From the sublime to the unique – the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges are your go-to for amazing places and spaces to elope. Here are the inside tips from our celebrants Virginia Lawrence and Robynne Mauger.
“I’ve always wanted to do a ceremony in a cinema or in a creaky old bookshop. Everyone loves the Redwood Forest — and it’s become super popular for weddings and photography. And I think the Blue Lotus Water Garden would be amazing —it feels like you’re overseas!"
Anyway ... here are my suggestions:
RJ Hamer Arboretum
The lookout at the RJ Hamer Arboretum in Olinda has a view I never tire of. So full of possibility and the promise of adventure. But let’s not stay there - grab your hiking boots and we’ll head out away from the cars and the picnickers to find secret hidden-away spots just perfect for an intimate ceremony.
There are so many beautiful gardens to choose from in the Dandenong Ranges. Grand old public gardens from eras gone by, small private gardens, and everything in between. If I had to name only one, it would be Cloudehill. This one has it all; a series of garden rooms with a different style and atmosphere around every corner, quaint structures to shelter you if it rains, a restaurant onsite if you want to stay and eat, and it looks fabulous all year round.
If you fancy a relaxing, easy elopement by the banks of a life-giving billabong teeming with birdlife, surrounded by mother nature, you can’t go past Wombat Bend, an incredible 5-acre property just outside Yarra Glen - you’ll fall in love with its evergreen, long flowering, native gardens.
Book the property for the weekend, and make yourself at home in The Burrow, their amazing mudbrick B&B. I can pop over and marry you and then leave you to enjoy exploring your new surroundings - and as night falls, relax by the billabong, serenaded by the frog chorus, under the stars celebrating the start of your new life together.
“I do many elopements in the Yarra Valley, and hideaway places like the Redwood Forest are often top of the list – so many of my couples just adore it. Never as special as being outdoors in nature’s cathedral.”
Anywhere along the Yarra River near Warburton is a great choice. There is a secret spot up along the river where the grass is always well kept by ducks and the rocks are easily accessible. Great for the daredevils who don’t mind wet toes to get river photos – I stay on the grass lol!
La La Falls, Warburton
The top of La La Falls is also great, although these places are not so secret any more so you have to do battle with rubbernecks. People need to be fit to manage the walk, which is about 3.2 km return but its worth it.
Skyline Road in Yarra Glen
This secret site has sweeping views either side of the ridge that are just breath taking. Often an eagle is soaring close by when we are there. You feel like you can touch the sky and the air feels different.