Perhaps you enjoyed the Ruby Slipper on a Daylesford Adventure blog a week or so ago – and you’re wondering what yours truly and a gaggle of other Melbourne bloggers got up to in the countryside on our second day away from the big smoke. After chatting long into the night and resting our heads on the very fluffy pillows at Holly Lodge, I awoke in the morning raring to go for a walk. It was beautiful and sunny – the house was full of quietly snoring bloggers, so off I went.
Holly Lodge is but a brief walk to Wombat Hill Gardens, which was buzzing with bees feasting on flowers heavy with pollen.
I walked around Wombat Hill Gardens, and enjoyed the view down towards Holly Lodge and the rich countryside surrounds. Daylesford reminds me of the kind of place that Bilbo Baggins would feel comfortable visiting. You know, if he were a real character and not previously committed to holidaying in New Zealand.
After my walk, I drove only a few minutes into town and sat outside at famous Frangos & Frangos cafe restaurant. At night, Frangos & Frangos is pumping with hungry diners – you can have ripper pizza and mediterranean-inspired meals, and by day….
…bircher muesli with apple and banana is a good way to get the metabolism going! Frangos & Frangos was already full of tourists and locals at 9:00 am on a Sunday, and there was a large group of motorcyclists waiting for their coffee. It was buzzing, and wonderful to sit quietly overlooking the main Daylesford streetscape.
Perfectly peaceful, The Mineral Spa offers you the chance to bathe in local waters whilst overlooking amazing topiaried gardens. It really did feel as if I were on Lake Como and George Clooney was going to wander by in his terry-towelling robe. Modern and with a feeling of luxury, The Mineral Spa has a deck to enjoy with complimentary herbal teas and fruit on. Leeyong from Style Wilderness and I had a good natter here, before popping inside and having a go on a massage bed that helped to relax your back muscles prior to bathing.
Wild excitement at the prospect of luxuriating in the mineral-rich waters, with enthusiastic Wiggles hand movements to match.
I look forward to coming back here with Mr. Ruby Slipper next year! Such a treat and so relaxed after the cool plunge, hot mineral spa and session in their array of saunas.
To round off our weekend, we were invited to attend lunch at The Argus Dining Room, also located onsite at Peppers Hepburn Springs. After the previous day’s High Tea, we were all looking forward to something special.
Special indeed it was – sitting in a formal dining room with vistas onto the lush gardens, we were offered a tingly elderflower cool ‘toddy’, accompanied by sweet and salty beetroot chips prior to luncheon. Nom!
Decisions, decisions…. Sarah from Style Melbourne surveying the menu, which uses locally sourced produce and rare-breed meat reared by Chris and Wayne – owners of Peppers Hepburn Springs – at Birch Estate.
A savory custard elegantly served in an egg, atop black sesame seeds.
L-R: Leeyong of Style Wilderness, Sarah from Sarah’s Style Emporium, Sarah from Style Melbourne and Iolanthe from Ruby Slipper
My main meal was super-fresh John Dory, served with a middle-eastern inspired salad of chickpeas, tomato and cucumber. The foam was a flavoured yogurt, which gave texture and lightness to the salad. My dessert (I’m sorry – I snarfed it down before taking a photo) was the Holy Goat fromage frais – a refreshing berry concoction with violets, finished with goat’s milk ice cream. The Argus Dining room is an excellent choice for those interested in sampling the best of local produce, presented artfully. Click here for more details, seasonal menus and booking.
Our second night in Daylesford courtesy of DayGet was at accommodation just out of town called the Bunker. Aptly named, this eco-sustaino property is my dream home made real. Nestled amongst towering gums and native shrubs, the property is ultra modern and modular in design – close to the township of Daylesford yet offering a sense of amazing privacy. When I arrived and opened the Bunker’s giant glass sliding doors to survey the bushland, I instantly thought what a wonderful place it would be to have a couple’s getaway – or a writer’s retreat for a week!
The Bunker sleeps two or four – its two modular pods connected by a walkway.
Adjacent to the master suite is an outdoor entertaining area, where I sat with my book, a cool glass of Hepburn Springs Mineral water and the silence. Just the bellbirds tweeting, the soft sunlight toasting my feet and the swish swish of the gumleaves around me. This place is very special.
Simply fitted, the Bunker has little touches to make a weekend there extra-special and arthouse. I loved teeing up the turntable with the ample selection of classical greats including Die Fledermaus and Gershwin. Looking out onto the dry forest with no-one else in sight, Johann Strauss was a perfect accompaniament to all that wild nature in modern luxury. In winter, a little pot belly fire crackling in the background would be a welcome addition to an afternoon cooking in the amply-fitted kitchen.
My chic roomie, Leeyong from Style Wilderness
Thankyou to Ingrid from Spa Country for organising our wonderful weekend away, and to Chris and Wayne from Daylesford Getaways for their generosity. It was wonderful to experience two such different kinds of accommodation in one of my favorite country destinations. To book either Holly Lodge or the Bunker, click here for further details. For High Tea Under the Arches, The Mineral Spa or The Argus Dining Room, click here.