I'm a part-time photographer living in Melbourne and I just happen to enjoy writing the odd article about....well anything really.
Published June 29th 2011
Hidden away amongst the hustle and bustle of Elsternwick is Rippon Lea House and Gardens, a sprawling estate, upon which sits the National Heritage Listed Rippon Lea Mansion and surrounding gardens.
Designed in 1868 and lived in by two families over the following century, Rippon Lea Mansion exists today primarily in the same state it did when it was built, although the swimming pool and ballroom were added later in 1938.
The stunning gardens - which are extensive - were developed in the same year as the mansion itself, and really are a sight to behold. Whether it be meandering through one of the many pathways, picnicking on the massive lawn directly in front of the mansion, reading a book by one of the lakes (if you want to see picturesque, check out the boathouse and lake as depicted in the attached photographs) or walking through the huge fernery, you could easily spend hours just in the gardens.
However if you were to spend too long in the gardens - you wouldn't get to go on a tour of the mansion, and this really is something you don't want to miss. After all, it's probably why you're there in the first place.
The mansion provides a glimpse - albeit a very large glimpse - of how the extremely wealthy in Victoria lived in the mid 1800s through to the mid 1900s, and it is in perfect condition. Beds are made, dining tables are set and you'll feel like you've stepped back in time to a far more elegant age. But be warned, access to the mansion can only be gained by joining a tour, which operate daily but don't go past 3.00pm. Sometimes the tours finish earlier than that, depending on numbers, so I would suggest getting there earlier rather than later.
Of course, if you want some time out from wandering around this massive estate you can relax in the on-site cafe, which serves light snacks, cold drinks, ice cream, tea and coffee - and I can personally recommend the coffee - and in winter, has a log fire blazing for you to warm your feet (and hands) by.
Rippon Lea House and Gardens is only 7kms from the CBD and is a five minute walk from Rippon Lea station.
Why? To temporarily escape the mad rush of city life and relax in beautiful surrounds, without having to travel a great distance.
When:1st May - 31st August: Open Thursdays – Sundays from 10am to 4pm
Where:192 Hotham St Elsternwick VIC 3185
Cost:House & Garden - Adult: $12, Concession: $9, Child (15 years & under): $6.50, Family (2 adults up to 4 children): $30. Garden Only - Adult: $7, Concession: $5, Child (15 years & under): $3, Family (2 adults up to 4 children): $16.00.