Warburton is about an hour’s drive from Melbourne’s central business district. With its lush surrounds, secluded forests, gushing Yarra river and village vibe, Warburton is the perfect quick vegan getaway destination. Plus, there’s vegan-friendly hospitality is found in leaps and bounds here. Warburton is the perfect destination for weekend wandering.
Find vegan-friendly comfort at the Warburton Motel
If you make your way to Warburton then you’ll be very relaxed and cosy at the Warburton Motel. This is a retro, mid-century accommodation spot that oozes in contemporary simplicity. Warburton Motel has been here since 1966, though the rooms have undergone a gorgeous overhaul. Think – quality fresh rooms with sleek lines and fun facilities all nestled among beautiful mountain views.
You’ll find lots of delicious vegan-friendly treats in the fridge and the coffee station. The mini bar is also stocked with affordable local wines and micro-brewery beers.
Tall 150-year old forest trees and ferns and a gushing Yarra River will rock you to sleep in your comfy bed. The sweet sounds of local birdlife will wake you gently each morning. If you want to walk in and around Warburton, you can. There are lots of walking tracks surrounding Warburton Motel.
Or, you can hire a mountain bike (even a tour) from Warburton Bike and Hike. If the weather holds up, enjoy your nights by the open pit fire. Let passionate moteliers Richard and Simone host you for your needs. They’re mostly available on hand for a friendly chat and are more than happy to share their local knowledge.
Book a superior queen room like me and the facilities are more than ample. You have access to luxurious plant-based furnishings like a cosy bed, reverse cycle heating and cooling, microwave, toaster and kettle, flat-screen T.V and access to wi-fi. Bathrooms are well-equipped with vegan-friendly toiletries.
Warburton Motel, 4 Donna Buang Road Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799. Phone: +61 (0) 499 770 696. For best rates, book direct.
Get into the nature that’s on your doorstep
The Yarra River flows freely, right on your doorstep if you stay at the Warburton Motel. Walking tracks are well-signed so you can walk into town from your lodgings. Take the river-side paths for a relaxing wander away from the main drag and you’ll spot a variety of birdlife.
If conditions are ripe, you can even book a river tubing trip through Warburton Bike and Hike, too. You book in advance, either when you arrive or before you your trip, then you’re dropped off upstream with a large tube. The idea is to float your way downstream and you alight from the water just near the Motel. It’s a fun activity, especially during the summer months.
Though, keep an eye on weather conditions. If it’s stormy the night before, the Yarra River will be flowing high and there may be floating debris under the surface. So, you Warburton Bike and Hike may give you the option to cancel your trip or postpone it for another time. Not all is lost if this happens; it just means you need to return at another time. And that’s not a bad thing!
If you float trip gets put on hold, then take a hike from the Warburton Motel to La La Falls. You’ll need about two hours for the round-trip, or you can drive your car to the carpark at the base of the falls. Parking is limited, about 20 cars maximum at any one time, so choose to go early morning or late in the day before the sun goes down. That way, you’ll beat the crowds.
Once you hike into the falls area, you’ll come into contact with calming running streams, native mountain rainforest trees that almost touch the sky and ferns that ‘glow’ among the waterfall’s mist. The walking tracks can get muddy so be sure to wear your hiking shoes. My hiking sandals were ample.
For more nature-bathing, take a quick drive to the Rainforest Gallery Walk. This is less than a 10-minute drive from the Warburton Motel. Here, you can view centuries old Mountain Ash, ferns and native fauna 15 metres in the air on an aerial walkway. Then, you can take the walkways through the forest to listen to streams before viewing tranquil waterfalls. Parking and toilets are also onsite.
La La Falls, 25 Irruka Road Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799.
Rainforest Gallery Walk, at the junction of Mount Donna Buang Road and Acheron Way.
Refuel at one of Warburton’s eating spots or nearby
You can pack a simple breakfast to have in your room at the Warburton Motel then you can grab your coffee after a brisk walk via the Yarra River Walk to Silva Coffee Roasters. This is Warburton’s own coffee roaster and supplier for many cafes around Melbourne. Here is where you can sample the coffee direct via their café.
Silva Coffee Roasters has many plant milks to choose from plus there are vegan options on their many hot and cold drinks. If you’re lucky they may have a vegan cake to try. If you buy a vegan hot chocolate, decline on the marshmallow as they’re not vegan. Also, make sure you tell them you need an adult serve of their vegan hot chocolate because they make them at a cooler temperature for kids.
For a mid-morning snack, you can visit the Warburton Bakery for vegan options like pies and pasties. Alas, there are no vegan gluten-free options.
If you need a vegan GF option then, you’ll find Warburton Village Pizza Café cross the road from Silva Coffee Roasters. They have a decent selection of vegan pizzas on the vegan section of their menu and their gluten-free bases are vegan, too. You can choose small or large; small is perfect for lunch. There are many park benches all around the main strip so it was easy to find a spot to eat out in the open.
Also, on the main strip of Warburton, you’ll find The Rainbow Ice Cream Shop. They have eight flavours of vegan gluten-free gelato for a perfect summertime treat. Ask for a cup with a splice of all flavours and you can then enjoy your treat on the bank of the Yarra River across the road.
Silva Coffee Roasters, Shop 1/3400 Warburton Highway, Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799.
Warburton Bakery, 3415 Warburton Highway, Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799.
Warburton Village Pizza Café, 3393 Warburton Highway, Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799.
The Rainbow Ice Cream Shop, 3422 Warburton Highway, Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799.
Vegan dinner options have you covered
During summer, the Warburton Motel has an all-vegan Italian pop-up onsite. Mamma Santoros serves up all-vegan traditional Italian fare as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in the motel’s gorgeous cantina area. There’s an undercover area as well as out in the open seating with a quaint view of the surrounding flora.
This summer, the choices are tempting and tasty. For entrée, try tempura mushrooms with garlic aoli and chilli plum ginger sauce. For mains, go for both pasta options – zucchini, walnut, mint and lemon pesto pasta and the hearty lentil ragu pasta with carrot. There’s also garlic bread and chick’n parma jaffle. For dessert, try the homemade tiramisu. If you need a gluten-free option for the pasta and garlic bread, let Richard and Simone know in advance so they can accommodate you.
You can dine in or takeaway so it’s best to book your spots in advance. Mamma Santoros currently runs Friday to Sunday nights 5.30pm to 8pm during the summer months.
If you also want to venture out, book a table under the trees at Symphony 36. While this bar and restaurant is not fully vegan they do have a decent selection of vegan options (with gluten-free) for entrees, mains and dessert. Think – vegan bao buns, cauliflower popcorn, laksa with tofu, red lentil dahl and sticky date pudding. Vegan drinks re also on hand like Coldstream Brewery cider. For hot drinks, Symphony 36 also has plant milks and vegan hot chocolate. Spacious indoors seating is also available.
Symphony 36, 3305 Warburton Highway, Warburton, Victoria, Australia 3799.
Buy a part of Warburton to take home…
Warbotanicals produces an all-vegan, cruelty-free range of products to improve your wellbeing. From hand and face creams, to deodorants, insect repellents, face and hair treatments, they are all made locally in Warburton. Visit their online store here.
Disclaimer: Justine de Jonge of Fire & Tea paid for the majority of experiences outlined in the post above. Justine did receive one free dinner at Mamma Santoros during her stay at Warburton Motel.