Warburton is surrounded by forests on all sides and makes a great destination for a holiday that includes plenty of bushwalking and getting back to nature. Several hiking trails begin in the town and travel through amazing forests to remarkable sights. The walk to La La Falls is one of the best and passes ferny gorges for three kilometres until it reaches the beautiful cascades. The trail to the Ada Tree mountain ash is another favourite and culminates in the sight of the massive 300-year old mountain ash, which is said to be the largest flowering tree of its size in the world. Other popular walks that begin in the town include the Mount Victoria Walk and the hike to Big Pats Creek.

The Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail is another highlight of the area and follows the length of the former timber railway linking the two towns. At 38-kilometres long, the trail, which can be tackled by foot or on a bicycle, passes stunning scenery and also offers an interesting insight into the heritage of the areas. Particularly pleasant areas along the trail include the section from Wesburn to Yarra Junction, which passes the Yarra Ranges National Park and the section from Wandin to Mount Evelyn, which travels through dense bushland and offers the chance to spot an abundance of native wildlife.

Warburton is also a popular weekend destination in winter, when it becomes a base for visitors seeking to explore Melbourne's closest snowfield at nearby Mount Donna Buang. The snowfield is protected by a scenic reserve and offers tobogganing, sightseeing and plenty of scope to play in the snow. Lookouts allow for fantastic photo opportunities of snow-covered peaks, while walks through the bush also lead to beautiful snow-laced forests. Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is also within reach of Warburton and is notable for being one of Australia's premier cross-country ski resorts.

Warburton itself has a pleasant main street, lined with interesting shops, as well as great cafes, bakeries and restaurants, perfect for re-fuelling in after a long day of outdoor activities. The surrounding Yarra Valley is home to some of Australia's premier cool-climate wineries and touring the vineyards is a popular pastime. Many wineries feature terrific cafes and restaurants in their grounds and they make great venues for romantic dinners overlooking the beautiful surrounding countryside. Warburton is a 90-minute drive from Melbourne via the Eastern Freeway and the Maroondah and Warburton highways. Rail services from Melbourne run as far as Lilydale, with connecting bus services available to Warburton.

The Warburton Bridge (Courtesy of Phil Gradwell)

 

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