I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published August 7th 2018
Macedon Ranges Top Spring Attraction
Winter still may have several weeks to run but already there are very strong signs of an early spring in the Macedon Ranges, lovely bright yellow daffodils are starting to appear and the Magpies are frantically preparing their nests.
Mount Macedon, of course, is renowned as the home of some incredibly beautiful gardens, none more so than Forest Glade, where a spring visit offers two world-class attractions for the price of one.
The gates at Forest Glade lead you to one of Australia's truly great gardens and a unique collection of antique works of art in the Stokes Collection. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Reborn from the devastation of the Ash Wednesday fires of February 1983 Forest Glade is today one of Mount Macedon's, indeed Australia's, great gardens.
Covering 5.6 Hhectares it's home to exotic trees, a Japanese garden and bonsai house, beautiful woodlands, fern gullies, a topiary garden, pergolas & ponds and some amazing statues and fountains.
Forest Glade Gardens were reborn from the devastation of the Ash Wednesday bushfires of February 1983. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Anytime is a great time to visit Forest Glade but the garden gives up particularly amazing displays of colour in spring with masses of rhododendrons, peonies and azaleas along with a stunning laburnum arch that has to be seen to be believed.
The gardens include brilliantly coloured plantings .....
..... and a selection of magnificent statues and fountains. Photo's: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
But Forest Glade is much more than one of Australia's truly great gardens, it's also home to the amazing Stokes Collection, a world-class collection of antique furniture and artworks including the largest private collection of antique porcelain in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest collections of its type in the world – almost 7000 individual pieces, some dating back to the 17th Century.
There's an entire room dedicated to beautiful Royal Worcester porcelain, outstanding examples of Meissen and Sevres, beautiful examples of oriental art, stained glass, tapestries and some magnificent chandeliers.
Home to the largest private collection of antique porcelain in the southern hemisphere .....
..... the Stokes Collection comprises room after room of antique furniture and works of art. Photo's: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Forest Glade Gardens are open 7-days a week, 365-days a year (closed only on days of extreme fire danger) between 10 AM and 4.30 PM.
The Stokes Collection is open for guided tours by groups of 8 or more people (adults only) and bookings are essential. If you can't get a group of 8 together give the Stokes Collection a call and it's highly likely you'll be able to tag on to an existing tour.
An entry fee of $30 per person includes a self-guided tour of the gardens and a 2-hour guided tour of the Stokes Collection.
A tour of the garden only costs $10 per adult. Children admitted free and you're most welcome to bring a picnic and make a day of it.
As luck would have it Forest Glade is conveniently located close to the iconic Mount Macedon Hotel and several local eateries all of which serve an excellent lunch.
A popular option is to take the Stokes Collection tour in the morning, break for lunch at one of the nearby venues and then enjoy a relaxed afternoon in Forest Glade Gardens.
Getting There …..
Forest Glade is 66 Kilometres northwest of Melbourne, about a 1-hour drive via the Calder Freeway/M79.
Don't miss this 2 for the price of 1 opportunity to tour the fabulous Forest Glade Gardens and the world-class Stokes Collection of antique furniture and artworks this spring. Photo: Ian Gill / Footloose PhotoBank
Why? Take the opportunity to visit two world-class attractions for the price of one, touring the incredible Stokes Collection of antique furniture and artworks and the maginficent Forest Glade Gardens.
When:All through spring, Saturday 1st September to Friday 30th November.