As the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. In the case of Balgownie Estate in Bendigo, this means 80 hectares of vineyards, sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and a whole lot of wine.
For more than half a century, Balgownie’s cellar door and adjacent homestead have been the site of countless weddings and conferences. It’s the oldest winery in Bendigo, but most of Balgownie’s daytime visitors stop in only for a wine tasting.
Fifteen new luxury tents on the property has changed that. Each of these glamping accommodations has its own private deck, with views of the vines or bushland.
Tents come in three sizes: the Bell Tent sleeps two, and costs $205 per night during the week and $235 on weekends; the Bell Tent Twin sleeps three, and costs $245 per night on weekdays, and $275 on weekends; and the Luxury Safari Tent sleeps four, costing $275 on weekdays and $305 on weekends.
All feature air-conditioning, mini bars, queen-sized beds (a four-poster version in the case of the Safari Tent) and some kitchen facilities. The Safari Tent also includes a couch, outdoor bath and an in-tent ensuite (the other tents have their own bathroom and shower facilities outside the room).
“How do I describe it?” says Balgownie Bendigo head chef Travel Rodwell. “It’s like a hotel, but in 80 hectares of vineyard. It’s really relaxing. Very peaceful.”
The estate’s restaurant is steps from each tent and is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a focus on dishes that match the estate’s wines, which are “very Rhône-based – so, shiraz and cabernet styles,” Rodwell says.
“The menu is provincial French,” he adds. “That’s my major background.” Rodwell spent time at Circa and Albert Park’s L’Oustal before opening his own French bistro, Bouchon, in Bendigo.
In March, Balgownie also launched seven luxury suites inside an old homestead, from $120 per night.
This article was updated on May 4, 2018.