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Gardenfarm - Hiawatha

Home > Melbourne > Accommodation | Escape the City | Farms | Gardens | Long Weekend
by Julia Hebaiter (aka Julia Svoice) (subscribe)
Highly qualified, established food & lifestyle writer, former restaurateur, founder professional writing business, Articul8. Long, diverse writing history, passion for food culture, the land & inspired food language.
Published May 7th 2017
I Say Farmstay, You Say Hooray
farm, farm produce, orchard
Fresh Gardenfarm Produce
I love my farms and wholesome, farm-fresh food. I love the beauty and restfulness of the country and the genuine hospitality of its people. I love orchards and creative gardens and diverse plant nurseries, food forests and hills, dales, dogs, chooks and cows, so when a recent stay at Gardenfarm ticked all the feel-good boxes, I had to share it with all of you - particularly because it's very affordable too.

Located in the tranquil, romantically named hills of Haiwatha in South Gippsland, Gardenfarm Cottages give couples, individuals, friends and families an honest, fun, earthy and really memorable farm experience.

Gardenfarm is also very popular with 'permies', as Bob's much-loved, chemical-free farm is a very successful working model of what can be achieved on a farm using permaculture principles.

The array of foods produced makes it a wholly viable farm, which, as permies would know, is a very rare achievement. Clients include keen onsite shoppers at Bob's Gardenfarm Shop, families throughout the Gippsland region, restaurants, bakeries and more.

Gardenfarm's two cottages, each with their own unique layout and style, overlook a thriving orchard and picturesque, duck-friendly lake. The views from the bedrooms are equally stunning, with velvety valleys and undulating hills making a scenic backdrop for a tree-lined riverbank, grazing paddocks and more fruit trees. Night time views include probably the starriest night skies you've ever seen.

While nature offers the best views and entertainment ever, there's also a broad selection of videos on offer if you absolutely must, while a collection of books have been carefully selected to inspire and entertain.

farm cottage, farmstay, self catering, Gippsland, cosy cottage, country cottage
Gardenfarm's Walden Cottage

The two-bedroom cottages are very comfortably set up, with everything ready for you to simply arrive and sink in. A comfy, cosy queen-sized bed in the main bedroom and two singles in the second bedroom offer plenty of options, while a fully-equipped kitchenette includes full-sized fridge, stove top, oven and microwave. There's also a little wood-fired barbecue and outdoor furniture for al fresco meals by the lake.

Just a word of warning. Two irresistible resident border collies, Toby and Digger, will worm their way into your heart from the get-go. They love playing fetch on the green grass, but rather than bones or balls, they prefer to fetch oranges! Kids love chasing the chooks, which freely peck, play and roam around on what is one of very few genuine free range farms.

farm animals, border collie, free range chooks, chickens

cordial, grape juice, shiraz, shiraz cordial
Bob's Shiraz Cordial
If you're wondering what you might cook, look no further than the farm itself. Bob's Gardenfarm Shop is brimming with farm goodies he's grown, made or nurtured himself, together, of course, with Mother Nature.

They include grass-fed, free-range, pure beef steaks and sausages, free range eggs, jams, jellies and cordials made from seasonal fruit, and health-giving, raw honey (ie. not boiled or pasteurised and free form added sugar and other additives). Then there are the heavenly pure beef, flaky pastry meat pies and golden apple pies, including an exciting gluten free option.

Depending on the season and what Bob's been up to, you might also find dried fruits, herbs and vegetables, home-made cordials and fresh local garlic (of the rather rare, rather huge Giant Russian Garlic variety).

Portable Herb Garden
There's also an array of diverse, interesting plants and advanced trees, including herbs, citrus, natives and vegetable seedlings. Look out: you might get speared by an asparagus or entangled in a berry bush, but only if you're lucky.

Bob's a very warm, welcoming character who will happily show you around the farm if interested. It's both a fun experience where you might pick, pluck and taste produce (in season) and learn a whole lot along the way. I was particularly taken by the variety of fruit trees and vines, which includes figs, chestnuts, cherries, avocados, pomegranate, lemons, oranges, apples, pears, kiwi fruit and even a Mediterranean-like canopy of Shiraz grapes.

Other aspects to explore on the farm include a small wetlands area and a beautiful stream, which babbles across rocks as it meanders through the property. See busy bee hives and old-fashioned hand-milking of the resident dairy cow while her calf might be nuzzling nearby. As a working cattle farm, other cattle and sheep are also leisurely grazing in nearby paddocks.

dairy cow, milking cow, farm animals, cattle
Gardenfarm's Dairy Cow & Calf

Gardenfarm is less than three hours' drive from Melbourne, most of which offers up some of the best views and panoramas the state has to offer. It's also very easy to get to.

The area's local attractions include Mineha'ha Falls. While it's not the Niagra, it's set in the most beautiful bush surrounds, while its catchment area is a popular waterhole for swimming and jumping into.

Haiwatha is also a convenient spot from which to explore a range of local attractions, including local farmers' markets, the Turra Bulga National Park, Port Albert and the gorgeous stretch of Woodside Beach, which is essentially the start of the world-famous 90 Mile Beach.

I had such a relaxed and at the same time invigorating time, I could talk about it for ages, and its seems that many others have too. Check the Visitors' Book for their experiences. Don't wait too long to book though. While bookings fill fast, they'll fill faster than ever with this licky, sticky winter special on offer.

Mention this article when you arrive for your Gardenfarm Cottage stay* and receive a Gardenfarm Produce 4-Pack, which includes three jars of premium seasonal jams and/or jellies and a jar of raw Gardenfarm honey harvested from the hives!

In a word or two: Go. Go get it. Go eat it. Go enjoy it. Go have Gardenfarm. These chairs and Digger are waiting just for you. Book either cottage here or here.

* Minimum stay two nights. Offer applies from now until 31 August 2017.
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Why? Have your stay and eat it too!
When: Anytime, but book extra early for peak periods.
Where: 28 Dessents Road, Haiwatha, 3971
Cost: From $120 per couple per night
Your Comment
What a stunning area, Julia! Well done with your award!
by Elaine (score: 3|8825) 1834 days ago
Great info and looks amazing!
by Former Writer (score: 2|308) 1834 days ago
Is the farm pet-friendly? We have a very well-behaved non-shedding dog that we always take on holidays with us.
by pataz (score: 1|11) 1830 days ago
That really does sound inviting Julia and the price is very reasonable.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9626) 1827 days ago
Thanks Elaine. It was such a great experience!
by Julia Hebaiter (aka Julia Svoice) (score: 2|557) 1834 days ago
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