It’s early summer in Victoria and as we get ready to celebrate both of our birthdays and a scorching hot Christmas day, we thought we’d take a day to enjoy our 25th birthdays down in Red Hill, Victoria before things get too crazy.
So, we did what we do best. We jumped in the car and travelled an hour out to Red Hill, which is nestled right next to the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, home to some of Melbourne’s most beautiful coastlines.
Even though Red Hill is really in our backyard, we were not prepared for the beauty that awaited us, especially since the sun was out, and the weather was nice and warm but not too hot – it was perfect!
First Stop, Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens
I’m not joking, when I saw this mini sunflower field, which is just starting to bloom as the weather goes from warm to hot, I actually squealed with delight! No kidding, I bolted straight for it! Sunflowers are my absolute favourite! I can only imagine how bright and eye-catching this field would be later in the season when all the buds are in full bloom.
But, this was a relatively minor feature of Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens, which has easily become one of my favourite places in Victoria.
Everywhere you turn there are ponds, water features, and lakes, as well as mazes, lavender fields, beautiful gardens, and seemingly never-ending woodlands. Plus, some quirky art.
We might be almost 25, but we’re definitely not above giggling like schoolgirls at the site of The Statue of David.
Although, in typical fashion, we fell in love with the lake up the back of the 25-acre property. It was so peaceful, and it seemed like none of the other visitors really ventured that far back in the garden. In fact, from the woodlands down, and then on the edges of the attraction where you can find the sunflower field and oriental garden, there seemed to be no one around.
The main reason we loved this lake so much is because there was a tiny little turtle splashing around not far from the pier. We actually sat here for such a long time, just chatting and watching the breeze ripple the water.
There was also one of the many vineyards in Red Hill sitting right next to the gardens, which we admired from the edge of the property. Only a little over a month ago these vines would have been practically bare, now they’re flourishing with early growth cool-climate grapes that will eventually be used to make Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and even Tempranillo.
It’s actually ridiculous how many Insta-worthy spots there are at this place. You’ll legit never want to leave! You might even stumble across a secret doorway, which I like to think will send you tumbling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.
Walking around these gardens was bloody brilliant – and so relaxing!
Stop Two, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
Fancy a bit of strawberry picking? This seasonal experience is a lovely way to spend the afternoon and is located just up the road from Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm only costs $9 to do the U-Pick experience. This gets you a large punnet, and plenty of time picking strawberries straight off the plants.
I’m sure it’s against the rules, but there were also a lot of people eating the strawberries as they wandered through the rows of strawberry plants in search of the biggest, juiciest pieces f fruit.
We were super slow at filling our punnets, but I must admit, it’s hard to be anywhere near as quick as the professionals that were picking away in the field opposite us.
It was incredible watching them glide along, almost like they were walking on water, picking only the ripest, best quality strawberries from the bunch.
Although, if one punnet of fruit isn’t enough, the strawberries, along with a broad selection of other fresh fruits and gourmet pantry goods, like honey, jams, and baked goods are available for purchase from the gift store.
The cafe also serves up giant strawberry ice cream sundaes, waffles, and much more! But, Just a heads up, it might not really fit the theme, but the banana ice cream is also to die for!
If you happen to find yourself down the coast in Mornington, make sure you do take a detour to Red Hill – you won’t regret it!