Living most of our lives in the countryside, it seemed like a natural progression to move back to the peace and tranquillity that we craved. We wanted some land that was far enough away from town to have a peaceful, country vibe, but within easy driving distance from Geelong and Melbourne. Our vision was to create a farm experience, similar to Neil’s childhood roots, back in the early days in Pennyroyal, growing berries. A place where people could come with their families and enjoy a day away from it all. Reconnecting with nature and enjoying the fresh air and wide open spaces.
Driving onto a flat 30-acre piece of land in Teesdale, we were immediately drawn to the stunning, towering river red gum trees, one which we were told later, was over 500 years old. We knew that this was it. It was the perfect place to begin again. In 2000 we purchased the land and so Summer Sensations was born.
We started small, just planting a few raspberry and boysenberry canes, building the barn (which now houses the café) and eventually our home. Our farm experience vision included providing our visitors with warm country hospitality and handmade foods made on the premises. We started making our own jams and desserts sauces using Neil’s mothers’ 100-year-old recipes. They have proved to be very popular and over the years we’ve expanded our range and built a strong following of loyal customers.
Recently we decided to add to the farm experience with a beautiful mini golf course, all built by hand, by Neil and his friend Sam. There are two courses, an 18-hole course with plenty of challenging holes and fun to be had and a 9-hole disability course as well. Diane planned and chose all the plants for the massive garden and tirelessly planted the hundreds of plants with some help from family and friends along the way, and now lovingly tends to them. The garden has grown so much and is a beautiful part of our mini golf course and a credit to us both. It shows both passion and self belief.
14 years later, after opening the café and farm to the public, we are amazed and humbled at what we’ve achieved. The many happy families who’ve travelled from near and far to enjoy the experiences that we’ve created is truly rewarding. The world and the industry is changing around us, and one of the keys to our success is to continue to move with the times and give our customers new products and new experiences all with the same warm, country hospitality that we pride ourselves on.