When our daughter Leni said to me the other day, "Mama, do you remember that pizza place in Macedon?", I stopped to pause, smile and remember all the great times (not to mention those pizzas! Ring ring, ring ring... Uber Eats is that you?) spent in our last home and location of Macedon, Victoria. It got me thinking about what a true treasure it is and how I really do miss it and the community of people who live there. The property we called home for the short time we lived in Macedon was one we won't quickly forget. Fondly dubbed "Our Jungle Paradise" and often referred to as a dreamland, it was surrounded by lush garden (even in winter it seemed wild & lush) and a constant source of inspiration, peace and comfort.
From the circular hedged orchard, moss covered ponds to the succulent garden shed rooftop and the secret pathways & archways, the garden took our breath away with all the life and love it offered us on a daily basis. We had the pleasure of living in one of the sweetest pockets in the suburb, Centenary Avenue, a street one of my closest friends described as "it just feels like someone giving you a big hug".
Garden shed rooftop succulents
Our home was part of the iconic property, "Tugurium", owned by long-time local and rare plant expert, Stephen & his partner, Craig (equally as intriguing & inspiring; botanical artist and the list goes on). It doesn't take long for you to be swept up in the beauty and detail. Built from scratch after the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983, the boys have sunk their hearts and souls into making this place somewhere everyone can enjoy. It's casual, wild feel lends itself to you feeling totally at home yet you know much thought and effort has gone into every little nook.
Because we are huge lovers of nature, texture and the outdoors, we spent any time we could lapping up our surrounds (even when it was FREEZING!). The nine months spent there was hugely beneficial to Leni's learning and development. The amount of new discoveries and life lessons she learnt over the time was invaluable. Nothing like a good dose of nature and good ol' fashioned dirt (and consistent falling out of trees) to expand the mind and increase the curiousity!
Leni & her best mate, Guinness
Macedon itself is the kinda place where you quickly get to know everyone. And everyone gets to know you... To some, that could be hell on earth but to us and our galavanting, chatty ways (Leni & I, not so much Mark), it was what we loved the most. We only lived there for 9 months but by the time we were leaving, we were left wondering how we would ever find another place so rich. From the gals (& Tom) at the local PO, to our neighbours Dave & Janet who own the pizza joint, it's the people who are the true gold of this place. Good humans, full of love.
Most definitely worth the 50 minute drive from Melbourne down the Calder Highway (or the 50 minute train ride from Southern Cross Station) to discover a little slice of mountain heaven. Pack a picnic, wear your elastic pants (to make room for all the food), pop on some James Vincent McMorrow, get ready to breathe some fresh air & enjoy!
Here are a few of our favourite haunts & must trys:
Ida Red: Handcrafted wood-fired pizzas using locally grown and sourced produce, fun staff, great vibe, live music on the weekends, realxed outdoor .
Big Little Baby: Local bar and bottle shop specialising in Victorian craft beer, cider & wine, live music, serves killer homemade Mexican throughout the Winter months.
Mr. Cafe: Breakfast & brunch destination, urban vibe, super friendly, hands down brew the best creamy cashew milk Chai and serve homemade raw treats plus serve the infamous, Butterbings and Toby's Estate coffee.
Macedon Res - The Lake: The locals call it "The Res", home to a large swimming lake, tyre swings & picnic spots.
Dicksonia Rare Plants: Beautiful nursery including art gallery, amazing selection of rare plants for every budget with an extensive range of succulents.
Camel's Hump Lookout: A steep but short walk to the highest point in the Macedon Ranges offering amazing views, rocky trails and serene surrounds.
"Tugurium" Garden Tours: Stephen Ryan regularly conducts tours of his private garden for Open Gardens Australia.
With the help of our great friend & photographer Ian Lee, we were able to capture the garden's wonder before we moved which we're so thankful for and here's a few family snaps too from when Mark had his Fabio mane & I was just 16 weeks pregnant... Enjoy!
Here's to discovering beauty in your own backyard, wherever that may be.
To love & adventure!
Photography by Ian H Lee
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