Australia's New Sculpture Park is a Mesmerising Delight

Tony Cragg Luke | Anson Smart Photography Courtesy Pt. Leo Estate
Tony Cragg Luke | Anson Smart Photography Courtesy Pt. Leo Estate
Photo of Monique La Terra
28 October 2017

On October 25, 2017, billionaire John Gandel’s Pt. Leo Estate opened to the public for the very first time granting the south-east district of Victoria with a cultural and culinary oasis. Located on the southern-most tip of the Mornington Peninsula, the 134-hectare estate features a cellar door, 110-seat restaurant and a sculpture park.

Opened in tribute to the region, the $50 million Pt. Leo Estate brings together culinary director Phil Wood, sommelier Andrew Murch and a cluster of Australian and international artists.

Set against 50 acres of vines, the Sculpture Park is Australia’s largest privately owned collection featuring over 50 large-scale contemporary pieces including Clement Meadmore’s “Riff”, Tony Cragg’s “Luke”, Augustine Dall’ava’s “Cosmic Resonance”, Inge King’s “Grand Arch”, Peter Tilley’s “Dreams of ordinary people”, Michael Le Grand’s “Tsunami” and Deborah Halpern’s “Portal to Another Time and Place”. Curated by Geoffrey Edwards, former Senior Curator of International and Australian Sculpture at the National Gallery of Victoria, Pt. Leo is a visual feast of various media designed to evolve and develop into the future. Visitors are invited to download an interactive app created to guide and inform them through the park.

Deborah Halpern_Portal to another time and place | Anson Smart Photography Courtesy Pt. Leo Estate

Perched amidst the sculptures is Pt. Leo Restaurant, a modern bistro dedicated to showcasing simple, seasonal and regional cuisine. Enticed by the venture was Phil Wood who left his post as executive chef at Rockpool to lead the new restaurant as culinary director. The menu, curated with family and community in mind, includes delightfully innovative meals such as Dutch carrot soufflé, brown butter, and wild scampi roe; wood-roasted flathead with macadamia and seaweed; duck breast glazed in peninsula honey, lavender, celeriac, turnips, and rhubarb, apple & Chardonnay ice cream.

Smoked Flinders mussels, hand-made angel hair pasta | Anson Smart Photography Courtesy Pt. Leo Estate

Long before fine dining, Pt. Leo Estate was devoted to winemaking, and now for the first time, the Gandel family have opened their cellar door allowing the public to taste their cool-climate varieties alongside up to 100 Victorian labels and selected back-vintages. Renowned for their Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Gris, Pt. Leo encourages visitors to enjoy their offerings on the terrace or while meandering throughout the park.

“The estate is a celebration of life’s greatest pleasure – food, wine and art – and has the people of Victoria and Australia at its heart,” says John Gandel.

Pt. Leo Estate wine | Anson Smart Photography Courtesy Pt. Leo Estate

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