The Briars


Over four decades of living in Melbourne and I'd never heard of The Briars until a friend mentioned she would like to go. With the new Peninsula Link road freshly opened and a forecast of very pleasant 27° celsius it was the perfect time to investigate this place called 'The Briars'.

The Briars is a rural property consisting of a visitors centre, kiosk, picnic grounds, bbq facilities, bush walking tracks, wetlands, homestead complete with out-buildings, a restaurant and more. Entry to the Homestead is quite reasonable at $5.60 however be prepared to be 'escorted' through the house by a volunteer and given an in-depth history of the family. I left a tad confused and none the wiser as to the history of the actual house that was established by Dame Mabel Brookes to mark the relationship between her Grandfather William Balcombe and the Emperor Napoleon during the latter's exile on St Helena. There are plenty of photographs, furniture and Napoleonic memorabilia to peruse if you are 'allowed' time on your own to let it all sink in.

We arrived at The Briars around midday expecting to be able to purchase lunch but this wasn't to be. The kiosk apparently stocked coffee and cake but we didn't lay eyes on the cake and in fact on entering thought we were in a gift shop. The kiosk happens to predominantly be a gift shop with coffee and a few snacks on offer. I was slightly horrified at the $5 price tag for a mug of coffee but as my friend paid for them I can hardly complain. The property boasts a restaurant and I'm unsure if it was even open for lunch as we didn't happen to cross it's path, however a glimpse at the menu (and prices) at the visitor centre was enough to ensure we went hungry.

The walks were very enjoyable and had we been better prepared (I left my sneakers at home) we could have happily walked more of the tracks than we did. If you're looking for a nice day out complete with fresh air this property is definitely worth a visit so long as you come prepared. My advice is to pack a tasty home prepared picnic basket complete with your own thermos of coffee (or a bottle of wine if that's your thing) and don't forget the walking shoes.

Find out more
www.mornpen.vic.gov.au
seemelbournepass.iventurecard.com/attraction/the-briars-historic-park/
www.virtualsorrento.com.au/trust-properties/the-briars

Cost
Free if you don't visit the Homestead
Homestead: $5.60 per adult

How to get there


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Image © Suzanne Trew

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