There's a lot to enjoy in Olinda, perched at the top of the Dandenong ranges in the outer east of Melbourne and Cloudehill Gardens is right up there at the top of the list.
Strolling through these huge formal gardens is a lovely experience at any time of year. Following several walking paths, the visitor can meander through twenty garden compartments. There are masses of bulbs in Spring, dazzling colour in the Summer flower borders, magnificent beech and maple trees in Autumn and acres of colourful rhododendrons in Winter. Note that the paths are well-made but steep at times.
Established in the 1890's, Cloudehill Gardens and Nursery was originally a cherry and raspberry farm. It was converted to a nursery after World War 1 and took its current form in the 1990's. Cloudehill now consists of the formal gardens, a nursery and a restaurant. It's open seven days per week from 10am to 5pm.
The restaurant is open from 10am to 5pm, seven days a week for morning teas, lunches and afternoon teas. It's not the cheapest food option in Olinda, with cakes at $8.50 and lunches from $18 to $28. The menu changes daily and offers dishes such as Baked Lamb Moussaka with Turkish Bread and Dips for $18, Smoked Salmon Pasta and Seasonal Vegetable Tart for $22 and Fish Fillet of the Day for $28.
We visited here in mid August and felt it would be nicer to visit a few weeks later when Spring was well and truly springing. As the gardens are quite European in their styling and planting they are quite bare in winter. As you pay to go through the gardens it felt a bit dissappointing (I'm clearly no gardener and didn't think about this in advance). However, I can see the potential for it being lovely and would certainly pay another visit in Spring!
By jasmi40 - reader Thursday, 1st of September @ 03:44 am
Thanks for your comment. I went a few days ago - there were lots of buds opening - Spring seems to be springing...
By Sue Williams - senior reviewer Thursday, 1st of September @ 08:02 am