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I like to watch/read Better Homes and Gardens and Gardening Australia. They are uncomplicated and undemanding and reasonably educational for an amateur DIYer such as myself (not that there are professional DIYers, but…actually those would just be tradies, wouldn’t they? Anyway, I digress). While we were planning our trip to Tasmania, BHG had a feature on a beautiful garden in Mole Creek, where the owners had shaped their hedges into a row of marching elephants. Very sweet. Then I read Gardening Australia and there was an article on how to hand build a dry stone wall using traditional methods, featuring Scott of the elephant hedge property in Mole Creek. I decided we needed to go and visit.

Mole Creek is about an hour west of Launceston, and is apparently quite a good base to explore from if you’re the wilderness/spelunking/bush walk/hiking type. Which we are not. Well, it’s not that I don’t enjoy a good walk, but mum isn’t able to walk very far or fast these days, lots of the national park attractions were closed due to the recent floods and I wasn’t going to go bushwalking on my own. Also we had limited time. Cradle Mountain and its environs will still be there the next time we visit!

After a drive through gorgeous scenery that looked as though it was draped in green velvet, we found Old Wesleydale and turned off down the long drive. A scrappy black dog appeared out of nowhere and rounded up the car, herding us in to a large stone courtyard with a giant barn at one end that almost looked more like a battlement, with slit windows and a sheer stone front. We met Deb, who showed us into the little cottage. With a fire already merrily crackling away in the stove, and lots of comfy spots to sit, we felt at home straight away.

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It was almost dark, but I had a quick walk around the property. The elephant hedges were a lot shorter than I’d imagined from the photos, but still very cute. The garden was obviously not at its best in winter, but I could see the bones of a lovely layout and still found it very appealing. Bare trees in winter can look quite stunning, actually.

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We drove down to the village of Mole Creek to the pub, the one available dinner option. We sat down by the heater in a perfectly deserted dining room, but when we ordered our roast dinners were told we had to move to a table in the corner because our table was booked. Eventually a family came in and sat there, but it felt very strange being one of two tables occupied in an otherwise empty room; I dislike the feeling of being overheard in a quiet room, but this family didn’t seem to mind that we knew every bit of their business (including the woman taking a long and loud phone call about her farm in the middle of dinner). After a fairly indifferent meal, we bought a bottle of red and headed back to the solitude of the Old Wesleydale cottage.

The cottage is really intended for couples, as it has just one queen bed, but I made up a pallet on the floor with the foam mattress Deb provided and some of the plentiful cushions. I’m in the middle of reading the first Outlander book too, so it was just perfectly atmospheric, reading a rollicking tale set in Scotland in the 1740s, while lying in front of a crackling fire on the floor of what was the property’s buttery back in the 1840s, all in the middle of this wild and remote-feeling landscape.

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Next morning, mum cooked some boiled eggs and toast with the provisions provided by our hosts, and I went out to play with Monty the dog, who had been insistently picking up and dropping his ball on our doormat for about five minutes. We had another look around the garden and chatted with Deb, who said she and Scott had moved there from NSW almost 20 years ago. They breed macaws, of all things, but fell in love with the property and decided to restore it, plant their amazing garden and set up the B and B in the cottage (I met two of the giant, stunning macaws who did seem a little out of place, but apparently rather like the climate). Deb was interested in our potential plans for relocation and it was clear from what she said that she and her family have not regretted making the move south.

So obviously I wasn’t thinking in blog mode and forgot to take photos of the actual cottage and the actual gardens. But there are some lovely pics here if you want to see what it looks like in all its glory. It’s a lovely place to stay!

Next: A few quick stops, then Bicheno