While Ballarat is world-renowned for it’s rich history, brought to life with a day’s meanderings through Sovereign Hill, a peaceful 20-minute drive out of Ballarat will land you in an entirely different world altogether, one consisting of rolling hills, acres of luscious roses and entertaining activities for all the family—not to mention the gourmet home-made pies created on site.
[quote]Welcome to The Tangled Maze, where getting lost really is only half the fun!
Nestled on the foothills of the Central Highlands halfway between Ballarat and Daylesford, it’s a world away from the bustling streets of the city, and somewhere it’s quite easy to lose yourself in the serenity — literally!
The Tangled Maze will test all ages as you wind your way along the 1.4 kilometres of pathway surrounded by 2-metre high hedges, all the while keeping an eye out for the checklist of native animals and birdlife given out by the friendly office staff. Not only is there a reward at the end if you manage to decipher the clues and locate all the hidden creatures, but it will also mean that your tracks have gone to each and every corner of the maze, a feat that will take anywhere from 30-45 minutes. From spring to autumn you are surrounded by a variety of flowers, including clematis, wisteria, jasmine and honeysuckle to name but a few, made all the more breathtaking when taken in from the two ramp towers within the maze itself, each offering 360-degree views across the beautiful surrounding countryside.
If that adventure alone isn’t enough to work up your appetite, then try your hand at the 18-hole mini golf course, which also provides spectacular views over the plains. The course is fashioned in the style of an English Knot Garden, a very formal design set in a square frame which was first established in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Not only does the unique design lend more history to the course, but it also makes it extremely family-friendly and easy to keep an eye on the kids.
The course also overlooks a giant-sized chess board, situated next to a casual seating area with a table designed as a large Naughts and Crosses playboard. Currently undergoing construction is the Amaz ‘N’ Ice arena, a large synthetic indoor icerink due for completion mid-2014, a perfect activity no matter the weather or season!
Our single sojourn through the maze was enough to whet our appetites, having seen the list of offerings when we arrived. It was impossible to resist the temptation of home-baked gourmet pies and fresh fruit smoothies, the sizes of which we haven’t seen in other similar establishments. Needless to say we couldn’t resist stocking up on some other flavours while we were there — just a few for the road!
Our walk through the Mistydowns Rose Garden was an absolute delight, and you don’t need to be a green-thumb to appreciate the time, patience, love and passion that has grown this part of the property into Australia’s premier heritage Rose collection. Take your time and stroll through the pathways, lined both sides by sweet scents such as you’ve never smelled anywhere before, until you find yourself at the head (quite literally) of the giant hedge worm that lines the drive up to the main building and function rooms.
The function rooms themselves are a class above, with beautiful settings against a stained glass backdrop in the main area and glass overlooking the manicured lawns and hillsides in the second. It is a perfect setting for weddings, family get-togethers, birthdays, clubs, groups and coach tours.
Entry costs depend on which activities you wish to participate in, though Whole Park entry is a very reasonable $13 per child and $16 per adult — great value for a whole day of fun.
All in all, we found it an absolute pleasure to get lost there, and would happily do it again!