We decided that we would like to buy a property where we could run a bed and breakfast and open our gardens to the public. We were both around 50 years of age and ready to slow down a little.
Water would be crucial to our plans of having large gardens. A block on a river or permanent creek would be best.
We wanted to stay in the Bendigo area. This limited our chances of finding a block that would suit us. Bendigo has no real permanent flowing creeks. The Loddon river is around 35 kilometres to the west and the Campaspe river is around 20 kilometres to the east.
We looked at several properties but nothing suited what we wanted to do.
Finally, we found an over-priced property on the Goornong road at Axedale. The property was 20 acres, zoned Rural Living and had frontage to the Campaspe river. The house, although only 20 years old, needed heaps of work. It was just too expensive for what it was. In our opinion they were asking around $200,000 more than the property was worth.
We expressed our concerns to the real-estate agent by saying that we would be better off buying a block across the river and building a new home. He responded that everyone says something like that but they never do it. Anyway, you can't build on them across the river because they are under 100 acres in size. We responded that we were not just everyone and that we did what we said. We still did deals on a handshake.
Three adjoining river frontage blocks were available for purchase in the Farming Zone at Axedale in the City of Greater Bendigo.
These three blocks were across the river from the over-priced property we had previously looked at.
All three blocks were under 100 acres in size which presented a problem. In the Farming Zone, residents are not permitted to build a house on a block that is under 100 acres in size.
The City of Greater Bendigo reasoning is that they want good farmland to be farmed. They do not want it used as a lifestyle block with a home, swimming pool, two ponies and no real farming happening.
To comply with the City of Greater Bendigo terms, along with our sister and brother-in-law, we purchased all three blocks between us and subdivided them back into two blocks of 133 acres each.
We commenced farming Boer goats.
A road that was over 1 kilometre in length was built from Brownes Lane to our chosen building envelope overlooking the Campaspe river.
The building envelope was leveled to around a 2 acre area.
Building of the home and Bed and Breakfast commenced.
After several ongoing disputes with the building company which caused several unnecessary delays, we moved in in April.
The building company closed their doors shortly thereafter.
We opened our bed and breakfast.
We started work on our gardens and landscaping the block.
At Easter we opened our gardens to the public for the first time. We also opened our gardens for the four following weekends. It was a great success. Over 80 people visited each weekend.
The gardens closed for winter and will reopen in October.