Prue and John Van de Linde were living in Box Hill in 1995 when they began their search for a country property to develop as a tourism venture. Prue was an Occupational Health and Safety Consultant and John a Landscaper contractor of 35 years’ experience.
After two years of searching all over Victoria for a property, they discovered the Yarra Valley. A run down horse stud, “the worst house in the best street” property beckoned to them and so the project began. With only five trees on 53 acres, they was plenty of scope to develop and build something interesting and unique. In 2008 they won the Gardening Australia, National Garden of the Year, which was a great thrill. In 2013. Alowyn also won the Tourism Ministers’ Encouragement Award for an up and coming tourism venture.
New to the tourism industry, and to the Yarra Valley, Prue and John joined the TNYV to meet other tourism operators from all parts of the industry, learn from their experience and start the steep learning curve. Many members provided great advice and ideas on how to develop Alowyn Gardens as a destination for tourists and to move forward in its development.
The gardens opened to the public at weekends and public holidays for a few years initially, then, wanting to make a lifestyle out of it, the gardens were then opened every day from 10.00am to 5.00pm. As a TNYV committee member, Prue is keen to assist others in the continuing development of this wonderful tourism area.