How does a couple of hours spent eating, shopping and wandering through lush green native plants sound? Kuranga Nursery, located in tranquil bushland at the base of Mt Dandenong, is equal parts cafe, gift shop and plant nursery all based around Australian products and produce.
When you arrive make your way to the Paperbark Cafe and, weather permitting, take a seat outside where you will enjoy views of the nursery and Olinda Creek. If you're visiting in cooler weather inside is cosy and spacious with noise levels tolerable. Make sure you stop and peek in the cake cabinet before you're seated as you simply cannot leave Kuranga without a sweet treat to finish off your meal.
The menu ranges from light fare - soup of the day with crusty sourdough - to those that are a little more filling - risotto of black tiger prawns, green peas, spinach with preserved finger lime and parmesan. Almost every meal comes with a delicious subtle Aussie twist - native bush relish, native lime caesar dressing, lemon myrtle syrup, bush honey to name a few.
You won't know where to look when you wander through the gift shop. Homewares, cards, bush spices, relishes, jams, honey, windchimes, body products, candles, pure essential oils, macadamia nut, gifts for children plus lots more can be found. A large range of native plant books and a selective of 'Aussie' bush cookery books are also available.Browsing through one of the books, I noticed the recipe for the yummy Lemon Myrtle Syrup cake I'd lovingly polished off in the cafe only moments before.
If plants are your thing head outside where you will stumble across native plants you never knew existed. With our temperamental weather and hot summers it makes sense to buy plants you know can survive in our local climate. Kuranga Nursery also has an array of stunning garden and patio ornaments and terracotta pots.
How to get there
118 York Road
Mount Evelyn VIC 3796
(03) 9760 8100
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Image © Suzanne Trew