Beyond the Valley is one of Australia’s biggest and best boutique festivals, running annually over the New Year’s Eve period. It’s the perfect way to witness some of Australia and the world’s best musicians of wide-ranging genres amongst the lush rolling greenery of Lardner Park, just an hour and a half from Melbourne’s CBD.
The festival hasn’t been around for very long but it has already secured itself as the place to be for thousands of Australians and international visitors each year. It’s renowned as the festival for those wanting to chill to relaxing beats, to wander about and discover new artists and to get up and boogie until you can’t feel your feet anymore.
Here is how to end the year in delectable style and enter the New Year with a huge bang, and we’re not just referring to the abundance of fireworks at the countdown.
It’s not a long journey to get to Lardner Park and the scenery along the way is delightful. On the way to Lardner we recommend stopping off at the Dandenong Ranges. Not to be confused with Dandenong, the city on the M1 which is also in the direction of the festival, the Dandenong Ranges National Park are slightly further north and via a minor detour but well worth the stop over.
The Dandenong Ranges are a sanctuary of incredible views amongst winding roads, with charming shops to stop off at, to purchase beautiful delicacies and souvenirs. Get lost in the quaint art studios and craft stores and take in the fresh mountain air.
The 1,000 steps in the Dandenong Ranges is one of the most frequented hikes by Melbournians. The walk features the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk with 1,000 steps (often debated) to reach the lavish treetops. The walk is a memorial for the soldiers who fought and died on the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea during World War II.
The climb is 290m, which is meagre for the keen walkers or challenging for those less than ardent. If you’re up for the challenge, there are a number of other beautiful tracks to wander down including the Lyrebird Track or One Tree Hill. The tall trees and rainforest ambiance is a surprising enchantment considering the small distance from the CBD of the city.
What to Bring and Surviving the Festival
One of the best things about Beyond the Valley is the length of the festival, spanning from the 28th of December and coming to a close on the 1st of January. While this means you will have more dreamy memories than the BFG can catch in a dream-catcher, it also means you’ll need to pace yourself and regularly restock the supplies.
It’s not a BYO festival, which is possibly the biggest downfall, and they will check you on your way in very thoroughly, so leave the cans at home. (Your bags will be searched and your car doors might even be temporarily taken off to check you’re not being cheeky and hiding any beverages in hidden spots.) So do be prepared to spend some money on alcohol. The other thing to bear in mind is that you’ll also be checked and patted down on your way into the stage areas - so they’re serious about it.
It’s also not very easy to escape the heat at the festival. Shade is something that’s pretty hard to come by so make sure you keep hydrated and trust the old trick to avoid a hangover, which is to drink one glass of water per glass of alcohol. It’s easy to get carried away by the amazing music and not drink enough H20, and considering the length of the festival, keeping up the liquids is something that is very important as this will ensure you’ll be in your finest form from the first day until the very last.
When you get to the festival you’ll need to park your car in a different spot to your campsite for safety reasons. So make sure you don’t get too excited upon arrival and only half set yourself up—it’s best to set up your campsite properly at the very beginning so that you don’t have to go back and forth from your car to get your supplies over the weekend.
Where To Go
There’s loads of fun and exciting additions that Beyond The Valley bring to the festival each year that you’ll need to check out. There’ll be a Central Park precinct, featuring an enclosed and intimate Greenhouse with local talent on offer throughout the day and night.
Check out the Silent Disco that will be playing tunes until the sunrise and tune in to the same or totally different channels as your mates while you boogie with banging beats in your ears that are unheard by any passers-by. And while other festivals have to end the music early in the night, Beyond the Valley is a lucky exception.
There’s far more to the festival than just music though. Visit the Lifestyle Precinct to relax and recharge and enjoy some yoga, meditation, massage, arts and other kinds of workshops to rejuvenate yourself as you bring in the New Year.
The dance tent features not only some of the best international and local electronic artists but also the best Funktion-One sound system with crystal clear audio. There’s also an inflatable chapel where you can take your one love, your new love or a total stranger and get hitched in a wedding that you’ll most likely barely remember.
The food and cocktail bars are delicious, with Melbourne’s famous paella stand making a regular visit. Dutch pancakes are available to be enjoyed at all times of the day and the ultimate favourite summer treat of Australia, Zooper Doopers, must be tried help give you a break from the heat.
Make sure you are well rested before driving home from the festival. The road from Beyond the Valley is narrow and windy so don’t let fatigue impact your trip. Instead of driving straight back to Melbourne from Lardner Park, stop by at the beautiful Phillip Island, only an hour’s drive away. The small island offers an abundance of wildlife to see. Check out seals lazing on the rocks or go for a walk to go koala sighting. Visit the Phillip Island Important Bird Area where you can discover a population of fairy penguins and seagulls and relax by the sheltered swimming beaches along the coastline.