Updated January 2017
Looking for teacher gifts that are a sure-fire hit? Do what we do – take the kids to Cherryhill Orchards and pick a box of cherries for the staffroom!
Every December we pick a sunny day and head out to the Yarra Valley to visit Cherryhill Orchards. It’s only 45 minutes from Melbourne and a fun half-day adventure when combined with nearby attractions like Blue Lotus water garden, Warratina lavender farm and Seville Water Park, not to mention vineyards and breweries to try out.
Cherryhill Orchards is located in a fruit growing region in the Yarra Valley so don’t get lost following any other signs pointing to cherry or fruit picking. Cherryhill Orchards is Australia’s largest U-pick cherry orchard and is very well sign-posted with its name and big flags at the entrance.
Cherry picking is particularly suitable for kids because there’s lots of low-hanging fruit which are easy to remove from the stem. You’re directed to which rows are good for picking so there’s no real need to go ‘cherry-picking’ the best fruit as it’s all good! Plus taste tests are unlimited and free :)
Any cherries that are picked into your bucket cost $12 a kilo and a bucket fits about 5kg of cherries.
Note that kids in prams are more difficult as there are undulating gravel tracks going up and down hills and you have to take a minibus to the actual u-pick orchard. Also it goes without saying you should keep an eye on the kids (and dress them in bright colours) as the trees are fun for hiding and there’s a partially unfenced dam at the end.
After your fruit-picking head back to George’s Shack at the main entrance. The small cafe sells cherry products such as their famous soft serve ice cream made with macerated pitted cherries mixed with vanilla ice cream ($5) as well as new products every year such as cherry spritzers and cherry beer!
Enjoy a break on the deck and enjoy the relaxing landscape.
On weekends a local group holds a fundraising sausage sizzle or you can bring your own picnic.
Note that this summer has been a short season for cherries so cherry picking will finish weekend of 7/8 January 2017.
- Go early ie 9am when it opens, especially on weekends. It gets very busy and you’ll need to park far away in the carpark and wait in line for the mini bus to take you to the U-pick orchard.
- Book your tickets online to save time and money.
- Take a hat, sunscreen and water. Again, go early to avoid the heat.
- Eat as many cherries as you like when you pick, take home picked cherries are $12 per kilo. A bucket holds approx 5kg.
- Sweet treats and sausage sizzle available for purchase. Highly recommend the cherry ice cream!
- Combine your trip with a visit to Blue Lotus water garden, Warratina lavender farm and Seville Water Park.
- Location not really suitable for kids requiring prams as the paths are gravel and undulating and you need to take a bus to the U-pick orchard.
- Keep an eye on young kids. The orchard can be a great hiding place and there’s a partially unfenced dam at the end;
- dogs not allowed in orchards; and
- There are a few toilets blocks and at the orchard there are portaloos, no baby change facilities.