I decided to install the new version of Varnish (3.0.1) using the Varnish repository (instead of amzn repository). The installation progressed without issue (you do need to override the default priorities of the repositories though), however, I ran into an issue trying to start Varnish.
Every time I tried to start Varnish I would simply get ‘Failed’ – no further details, no error logs. Looking through the init script and removing the pipe to /dev/null displayed the error – which indicated that GCC was necessary. Unfortunately, the package provided didn’t specify GCC as a dependency (and, since this server is intended for production use later on, I hadn’t installed GCC). In this case, GCC is required since Varnish compiles the VCL when it starts. Installing GCC resolved the error and Varnish started without issue.