Perfect blue skies and glorious summer sunshine is the perfect reason to dust off the picnic basket, fill it with delicious treats and take Mum on a magical mystery girls day out.
The stunning Werribee Mansion was our secret destination, an Italianate grand residence built during the Victorian period. Commissioned in 1874 by wealthy Scots who planted vast orchards yielding apples, pears, peaches, nuts and olives. Australia is a modern nation, so mansions are especially rare. In her past, the mansion was home to a Catholic Seminary, Corpus Christi College, and now a luxury Hotel & Spa surrounded by 10 acres of English gardens.
Neighbouring the Werribee Mansion is the Victorian State Rose Garden, five hectares of over 5000 roses. Melbourne is famous for her erratic weather and ability to showcase all four seasons in one day, but even after being been battered by the sun, wind and heavy rain of recent weeks, the fragrant roses perfumed the air and offered a vast display of vibrant colours.
The garden is lovingly maintained by volunteers who ensure there is barely a petal out of place, some of whom have shown their dedication to the gardens for over 25 years. I was in awe of the grace and elegance of the different varieties of roses – from European Rambling Roses, Tudor Roses bred in England, Peony Roses from America, and English garden roses.
After meandering through the rose gardens watching blue wrens dart from tree to tree, we made our way to Werribee Mansion to tuck into our picnic lunch on the lawn. I got up early to buy picnic treats from our local market – fresh strawberries, cheese with quince paste, egg sandwiches, carrots with hummus, all washed down with organic raspberry and lemon Kombucha. The picnic was delicious, but when Mum and I get together we spend most of our time talking and majority of the food returned home uneaten. That is what picnics are all about though, the company always comes first.
Sometimes exploring places close to home with the people you love most are the most special.