Back to nature – in style at
The Eastern Golf Club and Yering Gorge Cottages
By Tilly Smith Dix
Living in the magical Yarra Valley east of Melbourne, is like being on a permanent holiday. From award-winning winemaking to fine dining, the region is steeped in natural beauty and has become a major attraction for Australian as well as international tourists in search of something special.
Having seen some spectacular golf courses in my travels, from southern Africa to Europe and the US, several visits to the Eastern Golf Club is inspiring me to take up the game, even if it is simply for the walk along this idyllic course, designed by an Australian who knows his business, especially golf courses. Greg Norman lives in the US but has always kept businesses and homes in his birthplace, Australia, so, who better than him to design a course that embraces the natural beauty of this magical region.
On arrival, having driven past several wine estates along the meandering Victoria Road to Yering, I am perpetually enchanted by the pristine course, enveloped by indigenous trees, and majestically presided over by Yering Gorge.
The welcoming committee comprised a kangaroo having an early siesta under a tree, lazily surveying the golfers, and me, and the charming Tracy Hore, who handles the media and marketing for the golf club and cottages.
Sublime vistas at The Eastern Golf Club and Yering Gorge Cottages.
The elegantly appointed Eastern Golf Club offers conference and events facilities, some of which I have had the pleasure of attending recently. From the plush carpeting, lighting, décor and mutable facilities, to the sublime views of the golf course, gorge and nature reserve, much thought went into its design.
The extensive lunch menu included delectable dishes such as freshly baked Turkish bread, ceasar salad, roast vegetable salad with quinoa, beetroot puree and house made dukkah, pepper fillet dusted with spices on hommus, scallopini in white wine cream sauce. The sinful dessert comprised from chocolate marquise with salted caramel and espresso ice cream, to pineapple and coconut mint parfait with coconut and lime sorbet. An impressive menu to complement an equally impressive club.
The specials for the day included salmon fettuccini with baby spinach and capers, and spice-dusted snapper fillet on hommus, cherry tomatoes, roasted eggplant, tahini mayonnaise, and a fresh garden side-salad to share.
Scrumptious snapper, salad and salmon fettuccini in the luxe clubhouse.
My companion thoroughly enjoyed the snapper, while I savoured every morsel of the delectable salmon fettuccini, which was perfectly coated in virgin olive oil, enough to make any self-respecting Italian mama proud. We agreed, the newly appointed chef is a keeper.
Washed down with a delicious Coombe Farm Pinot Gris (also in the Yarra Valley), we were ready to move on to our afternoon meetings, fortified and in good spirit on a bright, sunny spring Yarra Valley day.
The club and golf course are set in a private nature reserve, which is home to over 200 eastern grey kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, some 200 species of native birdlife. The feathered species includes the spectacular eastern and crimson rosellas, sulphur-crested cockatoos, kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, several owl species and a nesting pair of wedge-tail eagles, to mention but a few.
Yes, it gets even better. The Yarra River flows through three kilometres of the Yering Gorge. Victorian fishing permit holders may cast a line, with many having abandoned those lines to immerse in sightings of the mesmerising platypus residing in this slice of paradise.
The 120-acre Nature Reserve offers 12km of easy bush walking trails, with panoramic vistas of the surrounding Yarra Valley from the gorge summit, against the backdrop of the Christmas Hills and Dividing Ranges of this valley of plenty.
The unique geological structure of Yering Gorge results in the river flowing from a plain into a gorge, creating a catchment area for the nearby Sugarloaf Reservoir State Reserve, based in the Christmas Hills.
Yering Gorge Cottages was established 10 years ago and The Eastern Golf Club was opened in July 2015, creating a golf and tourism destination par excellence. On par to nurture every sense of wellbeing this close to nature.
As many visitors are non-golfers, further wellness activities are on offer, such as fitness as well as tennis coaching, and, of course, one-on-one tuition to an extensive range of golf clinics. Then, of course, there is the fishing and walking.
The cottages offer self-catering facilities with a continental breakfast as well as dining services in the elegantly appointed golf club, where attention to detail includes the environmentally friendly L’Occitane bathroom products, which are also used in the luxe cottages.
Vistas from the cottages vary, from the imposing Yering Gorge to the Nature Reserve to superb Golf Course. The cottages are generously spaced for optimum privacy, making it an ideal destressing destination – as well as romantic.
Speaking of romance, weddings are immensely popular, with a superb events centre and Wedding Pavilion cocooned by the gorge and its enigmatic surrounds.