Passport to the World over 64 years. Pages from my Travel Diary

Melbourne 2007. Our visit to Grovedale Olives, Kangaroo Ground

Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend
Melbourne 2007. Our visit to Grovedale Olives, Kangaroo Ground.

Each year in March, the Formula 1 Grand Prix Circus rolls into Melbourne, our apartment on St Kilda Road Melbourne is but a stone's throw from the Formula 1 circuit around Albert Park Lake. The noise these beasts make is ear shattering, and to avoid that agony we decamp each year and get away to the silence of the Victorian bushland. This year we decided to spend two days at Grovedale Olives, a 25 acre property at Kangaroo Ground, about 40 kilometers from the CBD.

Grovedale Olives The dam and Olive grove
Grovedale Olives dam and Olive grove

Grovedale Olives.
We drove up to Coldstream to Bella Vedere on the Maroondah Highway for a leisurely lunch, then off through the winding road spanning the Yarra Valley to Kangaroo Ground. I have never seen the countryside so bare, the worst drought in Victoria for the past 100 years has taken an awful toll, no feed at all for stock, not a green blade of grass to be seen, just a sere look as far as the eye can see. Water in dams at an extreme low, and no end to it all in sight.

The property has two studios built in the Tuscan style, one the Olive Studio, and the second the Citrus studio, our home from 3PM on Friday the 15th. of March for the next two days.

The road to the property winds past 5 acres of serried ranks of olive trees about 8 years old, with the distinctive silvery look of an olive grove.

Looking into the Grovedale Olives Courtyard over the farm gate
Looking into courtyard over the farm gate

On opening the car doors we were greeted by two dogs wagging their tails off, they turned out to be a blue heeler named Meg, and a black Labrador/ Boxer called Poppy. Meg carried a battered tennis ball at all times, very much like her security blanket, as soon as one appeared she would drop the ball in front of you, back away and wait for you to kick or throw it, Meg had an uncanny sense of which direction you might despatch her ball. More often than not she fielded it better than many soccer goalies stopped the opposing shot at the net. Poppy was content to lay about, or have her ears stroked, but when dusk was near, she would move to the higher grass to watch, and wait.

Meg and Poppy
Meg and Poppy

The area is aptly named, as groups of Kangaroos, forced to seek feed closer to human habitation have come closer to properties seeking something to eat.

Poppy was well aware that sooner or later, the Kangaroos would sweep past her waiting in the grass, she did not bother them, or bark, just watched the passing parade.

Wrought iron gate, arch and Courtyard
Wrought iron gate, arch and Courtyard

Our Citrus Studio.
Approached via a courtyard, though an arch after opening an old wrought iron gate, you could feel the Italian influence, immediately on the left the Great Hall, a splendid high roof structure with timber beams and a lovely open fire place at one end, one could imagine the warmth and comfort given out on a cold winter's night.

On entering our studio, it is on two levels, a well appointed bathroom on the right, featuring a huge bath/spa, shower, toilet and basin. The bedroom with two shuttered windows opening onto the courtyard, then stoned steps leading to the living and kitchen area, all paved with stone. An open fire place in one corner.

Double glassed timber doors opened to a small terrace, where our four legged friends waited to greet us as soon as we ventured outside. The land quickly dropped away to the dam on the left and the olive grove behind. In the far distance the splash of the blue tinged hills.

But above all silence, a few birds drifted lazily in the sky, as they used the light breeze to advantage, just lovely solitude.

The next morning our hostess Vonnie, left our breakfast provisions, eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, warm bread, and appropriate jams, all nicely laid out in their baskets, with bright and freshly picked roses. The morning Australian newspaper was also included.

Do you do home deliveries to St Kilda Road ? We will be waiting on Monday morning next!!

Our Citrus Studio
Our Citrus Studio

St Andrew's monthly Market, on St Patrick's Day.
In the nearby area of St Andrews, a Saturday market with some 60 or so stalls is held, as it was on this particular Saturday, which happens to be St Patrick's Day off we went to investigate, but on arrival, there was a host of cars parked in every conceivable place, as far as a half mile away.

There could have been as many as a 1,000 cars parked on all the roadsides around this small village, thus we never made it, and do not know what perhaps we missed.

Eltham Shire Memorial Tower.
Sitting on Garden Hill, the highest point at Kangaroo Ground, is a square stone tower, a Memorial to those from the district who died in the various wars in which Australia has been involved, and built by the Shire of Eltham, to their memory. The lookout at the top, is reached by climbing four sets of steps, the last flight reaching upwards practically vertically, once at the top, the surrounding countryside unfolds, and in the far distance, the buildings in the City of Melbourne can be clearly seen.

Grovedale Olives The Great Hall
The Great Hall at Grovedale Olives

Sunday the 18th. of March.
Another of Vonnie's surprise breakfasts awaited us this morning, we were lazy and took our time to despatch it, then sat on our terrace in the warm autumn sun, just reading our books or gazing into the distance. Meg wanting us to play ball.

It was time to pack and move on, all too quickly had our peaceful stay come to its close, we departed with a gift of a bottle of Virgin Olive oil from the Grovedale oil press, thank you Vonnie.

Should you be in need of, or searching for some peaceful, quality time, just call Vonnie at Grovedale Olives, to do yourselves a favour.

Domaine Chandon Winery Yarra Valley.
We stopped at the Domaine Chandon Winery for a light lunch comprising a shared Cheese platter, and a glass of their wine.

Thence the drive home, to park our car just as the final lap of this year's Formula 1 race was completed, perfect timing, and a pleasant two days away in the Victorian country side.


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