First published on 4 Mar 2012. Updated on 21 Feb 2014.
As summer drifts into autumn, black coats go over summer frocks, and dark scowls protect favourite cosy café spots. Activities shift indoors – and the city’s galleries rejoice. But while the sun is still just struggling through the clouds, you can ease into your wintery culture fix without deserting the outdoors – and sneak in a final dreamy road trip on the way.
Sure, there’s indoor art (and a handy café) at McClelland – but why waste all that space? Point your motor at Frankston and then explore its grassier surrounds. Set on four acres, civilised sculptures decorate a picturesque lake at the front of the gallery. But it’s out the back that the majority of the 70 outdoor works either prowl or pounce on you, amidst a winding and wild bush setting. Kooky highlights include kinetic sculptures, and a tin shed – walk in, close the door, and see a galaxy of pin-prick stars lighting the darkness. Langwarrin.
Approaching Werribee Mansion’s stately home and rolling grounds, one feels as though one should be in a horse-drawn carriage. But a trot past the stables (and fancy restaurant) reveals dusty bush. Along the just-beaten track, dozens of pieces seem made for the landscape. Early on, an artistic plane wreck – next, a grove of speaker-topped poles play Australian birdcalls. And framing the view towards the Open Plains Zoo, a gigantic sculpture makes a cool interactive photo-op. Werribee South.
One of Melbourne’s oldest outdoor collections, this historic site has been cultivated by Heide’s creative brains since 1981. Take a picnic, or rely on local fish’n’chips, for a day out amongst the towering works. Visitors are not encouraged to climb aboard the shiny ‘Rings of Saturn’, but patting the corrugated iron ‘Cows’ is acceptable. Surrounded by the increasingly high-density northern suburbs, the hills and valleys of Heide provide a spectacular natural view – with some unnatural features. Bulleen.
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