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Members of the Donvale Hill Probus Club commenced their Yarra Valley experience immediately they left Melbourne on a self- drive tour.

The weather on that day was delightful and it highlighted the outstanding scenery that exists between Melbourne and our first destination, Rayners Orchard at Woori Yallock .

This is a family operated business which specialises in growing 450 varieties of stone fruit. During a group tractor ride around the orchard, all were able to sample direct from the trees some of the in season fruit and enjoy that taste sensation which is generally lacking when eating fruit purchased in our Supermarkets. 

Rayners have decided in the interest of quality, that the entire output of the orchard would  be marketed only by direct sales to tourists visiting the orchard, seasonal self-pick, web sales and at the regular Farmers weekend markets.

After a very informative tour, the Group enjoyed a country style luncheon which included a range of very tasty meat and or vegetable pies accompanied by a fresh salad. The extensive range of fruit and flavoured ice cream was quite a hit with our group.

After lunch, back onto the Warburton Highway and journey to the Blue Lotus Water Gardens, Yarra Junction. 

These gardens cover an area of 14 acres and are claimed to be one of the World's most spectacular floral displays of Lotus and Waterlily flowers. The tropical style gardens feature ornamental lakes walking trails and sculpture fountains.

On arrival the group received a briefing from Geoff Cochrane the owner of the Gardens on history and varieties of plant contained in the 30 specially constructed ponds. These feature thousands of plants consisting of imported plants such as giant Amazon Lily, the Crocodile Plant which is native of Asia and Northern Australia, and a very extensive collection of both tropical and sub- tropical waterlilies from around the world.

All then proceeded to further enjoy the beauty of the gardens at their leisure by exploring the numerous walking tracks and site facilities before finding their way home.

Special thank you to Ken for organising such a wonderful tour and the outstanding weather that was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone in the group.

 Bob Thornton