Looking for inspiration in the Yarra Valley
When I started looking for somewhere to say in the Yarra Valley, I knew I didn’t want to stay in a hotel. I wanted something independent. Something small. Back in 2000, we stayed in the Yarra Valley, at a family owned winery and homestead called Yarra Burn, based in Yarra Junction. So many Yarra’s !! We had such a fabulous experience that we wanted to try and achieve something similar. Knowing that the family from Yarra Burn no longer operated the winery or it’s associated bluestone cottage accommodation, I cast my net online.
Somewhere along the way, I came across The Yarra Valley Church, advertised on www.stayz.com.au. I’ve used this website before so knew it to be reputable. The Yarra Valley Church was free on the nights we needed so with a few clicks of the keyboard, we were on our way.
Once the initial request is made, communication is then conducted directly with the owner, which I like. The owner was quick to respond and helpful and efficient with his information. Making payment was also made easy via the option of direct payments to his bank account. A bond is required to be paid which I have to admit wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to cover the damage someone could make. They are really taking everyone on face value (or email value ) by allowing strangers to stay in this beautiful church.
When we arrived, I knew we had found a magnificent place. To be able to stay in an old church is something special, but add to that the gorgeous location and the accommodation/amenities and this is a place you’ll never want to leave. Or at the very least you will want to come back!
We were provided with very good directions to the property which took away any potential hassle of finding it. It is actually located next to the local school which was also a bit unique in itself. No-one from the school bothered us though as we were out during the day whilst all the kids were there and they were long gone by the time we got back at night.
There are several entry points to the church but we found ourselves coming and going by the back door leading into the kitchen.
The Church was so much bigger than I thought it would be. At the rear of the building was a very spacious bathroom, which was heated and a fully functional kitchen, containing everything and more that you would need for a stay here.
The dining room table, positioned on the elevated altar was fit for an elegant dinner party, and the lounge, with two sofas (including sofa bed), music and tv facilities, books, games and a fire to sit by completed the downstairs inclusions. Sitting by the fire at night, glass of red in hand was just the perfect way to end a busy and chilly day in the outdoors. As a Queenslander, having a fire lit is still something special to me and I don’t waste any opportunity to have one crackling away in the background.
A mezzanine/loft level has been added to the building and it is here that the bedroom is situated.
You reach the bedroom via an incredibly narrow, spiral staircase. It’s a novelty whilst we were here but I would hate to have to do this every day. My mind immediately goes to the studio apartments in Paris that have these as a common feature.
Up on high, the heat from the fireplace rises to keep us perfectly warm through the night.
The Church is also packed full with linen, towels and plenty of good quality blankets and bedding to ensure you keep warm.
It’s truly unique
This quirky little place offers enough charm to win over even the toughest nut and brings with it a wonderful personal story. The owners were actually married in this church. It’s not often you can say you both own and got married in a church.
The Church’s location in Dixon’s Creek is central to everything in the Yarra Valley. The roads are good, and the distances between towns is not far. We drove all over the Yarra Valley and our drive into the Dandenongs only took an hour and a half. We ate and drank our way around (responsibly of course) and had some nights of dining in around the fire as well (when the restaurants weren’t open). We bought our breakfast goodies from the local markets and spent our early mornings listening to the birds outside and watching the odd rabbit make it’s way home.
Check it out for yourself
If you are looking for something that has it’s own character and not a carbon cutout hotel room where you could be anywhere in the world, head over to The Church Yarra Valley and tell Ed I said hi.
Kerri now travels regularly with her husband, Stirling, where eating great food, drinking quality beer and wine, and cooking international foods are integral to their adventures.