Nestled in the foothills of the Victorian Alps 2 hours from Melbourne, Marysville has that feel of a quiet little Aussie mountain town. However, there’s more to this little piece of the famous Yarra Valley than meets the eye. From Gold Rush history and bushfire tragedy to amazing scenery and local produce, here are our 5 reasons to visit Marysville.
We weren’t sure what to expect as we drove northeast from Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport. The Yarra Valley is famed for its amazing produce, and the mountains here catch the rare snow that makes up the Australian ski fields.
However, Marysville was also one of the worst affected towns of the infamous Black Saturday bushfires that scourged the land in 2009.
To be honest we wondered if this little town had managed to come back from such a deadly blow.
But as we reached the outskirts of the town, we could see we needn’t have worried. Yes, there is a ‘newness’ to the town, and there is still evidence of fire damage around, but that’s what Marysville is about. It’s part of its spirit.
We were keen to get to know this area a bit better and learn what makes this place tick.
5 reasons to visit Marysville, Victoria
1. Great food
The Yarra Valley is famous for its amazing produce, so it stands to reason the food and wine in Marysville is out of this world.
Book in for dinner at Radius Bar and Grill. Opened in March ’15, this is fine country-style dining at its best. The name comes from a playful tribute to 85% of the restaurant’s ingredients coming from within a 100km radius of town.
Radius is connected to the Vibe Hotel, so if you’re staying there, which we’d recommend, concierge will be able to sort out your booking for you. It’s also waddling distance back to your room – a very welcome bonus we enjoyed!
2. Value snow destination
This part of the snow is perfect for first-timers, non-skiers and kids. It’s $54.50 entry per car to get to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. The cost is because they make snow so you’re always sure to see some.
You can hire or buy toboggans, which are ideal for this type of snow.
During the summer months we’re told there’s no snow, but there’s no cost to get to Lake Mountain either, and the views are well worth the short drive from Marysville.
3. Gorgeous scenery
The countryside in and around Marysville is amazing. You don’t have to go far from your hotel to see it either.
There are heaps of walks or hikes to do in the area, and it’s only a 5-minute stroll to the base of the Steavenson Falls just up the road from town. The Steavenson River itself flows right through town.
We just drove a little way out of town for a perfect little picnic in the forest. A freshly smoked trout fillet and some salmon pate from the Buxton Salmon and Trout Farm, a freshly baked olive sourdough we got from the Lolly Shop in Marysville and bottle of local wine and we were in perfect form!
4. The history
Go and see Mary & Reg at the historic centre in the heart of Marysville. Make sure you’ve got plenty of time as they’ve got lots to tell you.
You’ll leave with lots of did-you-knows like up until the 1970s, Marysville was a honeymoon hotspot. And at the height of the gold rush in the mid-1800s, Marysville, which was right between the gold fields and Melbourne, had over 75 hotels and inns, and 750 rooms.
There’s also the sobering Phoenix Museum there, which chronicles the horrors of Saturday 7th February 2009 – or ‘Black Saturday’.
It was that day that saw huge areas of bushland and forest, and over 2,030 homes destroyed by ferocious wildfires – the worst in Victoria’s history. 173 people lose their lives. Marysville was one of the worst hit towns and was completely obliterated.
It’s not light-hearted and might bring a tear to your eye, but it’s an essential part of this town’s makeup and tells a lot of its current residents.
5. Great drives
The winding roads twisting up and down the mountains are a lot of fun to drive – perfect for motorcycles too. Marysville is 418m above sea level, so the drive up from Melbourne along the road called the Black Spur is world class motoring fun.
When we checked in at the Vibe, Darren at reception described the Black Spur “like something out of Jurassic Park.” And you wouldn’t be totally surprised to see a T Rex leap out from behind the towering forest that surrounds this amazing road.
Marysville and the Yarra Ranges National Park really are stunning places to visit. Especially to have this so close to Melbourne’s doorstep, this is a must if you’re looking for a romantic weekend getaway from Melbourne’s city limits.
Have you been to Marysville? Where do you go to get away from it all? Tell us in the comments!
We love travelling around Australia, visiting regional towns and exploring the countryside. Check out some of the other places we’ve been to recently: