Stuck for ideas on where to take your grandma for her birthday, the kids for a fun day out, or your partner for a romantic, low key date? The beautiful Cruden Farm, located in Langwarrin, may be the place you're looking for.
Home to Dame Elisabeth Murdoch- philanthropist and widow of late newspaper publisher Keith Murdoch, this lovely farm is opened to the public a few times a year to raise money for charity. The expansive grounds provide the perfect spot (if you can find a spot- it's very popular) for a nice picnic with the family. This remarkable woman, now 102, gives a huge amount to causes such as the Royal Children's Hospital and the Botanic Gardens, her interests quoted by The Age to be as varied as "academia, the arts, children…medical research [and] those battling mental illness." Events hosted contribute greatly to these numerous causes, and are often accompanied by pleasant live jazz music.
It is said that Dame Elisabeth, directing her team of gardeners, works on the extensive estate every day, so its beauty is hardly surprising. Wandering through this veritable Peninsula paradise- with its giant leafy oaks and rows of roses, duck-inhabited lake, and great green expanses- one is reminded with delight of childhood stories The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables. The farm's peaceful old buildings, made from big blocks of stone, hark back to a different, seemingly simple era.
For example, 'The Dame' hosts an annual Twilight Jazz Picnic, raising money for the McClelland Gallery. Tickets are $15-20, and kids under 12 enter free. This year it was on the 26th of March, but if you would like to book for next year, call 03 9787 1671. The Cruden Family Fun Day (the name is self-explanatory!) which benefits the Mental Health Foundation of Australia, will also be hosted this year- call 03 9427 0407 for more details.
In terms of location, the farm is on the corner of Cranbourne-Frankston and Cranhaven roads, with entry from Cranhaven road. The farm has a lot of free parking (but get there early to get a park close to the entrance.) Food and drink are available to purchase, or just bring your own. It's a great day; your grandma will love it.