Though modern Australia was originally settled by poverty-stricken convicts, you’d never know it from the aristocratic grounds of spectacular Rippon Lea. Only 20 minutes from central Melbourne, this manicured, refined, and immaculate estate is a throwback to 19th-century royalty and ornate, Victorian homes. The gardens span across 14 acres and were built in a style that was so advanced they actually harnessed their own water. The mansion itself was also constructed with features ahead of its time, and was one of Melbourne’s original estates with electricity and modern plumbing. When visiting the historic mansion today, stroll through 15 different rooms where each is more lavish than the last. Play a casual game of croquet on the mansion’s well-trimmed lawn, or lay out a blanket while sipping tea in a picnic from days gone by.
Rippon Lea House is located in Elsternwick about five miles from central Melbourne. When traveling by train, alight at Rippon Lea station for a short, five-minute walk. Open daily from 10am-4pm, and admission is $20 for adults and $10 for children.