Bridestowe Estate is the largest privately-owned lavender farm in the world. Sweeping rows of lavender plants curve gently into the distance as the scent envelopes admirers. Fellow campers recommended taking the detour from Scottsdale to visit Bridestowe, and its beauty, charm and uniqueness were well worth the drive.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
An English family moved to the area in 1921, bringing French lavender seeds which grew very well in the Tasmanian soil and climate.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
Bridestowe Estate stretches for 260 acres below Mount Arthur in Tasmania's northeast.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
These plants will be harvested in late January, so this is the peak time to admire the blossoms.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
The total length of the plants rows is about 200 kilometres and contain approximately 650,000 plants. Each winter, 70,000 new cuttings from Bridestowe rootstock are planted. It takes four years for a cutting to reach maturity.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
No irrigation is used on the estate. The plants rely on the region's natural rainfall, which is up to 900mm a year.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
The whole estate is immaculately landscaped for visitors' pleasure.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
A café operates on the site and tables are dotted around the buildings, providing a beautiful setting for a picnic.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
After the flower heads and stalks are harvested, they are are packed into canisters and taken to the distillery.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
In the distillery, the canisters are lowered into a still where steam passes through the plants, releasing the lavender oil in less than 20 minutes. Three litres of pure oil is extracted from 300 of cut flowers.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
Guinea fowl wander around the immaculately landscaped grounds.

Bridestowe Lavender Estate, Lilydale, Tasmania, December 2012
A gift shop sells locally produced oils as well as a wide range of *anything* in shades of purple!

Calista smelling a lavender flower at Bridestowe Estate, December 2012
As we wander around the grounds, the scent of the plants is not over-bearing. Workers in the gift shop say that when the distillery is in action, even their desensitised noses are overwhelmed with the smell.

I love flowers on a grand scale, and we may never see more lavender plants together than at Bridestowe. I’m interested enough to return to visit the farm when they are harvesting the flowers and distilling the oil, and we’ll see if our future itinerary allows that. In the meantime, we take away the memory of lavender rows that reach to the hills and the scent of purple.