For the love of Lindenderry

For the love of…

Lindenderry, Red Hill 

We’ve decided to set off on a little road trip for a few days. Absolutely love every inch of living in Melbourne but the inner city, faced paced, hectic lifestyle we lead is desperately in need of a break and some fresh air. Time for a recharge while connecting with nature. 

Originally our plans were to leave tomorrow and head straight for Phillip Island and return back home on Monday. How good are long weekends? We booked ourselves an air BnB, which has allowed us to bring our fur baby, Penelope. 

We then decided to add an extra day and leave today. Have admired Lindenderry in Red Hill for a while so here was our chance to grab a night there. When I booked last week, I didn’t even think (preggo brain rarely thinks) until Anton later reminded me – What about Penelope? she can’t stay at Lindenderry. True that! 

So the hunt was on two days out to find a place for Penelope to sleep along the Mornington Peninsula. No surprises most reputable dog carers are booked out – what a snooze. So what now? A friend’s mum might be able to have her but even up until last night we still had no plans for P. 

Thankfully, Penelope’s best pals at Melbourne Dog Connection were only too happy to take her on for us but that would mean for the entire weekend so she wouldn’t be coming to Phillip Island either. Shame she is missing out but we think it is also fun for her to spend the weekend running around with other dogs.

True to form – we pack the morning of. It’s not as easy as it use to be now we are packing for a kid. Packing for a pint size requires more work than it sounds – do you agree Parents? Anyway we finally did it. 

On the bench sit a few ripe bananas that have been staring at me for days. No better time to make a banana cake than on the eleventh hour – Leylim and Chris from Melbourne Dog Connection are coming over to pick up Penelope so we can enjoy cake and coffee with them before heading off. 

As always, a pleasure to see them and meet their newest addition – a tiny black frenchie girl, Billie Jean from the same breeder Penelope is from. Gosh, she is cute!

We finally make tracks about midday. Raff is so tired that she falls asleep once we hit the road, which makes for a peaceful trip to Red Hill. As we arrive, no surprises she wakes. It’s like they just know. It’s a bit like me when watching a movie – I’m so hopeless – generally fall asleep about three minutes in and wake up as the credits are rolling. Always the same scenario. I’m so well versed at it now that as soon as I wake – I mention how good the movie was. Ha! No one even knows. Anyway where were we – oh yes, we’ve arrived at Lindenderry. 

The entrance to Lindenderry is just what we need. Tranquil, lush, secluded and the perfect place to call home for tonight.  Flanked by acres of vineyards and carefully sculptured gardens, we breathe in a wave of contentment that is quintessentially Red Hill. 

At the cellar door, where we have parked, there seems to be a staff gathering – the chefs, ground and hotel staff relaxing with a drop of what could only be Lindenderry wine. Bloody good tunes they have playing too. Could very happily join their party for the afternoon. 

So excited for our feet to touch the soil and to breathe in crisp air as we meander to the reception lobby. We are welcomed by reception and invited to take a seat on the oversized couches. A nice chance to adore the artwork hanging from the walls.

Check in is smooth and always a delight to be offered a free upgrade – large suite with garden views. Thanks legends. 

We move our car from the front entrance, along a dirt road on the grounds of Lindenderry to the residential car park. Raff’s loving being front seat bandit for the short drive – buckled up on my lap in the passenger seat. No judgement please – we are on the property of Lindenderry, driving through the vineyard and travelling at 5 kilometres. Some may say irresponsible but I’d say it’s way too safe for that. 

The residential car park is to the back of the Lindenderry property. Here is the entrance to the luxury boutique accomodation. As we step out of the car, our senses are reminded that Lindenderry really is a place that demands you take your time to do as much, or as little, as you want. Feel so dreamy right now.

Upon entering the classic country style house, we are greeted by high ceilings and a long hallway entrance. Similar to how I’d love my country retreat to be (dreaming, dreaming!) The walls are draped with fabric artwork and each courtyard room flanks from the hallway. 

Our room is passed the library and down an easy flight of stairs. To the right three doors down on the left is us. Number 103. 

The room is as we imagined – large in size with breath taking garden views. Classic in design with heritage touches and every inch of the room is filled with natural light by the ceiling to floor windows. So much bliss right here. 

Raff makes herself at home and completes her obligatory roll call of every single item in the room, before obsessing over “Raffi’s Chair”. A pink velvet ottoman, pretty on the eye and just the right height for her to take seat on her throne. 

We wonder the gardens and relax in the beauty that surrounds us. Discovering new plants and imagining what it would be like to wake up to this everyday.

We have found a floor covering plant, that is covered in what looks to be fur. It is so soft in texture and reminds us of touching Penelope’s ears. Anyone know what we might be talking about? 

We decide to head for Arthur’s Seat Chair lift like true tourists and make our way to the top entrance at Arthur’s Seat. There is a bit of a queue – long enough for a kid who is tired and coming into her dinner time. Queue’s never bothered me that much until I had a kid – then I realised how precious timing is with everything. EVERYTHING! 

We are greeted by the middle aged ground crew. Who are so personable and welcoming. How important is friendly staff for tourism, it makes the experience so much more memorable. Even if the activity is fun but the staff welcome is horrible, sadly that’s what we seem to remember. You’ve done well with tourism 101 at Arthur’s Seat, staff. 

The chair lifts are called gondolas and we are lucky enough to get a gondola to ourselves. I’m scared of heights so travelling at 1,030ft above sea level is going to be testing. My trick is don’t ever look down just maintain eye level the entire time. Works for me.

This gondola feels much safer than the last chair lift I went on in Santorini – It was old an creaky and felt so risky. But we made it then so I’m sure we will make it now! 

It’s a picturesque view over Dromana and the Mornington Peninsula. Sun setting to our left over the water and on the right we take in the green. Pretty peaceful right now. 

It’s $24 for a return adult trip. Kids under two are free. The ride is about half an hour, which is just the right amount of time to take it all in. TIP – Don’t get off at the top or the bottom if time isn’t your friend, you’ll have to queue back up again to get on. Little people are a great excuse but for those that don’t have little people with them – maybe say you don’t feel well or you are in a rush to get back to the airport for a flight home. I don’t know, make something up – you’re smarter than I. 

We spend the trip back to the top deciding on food. Both feel like pasta. Google and my favourite travel friend TripAdvisor bring up a few options with the one that stands out the most – The Epicurean. 

As we make our way from the gondola to the car park. We spot kangaroos in the National Park. What timing. We enter the park to watch the Mama kangaroo and her two babies hop around us. Cool moment for us big kids and an even cooler moment for the little kid. The Japanese tourist in me wasn’t as organised as I should be in this moment. No up close photos! 

We make our way to Shoreditch Road Red Hill, which is a 9km drive from Arthur’s Seat. Located in the small village of Red Hill. Doesn’t look like much from the outside – an old warn out shearing house in fact but the magic is inside. Upon entering, you’ll be greeted by shelves of decadent local produce but it’s when you eventually hit the glass sliding door that you’re welcomed into a masterpiece – that is the Epicurean dining hall. I just know this is going to be good. First impressions are so important when it comes to a good feed. 

We have a ten minute wait before the kitchen opens but that gives us time to really soak in the ambience, design and decor of this beauty, which has only been opened since December. The wood fire oven, glassed cool room, open fire places, lighting, fresh made bread and olives, open kitchen, meat display… are all a delight to take in.

We’ve sussed out the menu (of course we have) and know exactly what to order by the time the kitchen opens. Thank heavens the man looking after us is an Italian import – he will appreciate our over ordering. Five dishes. Two and a half people. Can eat. Because #WorldsBestEaters.

Anton enjoys the local rose and I enjoy the ciao Bella mocktails. This was just what we wanted. Grazie Epicurean. 

It’s hitting on 7 and although fams can push their little people out much later than this. Our little treasure is pretty hopeless beyond her bedtime. She loves her bed at 7. Although she is holding up well now, the line is only thin between ok and NEED. BED. NOW. 

Home we go to Lindenderry and organsie Raff for bed. Its a bit of a challenge getting her sorted into the portacot in this light filled room, she’s addicted to her own bed! So addicted that she can’t wait to get in it most nights and rounds us when her bed time rolls around. 

Not so eager to go to bed here. New sounds, new lights, “Door Broken” OMG let’s talk about this broken door for the next hour, shall we? There is light coming from the hallway under the room  door – oh man every speck of light coming into this room is so prominent right now. We try the old -put – her – in – our – bed – trick but that means party time for Raff. She’s never slept in our bed (because she decided it’s not for her!) and that’s no different tonight. One and a half hours later she’s alseep in her cot. Phew! So here Anton and I are sitting up in the bed at 830 in the dark. How’s your Thursday night going? 

I guess it’s bed time. I’d say lights out but they’ve been out for hours. 

See you tomorrow peeps.. x

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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