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Marysville in Victoria is a small town located on the outskirts of Yarra Ranges National Park. It’s surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of Yarra Valley and The Steavenson River, which offers a plethora of outdoor attractions to explore.
Needless to say, if you’re a nature lover, you’ll find there are plenty of things to do in Marysville.
We had spent 8 days running around in Melbourne and felt we really needed some space, some time in nature, and to avoid the honking sounds. We had never visited this town before, but after visiting, we are sure to go back again!
Located just 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Melbourne, it could be done as a day trip, but we urge you to stay 2-3 days to soak it all in.
If you’re wondering what to do in Marysville and why you should be adding it to your Australia road trip itinerary, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about visiting this charming rural town.
I mean, just look at the road to Marysville…
- What happened to Marysville?
- Things to Do in Marysville, Victoria
- 1. Hike and picnic at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
- 2. Visit Steavenson Falls
- 3. Enjoy wine tasting at Buxton Ridge Winery
- 4. Play at Gallipoli Park
- 5. Marvel at Bruno's Art & Sculpture Garden
- 6. Go trout fishing at Buxton Trout Farm
- 7. Walk around the town in Marysville
- 8. Hike to Taggerty Cascades Marysville
- 9. Visit Cathedral Ranges State Park
- 10. Admire Kinglake National Park
- 11. Admire Lake Eildon
- Where to Eat in Marysville
- Where to stay in Marysville: Amelina Cottages
- Final Thoughts
What happened to Marysville?
But first, we need to tell you a little bit of history about Marysville so you can understand more about the heart and soul of this town.
The reason you may have heard of Marysville before is, unfortunately, because of some sad news attached.
On Black Saturday in 2009, almost the entire town burned to the ground with a vicious bushfire that swept in leaving little room for escape or to save anything.
Sadly, 45 people died and the town was destroyed. It was declared a crime scene and closed off while Victorian and Federal police conducted their investigations.
It was reopened to the public months later.
The strength of the local people after the Black Saturday Bushfire is admirable. Their spirit shows with the way they have created a new town from the ashes that is brimming with beauty and many wonderful things to do.
It’s only an hour north east of Melbourne, and a popular place for a little Melbourne getaway.
We enjoyed the serenity of Marysville’s overhanging tree lined streets and the surrounding forested mountains of the Great Dividing Range.
Things to Do in Marysville, Victoria
So now you know what happened to Marysville, let’s dive into the top attractions!
1. Hike and picnic at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
One of the best things to do in Marysville is to grab a picnic and enjoy the drive up to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.
Admire the cyclists peddling up the steep climb to come racing down again, and enjoy the comfortable feel of your leather car seats! It’s not a feat I think I’d ever enjoy or attempt.
Once you arrive at the Alpine Resort, a place for cross country skiing in the winter, hike to the summit for spectacular views of the surrounding Marysville area.
It’s only a 20 minute walk and a worthy picnic area for your picnic.
There are also two iconic waterfalls in the park, Phantom Falls and Keppel Falls, which are accessible via the Keppel Lookout Trail.
If you’re visiting in the winter, it’s a great place to bring your toboggans and slide down the trails.
2. Visit Steavenson Falls
Located only a 5 minute drive from town is the very pretty Steavenson Falls, one of Victoria’s highest waterfalls, which earned its name from John Steavenson, who built the roads to Marysville.
It’s lit up at night from dusk to 11pm. We attempted to go at night, but the girls fell asleep in the car on the way, and we don’t wake sleeping babies (not our nightmare sleepers who take 2 hours to go to sleep!).
But even in broad daylight, it’s a lovely site.
3. Enjoy wine tasting at Buxton Ridge Winery
We loved visiting the small family owned, Buxton Ridge winery. We’re becoming big fans of boutique wines – the wines usually surprise and delight and you get more of a personal experience with the owners and their story.
We stayed longer than we should have as the owner, Michael, had lots of great tips and stories to share. We loved the wine so much, we bought 2 bottles to have for Christmas and a jar of the local chilli jam, which is divine with Camembert cheese. Don’t miss the sparkling wine and the rose, real standouts.
4. Play at Gallipoli Park
All family travelers with young kids need to know where the good playgrounds are.
Gallipoli Park is a winner for the kids: water pumping stations, spider webs, swings, and a very cool flying fox.
And it’s right beside the pretty little river that runs through town.
5. Marvel at Bruno’s Art & Sculpture Garden
Yet another activity I wasn’t initially that enthusiastic about. It was awesome and the kids loved it- checking off the art curriculum for school.
It’s amazing how the painter and sculptor, Bruno Torf, has lovingly restored his art gallery and most of the pieces that were destroyed in the fire. The remains of some are now featured in the gallery.
Bruno was in the gallery and greeted all visitors spending time to tell his story and share the stories behind the pieces. Many of which have been inspired by his intrepid journeys to some the worlds most intriguing and remote regions
The real treat is of course the garden full of sculptures. It was a magical land filled with life sized terracotta goddesses and goblins, warriors and wizards appearing from deep within the rainforest setting.
The pieces were exquisite, so carefully detailed which brought them to life.
I highly recommend a visit to Bruno’s Sculpture Garden.
6. Go trout fishing at Buxton Trout Farm
I wasn’t that excited about visiting a trout farm, but I really enjoyed Buxton Trout Farm, as did the kids.
It’s Australia’s first trout farm where trout have been bred for over 50 years.
One of the workers Stuart, took us on a short tour of the farm to learn the inner workings and feed the fish. It was fascinating to hear the process behind the harvesting of trout – a huge industry in Victoria.
It is a self sufficient farm – they do all of their own breeding, hatching, growing, processing and value adding and distribute through wholesale fish markets throughout the country. Over 1 million trout are hatched each year and they grow about 80 tonnes a year. Crazy!
For only $25 for the whole family, you can grab a rod and fish for your own dinner. You have to pay for the fish you catch, but it’s a cheap, local way to eat. The kids will love it.
We didn’t only because we had dinner plans and were leaving the next day so couldn’t store the fish. But we did have some of their trout pate and smoked trout with crackers and it was delish!
There is another trout farm you can go to, Marysville Trout and Salmon Farm, but we didn’t go there so can’t comment on it.
7. Walk around the town in Marysville
Marysville is a small town and easily walkable, so why not spend some time walking around and taking it all in.
Despite being small, there is quite a cafe scene, with lots of boutique coffee shops to dip into. If you’re working remotely or need to catch up on emails, then you will find plenty of laptop friendly cafes in Marysville.
There’s also a bunch of art galleries and boutique stores to window shop in. You could also have a picnic in the local park by the river.
8. Hike to Taggerty Cascades Marysville
Another option is to pack a picnic lunch and take a drive along the stunning Lady Talbot Drive to Taggerty Cascades.
Taggerty Cascades is a beautiful short walk (approx 15-20 minutes) through the lush forests and bushlands with impressive waterfalls and photography opportunities along the way. Lyrebirds frequent the area.
The falls is not clearly signposted with a map (or we could be just complete idiots) so we didn’t make the falls. We gave up pretty easily because Savannah woke up from a nap and was very grumpy. Sometimes you just have to pack it in.
9. Visit Cathedral Ranges State Park
Located just a 20 minute drive from Marysville is the gorgeous Cathedral Ranges State Park.
It’s famous for its strenuous hikes, so not the best place to visit with young kids, but if you love to challenge yourself and see incredible mountain views, then this is the place to go.
Famous for its jagged ridges with spectacular views, you can hike the Razorback Trail for a truly thrilling experience. For boulderers, check out Sugarloaf Saddle or North Jawbone.
Families with young kids can explore the gentle Friends Nature Trail which also has lovely views.
Another popular thing to do here is camp by the ruins of Cooks Mill, where friendly kangaroos are known to keep campers company.
10. Admire Kinglake National Park
Nestled in the Great Dividing Range, Kinglake National Park is known for its hiking trails and mountain biking trails, with views over Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne and the Yarra Valley.
If you’re into bird watching, pack your binoculars as the park is home to Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, King Parriots, lyrebirds, and colourful rosellas.
Bike the dirt tracks at Bowden Spur, drive up Mount Sugarloaf, walk to Masons Falls, known for its fossilised sea beds, or go camping at The Gums Camping area.
11. Admire Lake Eildon
Lake Eildon is a man-made lake under the Eildon Dam, and is a controlled spillway across the Goulburn River.
If you want to get a beautiful view of the lake, drive over to Eildon (about 30 minutes from Marysville) to Foggs Lookout. It’s one of the closest lookouts of the lake and has incredible views.
Where to Eat in Marysville
Knowing where to eat is always difficult for travelers, so below we have listed some of the places we enjoyed eating at when we visited…
Fragas Cafe quickly became our local. I suggest taking a look at the photo book while there which documents the journey of this cafe. There’s a lot of love and passion here.
While we were there, Masterchef judge, Gary Beaton, walked in with motorcycle helmet in hand.
You know a place is good if celebrity chefs ride in from Melbourne for breakfast. The coffee was to die for and the breaky gets a big thumbs up.
Black Spur Inn
It’s well worth enjoying a meal at the historic Black Spur Inn situated in Narbethong, about 15 minutes (12 km) from Marysville.
It’s in a very pretty setting with views of the garden and forest and the food on the menu is delicious.
Elevation 423 Bar and Cafe
If it’s pizza and beer you’re after, Elevation 423 Bar and Cafe is the place to go. They renovated bar and cafe a few years ago, and now it has a cosy feel with bi-fold windows giving you great views of the main street.
Where to stay in Marysville: Amelina Cottages
When it comes to where to stay, we highly recommend Amelina Cottages, which is where we stayed.
Comfortable, clean, modern, well-equipped and ideally located. We enjoyed the Amelina Cottages, especially curled up on the couch in Craig’s arms with a glass of red wine, a roaring fire, a crooning Michael Buble Christmas special. Swoon.
It was an easy stroll to the main street of town, and the kids were kept happy with a bright bedroom filled with toys and a yard to run around in.
So if you’re looking for a getaway from Melbourne, this is a lovely little town with enough to do to occupy a few days.
The people are engaging, quick to offer a suggestion, and have moved on with their lives and businesses in a positive way.
It’s the ideal destination to visit if you need to soak up some nature, get away from the hustle and bustle, and just relax.
There REALLY IS something about Marysville.
Have you been to Marysville? What else do you recommend to do? Let us know in the comments.