News By Tag
News By Location
Ex dancer opens private arboretum in Perth hills
Former dancer Tristan Nottle and his wife Sonja have been working towards the opening of a Pilates studio, forest chalet and extensive arboretum in the Perth Hills for over eight years.
The Belara Springs property was a mixture of natural bushland and old horse pastures when Tristan Nottle purchased it nearly a decade ago. Tristan’s first priority was to ensure the preservation of the bush land to promote habitat for local wildlife. His second task was to transform the 10 acres of old horse pastures into an arboretum, a botanical garden of rare and unusual trees. These range from the majestic cedars of Lebanon to the stone pine (for pines nuts), to the kaori, ginko and the wollemi pine which were in their prime when dinosaurs roamed the Earth to the towering awe of the sequoias. This property includes the tallest, biggest and fattest of all tree species, albeit at the beginning of their 3000 year journey.
Due to Bickley Valley’s unique cool, wet microclimate, Belara Springs is fortunate enough to have a collection of stunning deciduous trees. These include, 5 different species of oak, ashes, maples, taxodiums, poplars, dawn redwoods and tulip trees to list but a few.
It’s been a labour of love for Tristan, getting up at 3.00am each week during the summer months for years to hand water the extensive range of trees being established on the 18-acre property in Bickley Valley. In the early days, Tristan would water 18 hours each weekend to get the trees established and often take buckets of water to them in the middle of the night after he had finished work.
Speaking to Tristan, it becomes apparent that his first love is for the natural environment. “We don’t consider ourselves the ‘owners’ of Belara Springs. We consider ourselves the custodians of this land. We’re here to take care of it, rehabilitate it and make it somewhere special for people to feel truly inspired. We want to share this place, let people discover the magic of trees and acknowledge the unique beauty of this part of the world.”
The history of the property and surrounds tells a diverse and interesting story. Over 100 years ago, the majority of Bickley Valley was felled for the valuable jarrah timber used to build the fledgling city of Perth. Remnants of a local train line can be found on the property which was used in the logging days servicing Mason Mill. Following that, the area was once a market garden farmed by Chinese-Australians which shipped produce to the Goldfields. In addition, a significant Aboriginal site is hidden in the local forest.
About the Pilates Studio
After many years of ballet training, Tristan danced with a range of companies across Australia including the NSW Ballet Company and the Australian Opera Ballet. He began teaching Pilates 14 years ago after sustaining an extensive injury early in his dance career. He used Pilates to recover from his injury which led to his passion for anatomy and the Pilates technique. After working at top Pilates studios in both Perth and Sydney and successfully treating patients in conjunction with physiotherapists, in September 2011 Tristan has opened his own studio on his picturesque Bickley property.
Tristan encourages his clients to leave their day behind and take some time to focus on themselves. His philosophy is simple: to slow down and enjoy the moment. After their workout, clients are encouraged to stay for a hot drink and stroll through the beautiful grounds to enjoy the bush land or walk through the arboretum.
About the forest chalet
The Pilates Studio is complemented by a striking forest chalet available for weekend guests, which was built and designed by Tristan. The two storey chalet has a full gourmet kitchen, luxury bed and linen and a large bath overlooking sumptuous gardens and bush land. Forest chalet guests can expect a complimentary bottle of methode champenoise sparkling wine from award winning local winery Myattsfield on arrival and a spa pamper pack filled with natural products to help them relax and unwind. Guests have the freedom to enjoy the 18 acres of native forest and arboretum and will also be able to pick seasonal fruit from their own private orchard.
The Pilates studio is open from Monday through to Thursday, from 6.00am to 8.00pm and the forest chalet is available from Friday through to Sunday.
About Bickley Valley
Belara Springs is situated in the beautiful Bickley Valley, 35 minutes east of Perth. Experience the magic of rolling hills, native forest, wineries and fabulous eateries. With over nine vineyards within 3kms, close to the world famous Bibbulmun, Kep and Munda Biddi tracks, and with the Kalamunda markets and local farmers market nearby, Bickley Valley offers a range of activities and experiences.
Spend some time in the local area and discover the taste of award winning wines from Myattsfield vineyard, enjoy a sumptuous lunch at The Core cider house or you can even undertake a furniture making course through Erasmus Designs, a local furniture designer. There is so much to do in this wonderful part of the world.