In the Dandenongs, about an hour west of Melbourne, the very special Hetrel family on their most beautiful property would generously throw their doors open as a fundraiser for various causes. And a pretty special fundraiser it was too.
Their gardens came alive with activities for the kids, and we visitors would walk the magical paths, admiring the gardens featuring cool climate trees and shrubs, small paths winding through towering Camelias, the smell of damp grass underfoot in the shade of a dry creek bed, fairies, elves and teddies peaking out at us. It was a marvel that anyone could awake daily to these surrounds, and share it with the hordes, trusting that they would be as respectful as the family, but they were.
It is a very special opportunity to visit here, and even with the volume of visitors, there were many opportunities for a moment of solitude, to sit and hear the bellbirds.
Or one would walk back to the site of the main activities, where the kids yelled in fun, playing cricket and other lawn games.
Teddies sat back for some afternoon tea.
There was an incredible collection of motoring and memorabilia.
In 2017 it was announced that this annual and bi annual event would no longer occur, the owners said that at their stage of life it was a massive effort, and that it was now time to retire. I know the kids will miss the train rides, and we are very thankful for all of those opportunities to visit.