Autumn Outings – Coombes Cottage

Of course, this was visited before the CV lockdown, but I am now just catching up on editing and posting. This is possibly our last outing for a while, so glad we managed to get out while we could.

I recently went with a friend to visit Coombes Cottage, own by the world-famous opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, which is now still privately owned by the family trust. It is a gourmet restaurant and vineyard for lunches, private functions and of course as a wedding venue. The house is private and not open for tours, however, you can do a guided tour of the legendary gardens. The gardens were designed by William Guilfoyle, who was the architect behind Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens. It boasts over 600metres of cypress hedging (sadly dying, Cypress have an 80-year lifespan and this is over 100!), the oldest private swimming pool in Victoria and a breathtaking English oak, believed to be over 180 years old.

My friend, Sue, and I have been trying to visit this location for many months, access to the gardens is by guided tour and only run during the week. Sue and I don’t always have the same days off during the week, then it was too hot, too wet, one of us (or both) had injuries at different times, but finally last week, under threatening skies we decided to just ‘Do It”. We drove the One hour out to Yarra Valley and had the offered pre-tour scones with jam and cream and a cuppa. Scrumptious scones and such a wonderful jam made onsite.

Then it was the one hour guided tour of the gardens, such terrific stories and information about Dame Nellie and her family. Nellie was the first woman in Victoria, possible Australia with a drivers license. She liked horse racing and she purchased the rights to use the Suffragettes colours as the riders silks, the family still own the rights to use those colours today!

Such an incredible array of garden areas, now only 7 acres, it used to be 67 hectares in total, although there is now a very big working vineyard, not open to the public. The Rose Arbour and vegetable gardens are still in use.

Such a wonderful day out. Sue and I finished off with a long lunch, in Healesville, of Turkish dips and bread and Bruschetta, with ice tea and coffee. Then we slowly made out way back home. The storms eventually hit that night but had been threatening all day.

~ Julz