Seawinds Gardens are in Arthurs Seat State Park, on the Mornington Peninsula. You can access them from Purves Road, Arthurs Seat.
Although a beautiful setting at any time of year, in autumn they ignite with vibrant colour, and are well worth a visit. Nestled among the extensive exotic and native gardens, you’ll also find some beautiful sculptures by Melbourne-born, William Ricketts. I take a break from the wild to visit Seawinds, and this post will give you a bit of info about the gardens, and a taste of what I saw.
The gardens date back to 1946. Sir Thomas and Lady Travers, from the Melbourne area, developed the gardens themselves, using plants from their own property. They purchased the sculptures from the well-known William Ricketts, and today you can find them displayed in a stone wall near the two lookouts.
The gardens cover 34 hectares. Neat gravel paths wander over the beautifully kept lawns, and an avenue of deciduous trees line the main walkway.
The view was an artists delight. With the early morning sun radiating through the trees, the landscape was transformed into a palette of rich maple-red, burnt sienna, roasted buttercup yellow, and a shade of orange as vibrant as a ripe persimmon.
I could imagine a movie being filmed here. A romantic one of course. At the very least, its a beautiful backdrop for a wedding. The views seem to roll on forever, and every time you turn around, another amazing visual delight meets your eyes.
I could fancy a Sunday afternoon sitting in the sun, reading a book, with a cold glass of sauvignon blanc by my side.
There are also two awesome lookouts with views across Port Phillip Bay. But despite the beautiful sunny day, there was low-lying cloud gathered in a broad band across the water, so I chose not to take any photos, least they spoil your expectations. I chose to concentrate on the autumn splendour instead, and then wound my way through the park towards the Northern Lookout, where the William Ricketts sculptures are embedded into a stone wall.
This sculpture reminds me of the main character from the movie “Castaway”. No disrespect intended!
The sculptures are based on Aboriginals from central Australia. William Ricketts lived with the Pitjantatjara and Arrerente people in the Northern Territory, gaining insights into the Aboriginal way of life. Through his work, he interpreted the Aboriginal attachment to the land, often including himself within the sculptures. The William Ricketts Sanctuary is in Mount Dandenong, Victoria, and has over 90 sculptures on display.
There are many beautiful, and old, trees in the gardens. For those with an interest in horticulture, it is a great place to come and test your plant i.d. skills. Some of the more significant specimens are named, so if you’re not up to it, you can get a bit of help.
You can also discover some funny fungi at this time of year in the gardens, so check out this post I did earlier in the week for some photos of my favourites. This is one of them….
There is also the Seawinds Nursery Volunteer’s Indigenous Garden. Developed in 1993, it has over 150 specimens of the Mornington Peninsula’s native plants, many of which are named. Native fauna can be spotted here as well, with kangaroos being frequent guests of the gardens. If you venture further along the path through the indigenous garden, you can visit the actual summit of Arthurs Seat. A Mecca for tourists, it is the Mornington Peninsula’s highest peak, at 305 metres above sea level.
Seawinds Gardens is a great place to come for a picnic. With picnic tables, electric barbeques, and toilets, all you need is a sunny day and some yummy food. When you’ve had your fill, you can walk it off by heading off along one of the tracks that take you through the ‘real bush’ of Arthurs Seat State Park. More posts to follow on that topic….
I had a lovely time strolling around the gardens, and had them all to myself, until a small artists group turned up. It’s usually very quiet here during the week, but on a sunny weekend it can get quite busy. So, if you’re near the area and haven’t been here before, I thoroughly recommend it.
Where: Seawinds Gardens, Purves Road, Arthurs Seat.
Distance: How ever far you like within the 34 hectares of gardens.
Time: How ever much spare time you have to soak it all up.