I often wonder if we have an equivalent to the Hamptons here in Australia and often think that the Southern Highlands comes pretty close. Apart from the cooler temperatures and the fact that it lacks the obvious seaside location, it has plenty to offer in terms of amazing country estates and houses, quaint villages, cosmopolitan lifestyle (well, as much as one can expect from an Australian country town anyway), celebrity factor (Nicole and Keith have a place there for starters), a bucolic setting and beautiful world class gardens.
I know the area well, having lived there for many years, and been associated with it since I was at school there. All my family still live in the area and we are currently tossing up about whether or not to return there to live.
It never ceases to amaze me when I look at the real estate pages how many magnificent properties there are in the district, how many are for sale at any one time, and the size and scale of these places, that lurk behind giant hedges and imposing gates.
So here’s a little tour of some of the luxury properties currently for sale down there….
And this wonderful historic home, called Laurel Park is for sale in Burradoo, for $3.95m through Drew Lindsay Real Estate. Set on 3 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, the house was designed in 1886 by Sir John Sulman and has been extensively and sympathetically renovated.
I’m absolutely in awe of those amazing skirting boards, the cornices and dentils. The ceiling height alone is incredible. I’m usually not a fan of Victorian era architecture or design, but this has been updated with flair.
The kitchen is fabulous – perfectly designed and laid out for a country property and ideal for a large family with lots of kids. I love those lanterns and the cabinet colour, and the giant butler’s sink with the servery that opens up the whole kitchen to the courtyard .
The enormous dining room has been given the royal treatment with that striking Catherine Martin wallpaper, but I can’t help thinking it needs a nice big rug under the dining table.
This is a great space, attached to the kitchen, for casual meals. Love the glass fronted fireplace, but again I feel it needs a gigantic rug.
Great space to cosy up in a night during those chilly Highlands winters.
Oh to have a mudroom!
This room is very grand although a bit plain for my taste, but can’t help admiring the amazing proportions on the cornices, doorways and skirting boards.
Imagine having a playroom as gigantic as this for your kids to get lost in!
So, what do you think? Does the Southern Highlands give the Hamptons a run for its money? Probably not, but it’s not a bad effort. Ok, so there’s no beaches, bays or harbours, no magnificent sprawling $45m mansions, not a shingle or weatherboard in sight, but there is no shortage of amazing homes on parklike estates in this area and for a country as young as ours and devoid of an appealing style of architecture such as the homes of the US East Coast (in my opinion anyway), it’s not too shabby.