Planetrees Lodge, Stanley – Australia


PlaneTrees Lodge, Stanley, 8 kilometres from Beechworth.

The setting

PlaneTrees Lodge is set back from the road amid a beautiful rambling garden on 2 hectares. The Tuscany inspired self-contained retreat has a eucalypt state forest as a backdrop. The plane tree drive inspired the name.

The space

Retired architect Genevieve Milham has spent five years restoring the two storey four-bedroom lodge and creating the magnificent garden.Thirty years of travelling has influenced her ambitious plans with European influences.

Generous living and dining areas, shady verandahs and a covered patio plus four bedrooms and two bathrooms make it perfect for group gatherings. There are quality fold out beds and extra rooms in Genevieve’s nearby farm house, if the numbers swell.

The rustic lodge features log and earth walls and quirky touches such as handmade black wattle branch bedside tables.

The kit

Quality bedding, all-cotton linen, large bath towels and monogramed cotton dressing gowns feature in the cosy yet spacious lodge.

As well as air conditioning and heating there’s a wood heater to ward off any chills.

Masterchef wannabes will be happy in the fully equipped kitchen and don’t be surprised to find Genevieve’s offerings from her impressive vegie garden left at the back door. There’s a barbecue and al fresco dining among the vines is great for a lazy lunch. Huge weeping mulberry trees are perfect for hide and seek and there are swings in the peppermint gum. There’s also a bocce court for big kids.

Zsa Zsa, a cute mini dachshund occasionally wanders by to say hello.

Comfort factor

City stress melts away as you sit in the garden serenaded by tinkling fountains or fall asleep in the hammock.

Attention to detail is everywhere as well as quality furnishings and decor.

The nearby recreation reserve has a large children’s playground and tennis courts and there are beautiful Landcare walking paths within five minutes.  The garden is a spectacle year round with 3000 tulips flowering in spring and a riot of colour in summer.

The unique 16m natural swimming pond set within a lily covered lake, is perfect for a dip.

Star gazers will enjoy an astronomy fix looking at the dark skies with bright stars and full moons.

The food

A breakfast hamper with three types of cereal, bread, eggs, milk, butter, ground coffee, jams and honey is provided for the first morning.

The iconic Stanley Pub, just a short walk away is renowned for its French bistro where we dined on twice baked Milawa chevre souffle, followed by Poussin with witlof, Milawa chevre and Mt Buffalo hazelnuts and a finale of

Stanley apple tarte tatin that was sensational.

In-house dining can be organised and for a special dinner you can book your own chef. Picnic hampers can be requested.

We enjoyed a catered dinner under the18m long rose-covered pergola at the main house.

Worth stepping out for

November and December is berry picking time in the area and they are in abundance – just add the cream.

Plantrees is a great base for a winery hop including Pennyweight Vineyard, and Amulet Wines and try a good brew at Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth. There are excellent cafes and restaurants in Beechworth such as Michael Ryan’s Provenance that won Regional Wine List of the Year in The Age Good Food Guide 2014 and collected two hats.

For a day out head up to Mount Buffalo for a picnic, walk, rock climbing and watching sky divers enjoy a bird’s eye view of the region.

Head out on the Rail Trail for a great day of family fun – downhill recommended.

Chances are you will just want to lie low and enjoy all Planetree’s surrounds – Stanley’s answer to Tuscany.

The verdict

Chic chill out zone for couples and families.

Getting there

Stanley is 8 kilometres from Beechworth which is a three hour drive from Melbourne on the Hume Freeway. Turn off at Wangaratta to Beechworth then continue to Stanley.


Planetrees Lodge, 819 Stanley Road Stanley accommodates up to 10 people, at weekends there’s a 2 night minimum booking – $420 for 4 people per night, $680 for 8 people per night – breakfast hamper included. Bookings 03 5728 6589. See

Small well-behaved dogs are welcome too.

Sue Wallace
© Copyright The Finer Things