Enchanting 360-degree views command attention at this pretty hillside property where olives trees thrive. It sits at the foot of Mount Buffalo in north-east Victoria surrounded by the fertile Ovens Valley. Expect vibrant cerise-streaked skies at sunrise and sunset, birdsong and heady eucalypt scents – serenity reigns supreme here.
The Grove Estate is a two kilometre drive from the picturesque village of Porepunkah that sits beside the meandering Ovens River. The busy tourist town of Bright, known for its autumn splendour, quaint shops, galleries, cosy cafes, brewery and restaurants, is a 10-minute hop. Bright is a 3.5 hour drive from Melbourne and 1.5 hours from Albury Airport.
The sprawling architecturally designed four-bedroom homestead with a wrap-around deck has been treated to a chic renovation but it's those majestic views from most rooms that star. Anyone wanting "me" time can escape to a hidden nook or wrap your hands around a coffee on the deck and gaze out at a paintbox of green and blue hues. Striking art and bespoke furniture feature in all rooms that beckon you to put your feet up. Light the wood fire as the temperature drops and cosy up on the leather couches. Aspiring master chefs can star in the impressive commercial grade kitchen, then serve a holiday feast on the timber dining table or on the deck overlooking the olive grove. Stretch on the yoga lawn, check out the garden sculpture and take a dip in the nearby pool. The two spacious bathrooms and powder room are stocked with Hunter Lab products and locally made soaps by Gather & Harvest.
Moroccan memories are evoked in the master bedroom with a black king-size timber bedhead and bold red and navy bedding along with timber floors and soft woven rugs. Intriguing artwork by regional artists and Margie Sheppard's Woman as a Landscape feature. There's a sitting area with cow hide mat and leather chairs plus a spacious soft grey tiled bathroom with twin basins. Blinds can be lowered but we opt for the scenic views and busy birdlife in the garden. The other bedrooms also have eclectic decor and views.
Bright's dining scene is buzzing with the addition of elegant Elm Dining where executive chef, Kauri Watkin's innovative menu showcases the best of regional produce. Restaurant manager Sarah Volpe suggests starting with a Beekeeper cocktail with local orange blossom honey or Rosy's Rhubarb, a nod to the owner Rosy Seaton of Traverse Alpine Group. Order a la carte or indulge in the seasonal degustation menu with treats including Elm tartare, duck breast, sirloin, cucumber apple wood sorrel and gin sorbet and a finale of kanko cheesecake. Sommelier Matt Cridge knows his wines. The charming historic Victorian cottage, now adorned with eclectic artwork, was the doctors' residence for a century, and later Simone's restaurant (see elmdining.com.au). Casual dining features at the adjoining The Yard eatery. Visit The Peaks Artisan Cheesemakers (peakscheese.com.au, Shop 5, 4 Ireland Street, Bright) for cheeses made by Luke Armstrong and Vanessa Lipscombe who use cow and goats' milk from a small Kiewa Valley organic farm.
Hit the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail from Bright to Myrtleford or part of it and if you love the wind in your hair, cycle downhill from Mount Buffalo Chalet, built in 1910. Cool off in Bright's river pool and later get lost in the nearby Wandiligong Maze with two kilometres of winding pathways. Stock up on produce at Bright's Make It Bake It Grow It market on the third Saturday of every month.
It's a blissful haven peppered with a rural vibe and scenery overload.
From $1200 a night – two-night minimum includes a regional produce hamper with Bright's Morses Creek Bakery sour dough, EV Olive Oil, Bright Brewery beer, Feathertop wine and Sixpence Coffee. Sleeps four couples with a separate cabin available for a fifth couple. The Grove Estate, 307 Mt Buffalo Road, Porepunkah. Phone: 0488 554 888. See brightboutiqueaccommodation.com.au
Those magical views and luxe country buzz.
Tempting laden olive trees that aren't quite ripe for picking.
Sue Wallace stayed as a guest of Tourism North East.