A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published January 26th 2021
Where fragrances waft from every nook and cranny
Take a break from the city and escape to Nowra, where you'll find beauty in abundance. Just 2.5hrs from Sydney, the drive via the Princes Hwy is scenic itself in many places, with the clifftops and views of the ocean surrounding Kiama and the rich green farmland surrounding Gerringong being highlights.
The first garden you'll see on arrival - just one garden of many at Merribee
The main focus on my day trip was the picturesque garden of Merribee in Numbaa, just 6kms east from the township of Nowra. No disappointment here. On arrival, an enchanting picture unfolds before your eyes and a sense of serenity embraces you. For garden lovers alone, this road trip is certainly worth the drive.
This private garden is made up of many gardens that represent the owners' love and passion for gardening. Spanning 7 acres of sensory splendour, there's parterre and hedged gardens, a secret garden, an Italian garden, a French Dordogne garden, a physic garden, a rose garden, a cottage garden, a walled snow pear garden, a herb garden, and more.
Merribee is best described as a 'liquorice allsorts' of a garden with diverse plantings of trees, shrubs and boxwood bushes, many highlighted through the practice of topiary. In the whimsical garden, you'll find plants clipped and shaped into rabbits, dogs and, even a lady in a bath. Imagine the time and dedication spent creating these immaculate garden areas. They're a tribute to what can be achieved through hard work.
My visit during the middle of summer saw plenty of blooms with crepe myrtle, roses of all colours and types, hydrangeas, white hibiscus, petunias and paddocks of lavender. Citrus trees were ripe for picking. Each season brings something special. Autumn is ablaze with the red and gold leaves of the Japanese maples, whilst spring sees birds fluttering around a kaleidoscope of pretty blossoms. For a bird's eye view of the gardens, climb the stairs of the latticed pavilion.
When you're hungry or thirsty, head to the Daisy Kiosk operating out of a mini caravan. Enjoy a slice of cake, a baguette for lunch, ice cream treats, tea, coffee and cold drinks. Outdoor chairs and tables are set under the shade of an avenue of trees running through the centre of the gardens.
As you wander further, you'll come across a barn and a secluded outdoor area. It's a spot used for events. Many a wedding and reception have been held at Merribee. A wedding here includes a free night's accommodation for the bride and groom in the beautifully converted grain silo. Four storeys high and covered in greenery, it provides a romantic place for your first night as husband and wife and is a nice way to wake up the next morning with views of the gardens and neighbouring dairy landscapes.
A great place for an event with indoor and outdoor areas to utilise
The property can also accommodate up to 8 guests in the main historic house with its wrap-around verandahs, making it great for the happy couple to spend more time with their inner circle of family or friends.
Other parts of Merribee include a Lover's Knot, a tennis court, a croquet lawn, an oval, a Bunya grove and a flower farm, from which you can have some roses cut and put together as a bouquet to take home. Alternatively, there's a nursery to purchase potted plants and a small gift shop in the estate's Mayfield Cottage that sells floral products and Merribee honey, a sweet yield by the bees in the hives behind the oval.
Have some beauty cut and arranged in a bouquet to take home
So let the fragrances waft from every nook and cranny and when you're finished, and if you have time, head to the nearby shores of the Shoalhaven River for some more natural charm. Only moments away, this haven is one where you can rock climb, kayak, swim or jump on a river cruise and relax.
Should you wish to stay a little longer, Nowra has plenty of accommodation options, earthly riches, sights and activities to keep you enthralled. A visit to Shoalhaven Zoo is special or perhaps the Fleet Air Arm Museum is more up your alley. Nowra is also a great place to base yourself to see other rural areas not too far away, such as Berry and Kangaroo Valley.