Iandra Castle, Greenthorpe

Castle !!!!!! In Australia ?????

When it  comes to visiting castles, Australia isn’t at the top of your list, in fact, Oz shouldn’t be on your list at all.  But surprise, they do have a few castles to show off.  They may not be as big or medieval as the ones in the United Kingdom, but for the budget-savvy residents, here’s one that is situated just a couple of hours drive from Sydney.

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Iandra Castle or ‘Mount Oriel – Homestead and Pastoral Estate’ as it is originally called, is located at Greenthorpe in New South Wales.  it is a good 4.5 hour drive from Sydney via Blue Mountains, Bathurst and Cowra.

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Iandra Castle was established by George Henry Greene from 1878-1911 and is modeled on the English Manor System.  It is situated on one of the most picturesque countryside NSW has to offer.

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The Homestead was amazing and set on such a beautiful parcel of land.  Fantastic views from the balcony overlooking well manicured gardens and and endless yellow carpet of canola flowers.

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Pay a $10pp fee and you step inside a plethora of rooms with antique furniture and fittings.  You will lose count of the number of bedrooms (15 I guess), fall in love with the garden, be amazed with the facilities they had in the 1900s and be jealous with the panoramic view of the landscapes that the owners get to enjoy.

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Read more about the castle and its history at “http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5051843”

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I suggest that visitors check the website before planning a visit, as the castle is not opened all times.  Important thing to note is that the castle is privately owned and is not government funded, hence the entry fee.

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Grab a blanket and your picnic baskets, start early, enjoy a day at the grounds of Iandra Castle and its surrounding Canola fields.

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Cowra Japanese Garden

The Japanese garden at Cowra is steeped in history and has a special significance to the Japanese, which is clearly evident from the architecture and the design of the garden.  Its dates back to August 1944, when around 231 Japanese soldiers died when nearly a thousand Japanese prisoners of war broke out from the prison camp.  The soldiers were buried nearby and as a mutual respect, a garden arose as a symbolic representation of that dark day.

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It was opened in 1979 and the Garden’s designer, Ken Nakajima described it as the best Japanese garden outside Japan.

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Features include a bonsai garden, a traditional cottage, Bonsho bell to name a few.  The most striking feature is its serene atmosphere and well maintained gardens with all flora and fauna representing all things Japanese.

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There are audio tours at various places and a map is also available with details of the plants and trees.  You can also pay a visit to the Australian War Museum nearby.

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