RPM Fifth Chapter Gardens and Winery

08 October 2017 / Story by Donelle Wilton-Smith Photos by Vicki Legge and Jacqui Quester

23rd September 2017

On a hot summer’s day, in early spring (a record breaking day – temperature wise across the state) fifteen MX-5s and a pretty 1964 Sunbeam Alpine met up at the Peppercorn Café in Mulgoa. After a caffeine hit, we were off heading south to the Southern Highlands.  

We were led admirably once again by Lesa, who was then followed by our organiser, Glen, running number 2 in the pack in his lovely red NB.  Onto Silverdale Road and pass the camels, we headed for Picton for our first pit stop. Here we picked up our Camden couple, John and Francis Moulder in their gorgeous original green and tan NA.

It was also a chance to have a closer look at the Sunbeam Alpine.  Owner, John told us he qualified for the run as his highly modified Alpine has MX-5 seats! What more could we say?  Well, plenty actually, after he opened the bonnet to reveal a Datsun engine which is hooked up to a 5 speed box.  John reckons it goes so well, it can keep up with the V8 Sunbeam Tigers. I so much wanted to take home that green Sunbeam Tiger in the Gosford Classic Car Museum when we were there.  Rumours have it though, we may also see John in an MX-5 sometime. Here’s hoping.

So onward south, through the beautiful, twisty roads with stunning views across the Highlands with their black painted fences or stonewalls under construction.

Next stop was Fitzroy Falls Reservoir. A great place to bring out the thermos and stock up on coffee and cake (at last said Fletch!) whilst enjoying the company of our RPM friends. This was a leisurely stop as the lunch venue had doubled booked us and lunch had been put back to 2.00pm.  It is such a picturesque coffee stop with great facilities.

After Fletch had had enough cake, we were back on the road for our drive to the Fifth Estate Winery and Gardens in Avoca. No wine tasting nor sales available at this time but for a small charitable fee (for the Garvan Institute) we had entry to the impressive gardens. There was oodles of time to spend enjoying the gardens, which were blossoming in early spring. Cherry blossom trees, tulips, bulbs, rannuculi and more were all coming out. The property was surrounded by vines, with a lovely lake, stunning topiary and Japanese gardens too.

After a team photograph we were back in our cars to make our way to lunch at the Eling Winery and Café at Sutton Forest. A nice lunch was had by all, with a few sampling a bottle of the Winery’s best over lunch.  A great fun day was coming to an end. It was time to do our own thing and wander up the highway and home.

Many thanks to Glen for organising such a wonderful run to the cooler climes of the Southern Highlands, when Penrith was a scorching 39 degrees. Thanks to Lesa, who knows those roads so well and did such a great job of leading, without Greg by her side. And finally thanks to Mazda for giving us such great air conditioning, that meant we could still keep cool with the hood down in such a hot day.