On the road to Mayfield Garden, skittish spring lambs bounce across undulating hills blanketed in yellow canola blooms. Flower-laden acacia trees, their leaves sagging under the weight of wattle flowers, punctuate the road side in golden sorority.
Adding a touch of flamboyance to the vibrant scene, flame-hued bottlebrush direct us into a moody forest of gnarled gums and weeping willows.
As we exit, a rosella swoops by with what appears to be frost fairies in chase but are in reality a flurry of fluffy snowflakes that missed the memo that winter is over. The scene is nothing short of enchanting. Like its mischievous Shakespearean namesake, Oberon’s rolling rural landscape has us under a spell.
Almost exactly Midway between historic Hartley in the Blue Mountains and bucolic Bathurst, Oberon isn’t your typical tourist town, but its location in the cool-climate Central Tablelands of Central NSW makes it an ideal base to explore both. While the utterly charming town’s historic main street boasts bric-a-brac and craft stores, heritage façades and the ravishingly retro Art Deco Malachi Gilmore Hall, the real appeal of this pretty country town lies in its surrounding farmlands and bucolic beauty.
But it is family friendly Mayfield Garden, just beyond the historic Oberon township, that has lured us here today. Set amidst around 2025 hectares of gently undulating grazing land, the beguiling beauty, itself an impressive 65 hectares, is the largest privately owned, cool-climate garden in the world.
The grand folly of Garrick Hawkins, an agribusinessman and investment banker whose home sits at the centre of the beguiling beauty, fantastical Mayfield has grown into one of Australia’s best gardens.
Bursting with cherry blossoms during our visit, the tranquil gardens are so magical that as I release my playful sprites into Mayfield Garden’s field-sized lawns to bounce past a series of ponds and cascading waterfalls, I imagine them as a real-life Puck and Titania.
Like forest fairies they flit and fly over a ruby red bridge into a Chinese-style pagoda, cartwheel through a colonnade of plane trees, dance around a copper tree fountain, and dive into secret grottoes to make mischief.
They frolic in the fruit orchard and tackle Mayfield’s English Box Hedge Maze – Australia’s second-largest – escaping just in time for a local paddock-to-plate lunch at Mayfield Café (with restrictions in place bookings a must). The kids’ appetites are anything but fairylike though, as they devour a hearty meal created from locally sourced and grown produce.
After lunch, there’s bocce, croquet and giant chess, and more importantly to my impish offspring, a chicken house, complete with “adorable” chickens for my daughter to bother.
Between the blooms, bocce and barnyard birds, visiting Mayfield Garden with kids was such a success that when we arrive back at Jenolan Caravan Park – a friendly van park with shiny new amenities and gorgeous cabins located right in the heart of Oberon – my fatigued fairies flake out almost immediately, all that flitting and flapping proving exhausting work.
530 Mayfield Rd,
PH: (02) 6336 3131
Open 9.00am to 4.30pm Monday – Sunday.