Maze House is a new destination on the Midland Highway between Ballarat and Daylesford. Open to the public for just over a year the maze itself is 26 years old. Owners Trish and Chris built their house and designed and planted the maze with the intention of opening to the public someday, however they were enjoying their respective jobs, so the Maze House remained a private residence for years.

Trish and Chris are perfectly suited to owning and running the Maze House. As Trish explained, “I’m a forester by trade, so I can grow trees and Chris organised a lot of events with a background in hospitality.” The couple love gardening, as can be seen by the collection of fruit trees, deciduous plants, natives and veggie garden.

They opened just before Christmas 2016 having put o deadlines over the years. The maze didn’t need much additional work to get ready, other than to cut through a few new areas and tunnels. The main focus was the old-time carnival games. “It was a bit of work designing and getting people to build and install them,” said Trish. They have a selection of games including target practice (with a tennis ball), a horse-racing competition designed by Chris and a ten-pin bowling alley.

The maze is a clever arrangement of 10-foot cypress hedges, giving it a lovely aroma and making it very difficult to cheat! The dead ends have just enough curve to make an inviting direction come to an abrupt stop. The hedge was fully grown in about 7 years, requiring Chris and Trish to spend a lot of time over the years shaping and pruning.

Trish said, “We’re typically open 7 days in autumn and spring, but reduced hours in winter. Summer varies and we don’t open on really hot days. This is very weather- dependent. When it’s extremely hot or extremely cold, it’s not much fun, so autumn and spring are excellent times for us.” During winter the garden keeps them busy.

The aim is to be sustainable and minimise waste. They deliberately choose low-waste products when purchasing food for the café, recycle where they can and serve refreshments at the café. If customers prefer takeaway they’ll use mugs from op shops, which can be kept by their new owners, taken back to an op shop, or even returned to the Maze House.

Maze House is popular for kid’s parties and family reunions and is a great venue for weddings. The website has an invitation to hold a wake at the Maze House – it hasn’t yet been taken up, but it’s an event they would readily accept. Unfortunately, the hedges are very close together in places, making the maze inaccessible for wheelchairs, large strollers and prams. They do have several small strollers available for free use, and the café and the majority of the grounds are accessible. www.mazehouse.com.au