You enter Coombe Yarra Valley Restaurant through this imposing hedge that protects seven acres of gardens surrounding Coombe Cottage. The restaurant, which uses fabulous local produce, and can turn out beautifully cooked dishes for 150, incorporates the old stables and garages.
Coombe Cottage, the main house, was the home of world renowned opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931) in her later years. She purchased the 60 acre property in 1909. Architect John Grainger, father of composer Percy Grainger, extended the existing small house which was then renamed Coombe Cottage. Melba commissioned the long-serving second director of Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens,William Guilfoyle, to design her garden.
There is a sense of drama about the garden. A long avenue of trees form an imposing driveway to the house, which, though surprisingly modest, surely witnessed many illustrious guests. Charlie Chaplin is reputed to have jumped stark naked into the pool precluding further invitations.
Coldstream is 47km from Melbourne. There is a small museum and cellar door at the restaurant, as well as guided tours of the grounds. Well worth a visit.