Just 32 km from the city, this is an idyllic location for a long stroll along the Yarra River. The area inspired many artists as way back as the Heidelberg school. The flat, picturesque walking track is partially shaded and has beautiful views of the river flowing over rocks.
I think one just got away!
This is a very well frequented track, particularly popular for dog walkers. Many of the dogs are off the lead and enjoy a swim in the river. I saw the smallest Chihuahua and the largest dog I have ever seen. I wouldn't fancy cleaning up after that one. The owners seem to spend a lot of time comparing and discussing their dogs and their habits (good and bad). Click here for related article.
There's a few kayakers and the odd child or two trying their hand at fishing and snagging their rods on the branches. I've seen lots of people fishing here but have never seen one catch a fish. However, it's a beautiful spot to sit, watch the ducks and have a picnic, whilst hoping to catch a fish!
In search of coffee and cheesecake I ventured up the hill to Yarra Street and discovered there are many more reasons for visiting Warrandyte.
The Warrandyte Bakery is very popular and distinctive because of the enormous mural. One of the reasons is that it has outdoor settings overlooking a large children's park.
They have a bit of an odd system for ordering coffee where you have to go inside first, pay and then come outside and line-up at to give your order slip to the barista. They have a large range of freshly baked cakes and biscuits for a pretty penny. My favourite is the citrus tart.
Ratty Moles Riverbank Antiques
Just down the track off Yarra St
This store is right next to the bakery and playground and has more antiques crammed into it than I have ever seen in one shop. Ratty Moles Riverbank Antiques actually houses 16 different antique businesses.
Can't fit one more thing in!
They stock china, glass, crystal, jewellery, lace, pottery, collectables and furniture. They specialise in Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, and Depression glass and can source particular items on request.
There is a small museum located on the main road, which is also a historic society. This is open every day but only in the afternoons and the times very according to daylight savings. They have many photos of old Warrandyte and other historic artefacts. They are one of the stations for the Warrandyte gold soundscape trail. If you push the button on the machine you will hear information about historic Warrandyte.
Yarra Cottage Books
This is a deceptively small bookshop which used to be a baker's residence, and old mine inspectors' hut. They buy and sell second-hand books and specialise in rare, antiquarian and out of print books. If you're a book lover and have plenty of time you can meander around the store and find yourself what you want, hopefully at the price that you want to pay.
Lollies and Treat Shop
Sweet treats for everyone
This little shop reminded me of something you would see in the Mary Poppins film. Some of the ceilings are quite low and the shelves are packed with good old-fashioned lollies, like boiled sweets, preserves, cordials and relishes. They have a large selection of international fare and cater for Coeliacs, Diabetics and other dietary restrictions. Hampers can be made up on the spot, pińatas and party bags for unique themes. Some of the treats are ones that we had when we were children like choo choo bars and sherberts. Click here for more details.
The Grand Hotel
I can imagine what this was like in its heyday. It really would have been such a grand hotel. There was probably not much else around apart from the uninterrupted view of the river and the trees. This would have been glorious on a sunny day. Now it's a bustling hotel with people dining outdoors as well as indoors. It features a bistro and wine bar, entertainment, public bar and even has a shuttle bus!
The Stonehouse Gallery
The name 'Stonehouse' reflects the old stone cottage. They feature changing exhibitions by many local and regional Australian artists thus promoting Australian handicrafts. There is also textile art, jewellery, glass, woodwork and furniture, art prints and paintings available for purchase.
Quirky Clay Studio
This is situated up a fairly steep driveway just on the roundabout in Warrandyte behind the Roundabout Cafe. I'm not sure if quirky is the right title, or if this says something about me, but I loved the art and didn't think it was at all quirky. Rather, I thought it was stylish and unique.
I also liked the idea that the artist was working away in one room next to the displays. I'm sure my kids would have liked to have seen her working on her clay pieces. I think this would be a great place to buy a unique gift.
The Round About Café
Private outdoor dining
I finally found a place to get delicious coffee. I have often seen this cafe when driving through Warrandyte and wondered about what it was like. This shop would have been a very small house at one stage.
I love the little private veranda out the front. It only has room for one table with two chairs. There is another outdoor dining space out the back. Inside is not very big, but they have tables as well as a comfy corner lounge suite. It looked just like a hippy's lounge room. I really liked the look of the pistachio gluten free pastries, but alas, no cheesecake. After looking at the menu I've decided I'll definitely have to come back for lunch!
There are actually plenty more lovely boutique cafes and unique businesses in the Main Street of Warrandyte but I had to stop here before I wrote a book!. Please comment on other good reasons you have discovered to visit Warrandyte.