|Chateau Yering stands out as a perfect example of colonial elegance, luxury and comfort, not only in the Yarra Valley where it is surrounded by award winning wineries, but also in Australia as a whole, for it is the only member of the prestigious Paris-based Relais & Chateaux Association in the country.|
Your welcome begins before you have even entered the late 19th century building. Driving up to the house round the semi-circled gravel driveway, where violet and white agapanthus line the lawn and the sun shines dappled through overhanging trees, nature itself gives you a wonderful reception. And once you step over the threshold the stately quiet, whiffs of wood smoke from the open fireplaces and warm human welcome are instantly and profoundly relaxing.
Different categories of rooms offer slight variations in comfort although all have king size beds, plenty of space, private outside verandah or balcony, and are at once cosy yet sophisticated. The River Suites feature garden views and, my personal favourite, the marble bathroom with deep claw-foot bath. The Yarra Suite offers separate lounge and dining room, panoramic views of the Yarra Valley and a bathroom with spa. The stable suite have antique four posters from which one can gaze into the open fireplace, while the one and only Yering Suite is reached via a private staircase for the ultimate in exclusivity.
Downstairs the bright airy drawing room invites you to sink into its deep sofas and just look around you at the beautiful drapes, carpets and European style furniture while you sip on your afternoon tea or sundowner cocktail. Next door in the library it is all dark wood, snug leather armchairs and a roaring fire, ideal for hibernating on chilly evenings.
Eleonoreís Restaurant is the jewel in their crown, a fine dining venue where master chefs use the local produce to conjure up some classic Australian dishes. Complemented by the 160 year old cellar and a view across the valley to die for and you have all the ingredients for a spectacular evening.
In fact the surrounding landscape was one of the definitive reasons why Relais & Chateaux found Chateau Yering so irresistible. Accepted in 2001, the property passed their 5C tests, namely courtesy, charm, character, calm and cuisine with flying colours, but the environs made the decision conclusive.
The rolling hills invite exploration, and each twist and turn of the road opens up fresh activities. Rose gardens, dairy farms, wildlife sanctuaries and slightly further afield there is the endearing town of Warburton and the Dandenong mountains.
But thereís no need to go too far for a bit of Australian culture as numerous wineries, most of which are open to the public daily along with their quality restaurants and alternative accommodation, are minutes away. In particular, literally at the end of the driveway, is Yering Station, the first vineyard ever to be planted in Victoria. In 1838 the first vines were planted and twelve years later the cattle property was fully turned into a winery. By 1889 Yering Station was the sole wine from the southern hemisphere to pick up a Grand Prix award at the Paris hosted World Exhibition, so perhaps these Australian wines arenít so new-world after all.
Today its cellar door, upstairs bar and bright airy wine bar, where the food is tailor-made for the wines, are renowned in the area and the wines are in their second century of picking up awards at various wine shows. In addition the property hosts monthly farmersí markets and year round art exhibitions, with pieces sold supporting charity.