fans for those hot nights and the master has a dining table, bar fridge, television and bluetooth speaker.
The two people glamping tents are suitable for couples or if you just want to take a friend. Tents can be configured to either contain a king bed or like the family tents with two king single beds. They also have funky interior designs such as vogue, natural, provincial and Scandinavian.
The perfect retreat for any couple or friends to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and wake up to the sound of the birds, is there anything better. For me, I love waking up to the sound of our beautiful native kookaburra’s laugh, best sound in the world if you ask me and there’s plenty of them up there. Don’t you love the natural setting with all the surrounding gum trees.
There are a number of different options for cabins that accommodate couples and families. There is a cabin to suit every budget and I have provided a table below.
|3 Bedroom Hill Top Cabin||6||3||1|
|2 Bedroom Hill Top Cabin||6||2||1|
|2 Bedroom Lake View Cabin||4||2||1|
|2 Bedroom Family Cabin||6||2||1|
|2 Bedroom Parkside Cabin||6||2||1|
|1 Bedroom Hill Top Cabin||4||1||1|
All cabins have bed linen and towels, kitchen utensils, cookware, tea and coffee facilities, kettle and toaster. Best of all hairdryers are supplied also. Everything you need without having to bring it all yourself!
There are quite a number of caravan and camping sites available, I spoke to one lady that said her caravan site was small and pokey yet the ones that I saw backing on to Badger Creek were enormous. There are sites with an attached ensuite for those, like me, that don’t appreciate having to do the 2am dash to the loo. The powered sites across from our condo could easily fit two large tents and your vehicles on the site. What I liked most about these sites was that you would be able to sit by the creek with an unobstructed view.
A lot of the parks that we have recently visited are placing their glamping tents in the prime locations and pushing the campers back on to rocky rough ground where you can’t get your tent pegs in. Not here, I would have to say the tent campers had the best spots in the park. Definitely the ones along the creeks side which is also close to the kids playground. Perfect spot for families and exactly where I would want to be when we camp.
These holiday parks come fully equipped to make families completely comfortable. The camp kitchen is enormous and fully covered and enclosed. There are sinks, cooktops, industrial sized refrigerators, a large screen television, couches and camp tables for numerous families. This would be a wonderful area if the weather was bad and you were camping, I would totally appreciate an area like this to prepare meals.
There is also a bbq area near the kids playground. I like this because when we camp, cooking the bbq is a blue job which means Craig would take the meat to the bbq area and take the kids for play while he’s there. That means 30mins of peace for me! Got to be happy with that.
The park also has a laundry for campers to do their washing. There were a few coin operated washing machines and clothes dryers. There is nothing worse than packing up dirty and wet clothes and having to pull them out at home. I would be more than happy to use the washers and dryers at the park if the kids clothes got muddy and wet, highly likely given my kids would love to play in Badger Creek.
I’m not a coffee drinker and will be more than happy with my cuppa Lipton tea, Craig however is a self confessed coffee connoisseur and really appreciated the onsite coffee shop up at reception. From what I saw their little makeshift coffee shop does a bit of a roaring trade! Well they do say Melbourne is the coffee capital of the country.
We all know, happy kids happy wife, happy wife happy life! Well This holiday park is one that will definitely keep the kids entertained. As I’ve said before, swimming pools and jumping pillows are pretty much expected these days in Big 4 parks and Yarra Valley did not disappoint in this department. The pool is located next to the camp kitchen and has a shallow splash pool for the little kids to enjoy safely.
The kid’s eyes popped out of their heads when we went to have a look at the Parky’s Aqua Park, we had been on a similar one on Paradise 101 in Langkawi and the kids loved it. The one here on Lake Piccaninny was a little bit bigger though.
The managers run the aqua park between 12pm and 4pm for 1 hour sessions over the busy weekends. They have fully qualified life guards out there while the aqua park is in operation. When we went out there were 27 people and 3 life guards monitoring every section of the equipment. Children under 6 years are not allowed and children aged between 6-12 years are required to have an adults on the aqua park with them.
You might think and hour doesn’t sound like long but once you are out there, you’ll find it takes a bit more out of you than you think it will. The kids of course go a hundred miles an hour and will definitely sleep well that night! We took our GoPro out and made with awesome little video of the kids loving every minute of it.
As you can see the kids had a ball, I love that the park managers have created a nice deck area for parents to watch out of the direct sunshine. It definitely is something really different and exciting for the kids to do while staying at the park.
Very much like the jumping pillow, the jumping pad is pretty much the same kind of thing. I think its prefect for little kids to play on when the bigger kids are getting a bit rough on the jumping pillow like the older boys sometimes do! I love that the jumping pad it right in front of the bbq and very close to the kids playground.
It would be a great alternative during peak times when the jumping pillow would be teaming with a lot of kids.
The kids playground is right next to Badger Creek and the same area as the jumping pillow and jumping pad. Its a lovely area of the park as the park is open with plenty of room to kick a footy. The creek is lined with loads of big old gum trees that are full of native birds such as cockatoos, kookaburras, lorikeets, rosellas and galas.
We took some bird seed that we had bought from reception and put out our hands and sure enough down came a Rosella to eat the bird seed. Being a massive bird nerd this really made my day. The kids also found a kookaburra sitting on a tree branch not that far off the ground.
The timber cabin over near the swimming pool was a real surprise. I’ve never seen a games room more equipped than this one was. It was very much like a timber hut from the outside but when you walk in there is a billiard table, air hockey table, foosball table and board games for kids to play with. There is a fire place and it would be so cozy in the winter when its cold outside.
There is a couch and flat screen television down one end and an area for toddlers and appropriate toys for their age group. The timber hut has a full verandah and bench chairs to sit outside if the weather is nice.
The kids would definitely recommend Parky’s Aqua Park that’s for sure, it was a huge hit with them. Our kids are a little older now so I have the added luxury to be able to send them off to the playground and jumping pillow together. This means I get to have a bit of a break also. Our condo was close to the park which was reassuring as well.
Caelan enjoyed having the open space behind the condo to kick a footy with Craig and they enjoyed going off exploring and walking around the park together. The wildlife sightings in the park were also a hit, from kookaburras, possums, bird feeding and playing in the creek the kids really did have a great time.
Also located close to the Big 4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park is the Healesville Sanctuary run by Zoos Victoria. We were gifted free tickets from the management team and we visited on the Saturday of our weekend. The best thing is that kids are free at all Zoos Victoria Parks on weekends which will save you a bit of money as well.
Healesville Sanctuary is a zoo dedicated to Australian native animals. You will see the amazing koala enclosure with boardwalks were you can get a great view of the animals as they go about their daily business, well sleep! The open kangaroo enclosure is pretty cool as well. I love the bird aviaries especially the parrot one with all my favourite birds.
The kids will also love the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery, where they can fill their boots with all things sweet. Surrounded by sweeping views across the Yarra Valley, there are free chocolate tastings, the chocolate workshop where you can see the sweets being produced, so much chocolate to choose from for you to take home or give as gifts. You can stop at the cafe or enjoy an ice cream on the grass outside like we did.
As you can see there is plenty more to the Yarra Valley than wineries and boutique stays. I haven’t even scratched the surface of things to do in the Yarra valley with kids as there are so many national parks to explore and get out into nature. I highly recommend this area if you are travelling with kids and the added bonus of treating yourself to a winery visit here and there!
Have you been to the Yarra Valley? What’s your hot tip for travelling their with kids, tell me in the comments below.
Sal, Craig & Our3kids.
Disclaimer: I had a mutually beneficial arrangement with the Park Lane Holiday Parks, however as always my opinion is my own.