We offer Private Tours to visitors with our Group Visits program, and also to independent travellers through a private touring company.
Private Tours for Independent Travellers
Group Visit Program
Groups to Tarndie Heritage Sheep Farm will delve into a long standing Australian story about one family working one farm since 1840. Groups are guided through 3 elements of the story of historic “Tarndwarncoort”. The Family. The Homestead. The Sheep.
Emma and Alexander Dennis left their shrinking family farm in Cornwall, UK in 1839 on the advice of Emma’s ship captain brother that new farm lands were discovered in “Australia Felix”. They landed 615 Merino sheep at Point Henry in Geelong and found a suitable run at present day Tarndwarncoort by 1840. Here they began a dynasty of innovative farming that has seen boom and bust over 7 generations in 173 years. On the tour, visitors will learn how this pioneering family came to Australia, what they left behind and what happened around them as Victoria came to be. Presented in the 1860s Apple Store.
Recognised by the National Trust as one of Victoria’s oldest surviving homesteads, Tarndwarncoort is a story-book of change and development, with each generation of the Dennis family adding a chapter in the style and materials representative of the time. Today, visitors have run of the Homestead, but it is set out in a way that captures each generation that lived there. Visitors are given an introduction to the Homestead and then let loose to discover each nook and cranny.
The Dennis family business was based on sheep from the very outset. By 1840, Australia’s reputation as a good place to grow wool had started, and Merinos were the sheep of choice. However, the much wetter climate of the Otway Ranges didn’t suit the Merino and Dennis family decided to fix the poor quality wool they are getting by developing a new breed of sheep that could withstand the local environment. By 1880 they had perfected it and named it Polwarth, after the County it was from. This was Australia’s first sheep, bred to suit it’s environment and is now found in similar climates around the world. Today the members of the first, original flock still grow at Tarndwarncoort, and their wool is treasured by crafters all over. A Farmgate Woolshop sells processed yarns and tops made from wool off the very sheep on the farm.
- The Sheep – meet members of the Polwarth flock in the historic gardens and learn about their development in the Woolshop. Duration: 45 minutes
- The Sheep + The Family – meet a Polwarth in the gardens, entry to Woolshop, and see a presentation describing the Family’s story in the Apple Store. Duration: 1 hour 15 mins
- The Sheep + The Family + The Homestead – meet the Polwarths in the garden, visit the Woolshop, see a presentation bringing the Family to life, and then tour the interior of the Homestead. Duration: 1 hour 45 mins
|Tour Option||Admission||With morning / afternoon tea|
|2.||The Sheep + The Family||$8||$15|
|3.||The Sheep + The Family + The Homestead||$12||$19|
Call Tom or Megan on (03) 5233 6241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A $100 deposit is required for all bookings. The balance is payable on the day of the visit by cheque or cash. Cheques should be made to “Homestead Australia P/L”.
How many in a group?
Minimum of 20 guests.
Soak up the 1860s atmosphere in the Apple Store, or find a nook in the Courtyard to enjoy some country style hospitality.
Morning or afternoon tea: self-serve tea and coffee station, with fresh baked scones with house-made jams and cream.
Lunch: take advantage of the many dining options in nearby Colac, Birregurra, Winchelsea, Beeac and Forrest to suit a range of budgets.
Or for something truly special, speak to us about our 1870s inspired “Luncheon in the Dining Room”. Limited to 16 guests.
The Courtyard Kiosk serves locally roasted espresso coffee and a selection of slices – available separately to any Tour Option.
The Garden, Woolshop and Apple Store have good access for wheelchairs; however the Homestead interior does contain steps not suitable for wheelchair access.
Where is Tarndie?
Tarndie Heritage Sheep Farm is situated just off the A1 – Princes Highway between Colac and Winchelsea. It is 5 minutes from the historic Otway village, Birregurra. The address is 37 Roseneath Road, Warncoort (reached via Warncoort Cemetery Road). A map can be emailed with confirmation of booking.
Travel times (by coach)
|Melbourne (Southbank) – 1hr45||Colac – 10min||Birregurra – 5min||Queenscliff – 1hr15min||Warrnambool – 1hr30min|
|Geelong – 1 hr||Winchelsea – 15min||Ballarat – 1hr20min||12 Apostles – 1hr||Lorne – 40min|
What else to see in the area
Nature: Warncoort is located at the northern edge of the Otway Ranges, offering beautiful rainforest walks and waterfalls. Red Rock lookout across the volcanic plain
Heritage: Barwon Park Mansion, Winchelsea is open Wednesday and Sunday. Heritage Walk Birregurra.
Agritourism: Hastings Ostriches, Winchelsea offer a fascinating, up close look.
Gardens:. Botanic Gardens, Colac by Guilfoyle, plus a number of private gardens including one by Edna Walling. Country Dahlias, Winchelsea
Art/Craft: Red Rock Gallery, Cororooke. Main Street boutique shops, Birregurra.
Food/Wine: take at look at Otway Harvest Trail for a list of wineries, breweries and farm gate producers.
Tarndie Heritage Sheep Farm – “Tarndwarncoort”, 37 Roseneath Rd, Warncoort VIC 3243 – www.tarndie.com