Rivers of Yarrambat

Published on 20 March 2018

Rivers lake and buildings

In 1981, landscape architect Ian Moad and his teacher wife Merilyn merged their talents to form what would become one of The Artisan Hills’ most visited spots. “My parents grew their own plants and they sold them in a very humble shed on the property,” says Karen Moad, seven year Rivers of Yarrambat managing director. “It was a very small beginning in a paddock.”

A lot has changed. Today, Rivers of Yarrambat is a destination centre that combines retail, hospitality, health and wellbeing. It is managed mostly by Karen, in charge since 2009, and her team, which includes husband Matt, head chef at the on-site café. It remains a strong family concern. “My parents retired in 2009 but they’re still interested in the business,” says Karen. “They both sit on the board and have an input into what we’re doing. My brother, David, is also in the business, with his focus mainly the garden centre.”

With more than 80 staff and a diverse offering, Rivers of Yarrambat’s widespread appeal is no surprise. “We have a great local following, which is fantastic. We very much support our local community and they support us,” says Karen.

“On the flip side, because we’re a destination centre, a lot of people come for a half or full-day trip, all the way from the Dandenongs, the Mornington Peninsula, the Yarra Valley and beyond. They’ll come and have a massage in the day spa, a glass of wine with lunch and make it a part of a destination experience.”

Karen makes sure to promote to ‘out-of-towners’ the quality products available in The Artisan Hills. “It’s about working with local suppliers, whether it be for produce that comes and goes into the café or local growers of plants. We sell small local products in our gift shop; local businesses forever ebb and flow in and out of our own business.”

“I have a lot of time for our smaller suppliers, like the lady from Top Hundred Acres eggs who supplies us with 10-15 boxes each week; it’s a tiny supply, but a really quality product. There’s something gorgeous about that. Another local supplier we proudly stock is Apted’s Orchards, from Strathewen, one of the largest apple and pear producers in Victoria.”

For Karen, these strong, supportive business relationships make living and working in The Artisan Hills such a rewarding experience. “There are lots of rural elements to our region, but at the same time we’re on the fringe of the suburbs. It’s a fabulous area, a great local community and a beautiful space to do business and call home.”


Rivers of Yarrambat, 28 Kurrak Road, Yarrambat
9436 3200