Overview

Marvel at the life's work of families past and present in Victoria's grandest homes and gardens.

Step back in time on pioneer farms and homesteads and get a glimpse at what life was really like for early European settlers. Learn cutting-edge horticultural techniques and see native restoration projects. Spot the local wildlife, get your hands dirty or live like nobility with a fancy morning tea in stunning natural surrounds.

Follow the footsteps of explorers and pioneers

Byramine Homestead and Brewery was built in 1842 by the famous explorer Hamilton Hume. Its octagonal rooms aren't just for the climate–they were also for security, as the homestead was often under attack from bushrangers. Take a tour of the homestead and wander through the gardens, amongst the oldest elm trees in Victoria. You'll see why Byramine has been classified by the National Trust 'to be preserved at all costs'.

Be transported back to the domestic life of a rural colonial family at Gulf Station, one of the oldest and most intact examples of a pioneer farm in Australia. Experience a day in the life of the Bell family, who supplied produce to the gold miners of the district from the 1850s to the 1950s. See horses at work, sheep being sheared, butter being made in traditional churns and wood being worked without power tools.

Take a peaceful garden wander

Less than an hour from Melbourne you'll find Cruden Farm, a beautiful public garden and working farm in Langwarrin. Wind down the windows as you enter via the main driveway, which is lined with more than 100 lemon scented gum trees. Stroll across emerald lawns and take in the stunning colours of flowering shrubs and perennials. The garden changes dramatically with each season, so this is one you'll want to come back to again and again.

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Mingle with the creative class

Spend an afternoon exploring Mooramong, the warm and cosy homestead of the late Scobie Mackinnon and his Hollywood star wife Claire Adams. The home feels like its tenants have just stepped out for the day, with family photographs, furniture, curios and objects d'art invoking memories spanning the late 1930s right through to the 60s. The 600-acre nature reserve is also home to kangaroos, swamp wallabies and many birds including brolgas and wedge-tailed eagles.

Beleura is a state-listed 19th century heritage house, garden and recital centre which was the summer home of Sir George Tallis and his family. Sir George was closely involved with J.C. Williamson's theatre company from the late 1800s until 1937, and in 1911 was involved in planning Dame Nellie Melba's opera season. Beleura's music pavilion houses the first ever nine-octave piano, and attracts some of Australia's finest musicians for concerts.

Sir George's colleague Dame Nellie Melba once lived down the road at Coombe Yarra Valley, which is still owned and operated by her direct descendants, the Vestey family. Coombe is a working vineyard, so visit the cellar door for a tasting before you head into the gallery, which delves into the legend of Dame Nellie.

For a visual feast visit Castlemaine's Buda Historic Home and Garden, the home of the noted silversmith Ernest Leviny and his remarkably creative family from 1863 until the 1970s. It contains the family's art and craft collections, furnishings and knick-knacks. The incredible home is surrounded by pristine 19th century gardens and a museum featuring works by prominent Australian artists including Margaret Preston, M. J. MacNally, Ursula Ridley Walker and Lionel Lindsay.

Indulge your green thumb

Regional Victoria's gardens offer boundless inspiration and know-how to level up your own backyard. Heronswood House and Garden is a breathtaking historic property and garden in Dromana. It's also home to the Digger's Club, Australia's most respected gardening organisation, dedicated to preserving heirloom seeds and the best gardening traditions. Cooks and gardeners alike will find plenty to get excited about here, with stunning perennial and annual borders as well as kitchen and vegetable parterre gardens.

At The Briars, a beautiful 230 hectare property in Mount Martha, you can spot koalas, wallabies and more on a walk through the wildlife sanctuary or become immersed in history with a tour through the heritage homestead. Check out the Shire Nursery for a range of beautiful native and indigenous plants for home gardens, or the Eco-Living Display Centre for all the tips and tricks you need to make your home more resource-efficient.

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