Matilda Cottage, Gisborne South, Victoria – Accessibility Review

Macedon ranges – Victorian beauty

DATE: April 2017

VENUE: Matilda Cottage, South Gisborne

CONTACT: Marion 0408 103 808

PURPOSE: Country getaway for up to 4 people, dog friendly and some accessible features in a magnificent setting in the breathtaking Macedon Ranges.

SERVICE: rating 1-5 where 1 is ‘don’t bother’ and 5 is ‘gotta go back’  – Definitely 5

Gaz, Banjo and I had a lovely time in the very charming and relaxing Matilda Cottage on a recent 3 night rural break.

The Cottage is not specifically advertised as fully accessible at all. However as I am still able to transfer from chair and take steps to bed or other surface (aided) we were very happy to take the opportunity of a 3 day stay in this truly beautiful part of Victoria and were prepared for some compromises to the accessibility.

Our host, the  very accommodating Marion advertises Matilda Cottage as having wheelchair access which it has although access to the ramp involves a small step from the uneven ground. We used our small portable ramp and had no problems .

Our arrival into the pristine cottage found us with fresh bread, milk, coffee machine and pods, all the flavours of tea under the sun, various spreads and current tourist brochures from the Region and a greeting from the delightful Marion.

The beautiful gum tree filled grounds included a fully fenced yard for Banjo  and a delightful 2 sided  verandah from which we could catch views of the millions of twinkling lights of Melbourne at night.

Matilda Cottage Gisborne South

We happily found that the kitchen boasts roll under sink, and section of the bench and this cosy building was actually big enough for me to wheel around inside and just perfect at night to snug up in.

The bathroom is a renovated room with a cavity sliding door that is large enough for a wheelchair.

Although there are no grab rails I use my portable toilet frame over the existing toilet so this wasn’t an issue for us.

There was no roll under sink in the bathroom but that wasn’t too much of a problem with roll under kitchen sink at the perfect height.

The shower is a standard 600mm x 600mm step up and into which may not suit people who require a roll in flush surface. However Marion has made sure there is a shower chair available for those that need to sit. There is also a very well positioned centre drain hole on the bathroom floor to accommodate a “sponge bath” with a very well functioning heater overhead.

There is approximately 45cm clearance either side of the queen size bed .

With the opportunity to explore the Macedon Ranges, Hanging Rock , Gisborne and surrounds we loved our short time at Matilda Cottage.

VENUES: 3 Little Pigs, Hanging Rock, Baringo Food & Wine Co.

The town of Gisborne is very happily accessible with the majority of shop entrances being step free . The car parks seemed to be abundant and we parked the Kia in a park that , although too short for the extension of the rear ramp (as most access parking bays are) is longer than most and was in a position that meant we felt safe in extending over the side street.

Breakfast at 3 little pigs was so good the first time that we went back the next day. Very fresh food with a great Menu including homemade croissants and, excitingly, a flush entrance.

Behind the main street in Gisborne are a few paths around some beautiful terrain. While there is a lamentable lack of any mention of access we started at Dixon Reserve and roller walked around most of a circuit which I mostly found very easy in the power wheelchair until we hit the road so we doubled back.

We had a very elegant and tasty dining experience in New Gisborne at Baringo. The staff obviously have a great rapport and the service and associated small talk was very friendly and professional.

With easy access from the carpark to the entrance and a large and easily accessible rest room we had a very relaxed and enjoyable evening. I wish we had taken more photos than just the toilet; I do apologise but while this feature of any venue is SO important to those of us with mobility issues, Baringo is such a lovely, modern looking venue that it deserves to have more pictures. My excuse for having no external visuals is that it fairly bucketed down on the night, my excuse for inside is that I still feel a little conspicuous . So just check out the website gallery .

One day Gaz, Banjo and I spent at the mysterious and majestic Hanging Rock which boasts it’s own resident and (seemingly) human tolerant Kangaroo. Parking is on a gravel car park and was easy to find a spot that worked for rear access of the Kia. Although Hanging Rock was not busy at all I think parking would still be good.

The small museum was accessibly interesting with the main focus stories, rumours and films of the mystery that pervaded the Australian psyche after Joan Lindsay’s Picnic At Hanging Rock was published.

We were not able to roller walk up to the main part of the Rock as dogs were prohibited so we took an off road trip around the base. This trip was not without certain trepidation from me as I negotiated tree roots, ditches from Park Rangers vehicles and the odd small hill but was a great way to enjoy nature and stretch canine legs.

At such a short drive from Tullamarine and Melbourne I would recommend Victorias beautiful Macedon Ranges and the surrounding towns to anyone wishing to relax, enjoy and explore this beautiful part of Victoria. Or drop in on your way up north for a stop over.

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