Vaucluse has always been a neighborhood for the wealthy. Wonderful yet outrageously expensive villas, lovingly restored from the colonial era, stand together and increase in cost as the beauty of the view and location increases too. To gain insight into the life of Sydney's former high society, visit the Vaucluse House, a villa surrounded by a landscaped garden and wooded grounds. It was built in 1803 in the Gothic Revival style, with small turrets and battlements that make it look more like a castle than a house.
The Vaucluse House once belonged to ex-convict Sir Thomas Henry Browne Hayes, who got shipped off to Australia for abducting a banker’s daughter and built this estate. It also once served as the residence of writer, explorer and politician William Charles Wentworth, who is known as the first person to climb the Blue Mountains and who restored this former cottage to the mansion it is today.
The house offers everything you’d expect from a manor home—antique furniture, an extensive drawing room, lots of bedrooms, staff quarters, stables and a huge garden. The gardens are often used for wedding receptions and are an ideal place for a stroll. On top of that, the Vaucluse House also serves as a teahouse, where visitors can settle for a refreshment and enjoy the tranquility.
The Vaucluse House is located about six miles (10 km) outside of downtown Sydney. Bus 325 runs from Circular Quay and stops right outside the front gate, but if you'd like to arrive by ferry to the Watson's Bay terminal, you'll find the mansion after an enjoyable 30-minute walk along the shoreline. The site is open Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the gardens can be visited around the clock.