Great Escapes

Story in Lifestyle section of Marie Clare

If the past few months have proved anything, it’s that there’s no place like home. The land of Oz is exactly where we want to be right now, and as the country reopens after lockdown, we’re excited to see a little more of it. This month, we’re gathering the friends and family we’ve been missing, and road-tripping to next-level holiday houses, such as Dairy Flat Farm & Lodge, Victoria.

Dairy Flat Farm & Lodge, Musk, Vic

This working farm is the brainchild of the team behind Victorian destination-dining institution the Lake House. Set among rolling hills, vegetable gardens, vineyards, olive groves and orchards, it feels totally removed from city life, even though it’s only a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. The Lodge is like a real-life storybook, where geese wander garden paths, flowers are freshly cut, and supermarket spit guards are far away. There is accommodation for up to 12 guests and an in-house cellar so you don’t go thirsty (guests are treated to a bottle of wine in their room each day). The kitchen garden is an abundant source of produce for the award-winning restaurant at sister property the Lake House, which is known for its hyper-seasonal menu. On site there’s also a bakehouse, which produces slow-fermented sourdough treats for guests to graze on throughout the day. Visit dairyflatfarmdaylesford.com.au

 

 

Story in Lifestyle section of Marie Clare

If the past few months have proved anything, it’s that there’s no place like home. The land of Oz is exactly where we want to be right now, and as the country reopens after lockdown, we’re excited to see a little more of it. This month, we’re gathering the friends and family we’ve been missing, and road-tripping to next-level holiday houses, such as Dairy Flat Farm & Lodge, Victoria.

Dairy Flat Farm & Lodge, Musk, Vic

This working farm is the brainchild of the team behind Victorian destination-dining institution the Lake House. Set among rolling hills, vegetable gardens, vineyards, olive groves and orchards, it feels totally removed from city life, even though it’s only a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. The Lodge is like a real-life storybook, where geese wander garden paths, flowers are freshly cut, and supermarket spit guards are far away. There is accommodation for up to 12 guests and an in-house cellar so you don’t go thirsty (guests are treated to a bottle of wine in their room each day). The kitchen garden is an abundant source of produce for the award-winning restaurant at sister property the Lake House, which is known for its hyper-seasonal menu. On site there’s also a bakehouse, which produces slow-fermented sourdough treats for guests to graze on throughout the day. Visit dairyflatfarmdaylesford.com.au

 

 

Make your great escape to Dairy Flat Farm, Melbourne

Story by Gemima Cody

Of all the wild conspiracies dreamt up to account for 2020, it’s surprising the good old wrath of god hasn’t had more airtime. Regional Victorian businesses faced drought, then bushfires and then a pandemic/plague. You’d forgive anyone watching their back for signs of locust swarms. But hopefully their luck is about to change.

Overnight stays are back on the cards, and our desire to help regional businesses intersects very neatly with our need to eat, drink and sleep anywhere but our homes. I would rent a windy barn at this point. But you can do better. Much better.

The week before the world swung off its axis, I was hosted at Dairy Flat Farm. The ambitious project has been years in the making by the Wolf-Tasker family, founders of Daylesford’s game-changing regional restaurant the Lake House. It’s a 38-hectare regenerative farm, replete with vineyards, orchards, a bakery and a luxury lodge. It had just launched when the summer bushfires saw tourists flee.

But if timing was initially against Dairy Flat Farm, lockdown has almost perfectly groomed us for the experience. Industry veteran Alla Wolf-Tasker has sung the song of sustainable, local, quality produce for decades. She climbed the mountain in Daylesford with the Lake House on a wing, a prayer, and a lake of sweat and tears. Dairy Flat, at Musk, about 10 minutes from Daylesford, was created by the same team, as well as daughter Larissa and partner Rob Wilson, taking the sustainable vision further with a fully immersing agriturismo experience.

You can tend bees, learn horticulture, or participate in the entire planet’s new hobby: sourdough baking with lessons in the onsite bakery with co-founder and former Tivoli Road king, Michael James. The converted cellar that is now the bakery is connected to the main lodge via a service tunnel. It has views across a gravel terrace, rolling vines and an Alice in Wonderland hedge maze. Imagine pummelling dough here instead of destroying your kitchen watching Youtube.

Before breakfast, you can grab fresh pastries and coffee from the bakery and take a wander through the cutting gardens (for blooms). Too lazy to walk? Electric bikes will slingshot you to local cideries or to pick up smallgoods from local hero, Istra.

An honesty bar is stacked with spirits from local makers like Starward whisky and X gin. A live-in concierge, Lucinda Tindal (who you might recognise from the floors of Coda restaurant or the late Town Mouse), can make them into cocktails for aperitivo hour.

No question, this is a high thread-count experience, which extends to deep beds, deeper baths, and a house packed with Allan Wolf-Tasker landscapes (Alla’s husband is a painter), Fran Pidgeon Illustrations and earthy farmhouse tables by Greg Stirling. A shuttle service is available to take you to dinner or lunch at the Lake House, but the mission here is much more than a mere stay.

In the two hectares of gardens, hoop houses and greenhouses, they are cultivating heirloom fruit and vegetables destined for the two hat Lake House restaurant, and also sold through a farm shop and at Wombat Hill in Daylesford. The baking lessons – once restrictions lift to allow groups or non-guests to congregate – will be open to all.

The Wolf-Taskers created this experience to inspire and engage, but also drive home, in the most demonstrable way possible, the message that the loss of a meaningful connection with our food supply, and the mass industrialisation of crafts such as baking would have consequences for us all. This past two months has neatly underscored the point.

Whether you’re in desperate need of a great escape or have learnt how much you need to connect to food sources and get your hands dirty, this is the place. Run. You’re free.

The writer was a guest of Dairy Flat Farm and Lodge.

The lowdown
Where 238 Dairy Flat Road, Musk, 03 5348 3329, dairyflatfarmdaylesford.com.au
Cost Exclusive use of the lodge by groups up to 12 from $3990 per night. Couples from $665 per night when restrictions lift. Includes concierge, breakfast, bakery goods, farm produce, a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks and facilities including telescope and spa. Classes are also available.

Pro tip The dream kitchen is yours. Bring empty Eskies and support local producers.

Story by Gemima Cody

Of all the wild conspiracies dreamt up to account for 2020, it’s surprising the good old wrath of god hasn’t had more airtime. Regional Victorian businesses faced drought, then bushfires and then a pandemic/plague. You’d forgive anyone watching their back for signs of locust swarms. But hopefully their luck is about to change.

Overnight stays are back on the cards, and our desire to help regional businesses intersects very neatly with our need to eat, drink and sleep anywhere but our homes. I would rent a windy barn at this point. But you can do better. Much better.

The week before the world swung off its axis, I was hosted at Dairy Flat Farm. The ambitious project has been years in the making by the Wolf-Tasker family, founders of Daylesford’s game-changing regional restaurant the Lake House. It’s a 38-hectare regenerative farm, replete with vineyards, orchards, a bakery and a luxury lodge. It had just launched when the summer bushfires saw tourists flee.

But if timing was initially against Dairy Flat Farm, lockdown has almost perfectly groomed us for the experience. Industry veteran Alla Wolf-Tasker has sung the song of sustainable, local, quality produce for decades. She climbed the mountain in Daylesford with the Lake House on a wing, a prayer, and a lake of sweat and tears. Dairy Flat, at Musk, about 10 minutes from Daylesford, was created by the same team, as well as daughter Larissa and partner Rob Wilson, taking the sustainable vision further with a fully immersing agriturismo experience.

You can tend bees, learn horticulture, or participate in the entire planet’s new hobby: sourdough baking with lessons in the onsite bakery with co-founder and former Tivoli Road king, Michael James. The converted cellar that is now the bakery is connected to the main lodge via a service tunnel. It has views across a gravel terrace, rolling vines and an Alice in Wonderland hedge maze. Imagine pummelling dough here instead of destroying your kitchen watching Youtube.

Before breakfast, you can grab fresh pastries and coffee from the bakery and take a wander through the cutting gardens (for blooms). Too lazy to walk? Electric bikes will slingshot you to local cideries or to pick up smallgoods from local hero, Istra.

An honesty bar is stacked with spirits from local makers like Starward whisky and X gin. A live-in concierge, Lucinda Tindal (who you might recognise from the floors of Coda restaurant or the late Town Mouse), can make them into cocktails for aperitivo hour.

No question, this is a high thread-count experience, which extends to deep beds, deeper baths, and a house packed with Allan Wolf-Tasker landscapes (Alla’s husband is a painter), Fran Pidgeon Illustrations and earthy farmhouse tables by Greg Stirling. A shuttle service is available to take you to dinner or lunch at the Lake House, but the mission here is much more than a mere stay.

In the two hectares of gardens, hoop houses and greenhouses, they are cultivating heirloom fruit and vegetables destined for the two hat Lake House restaurant, and also sold through a farm shop and at Wombat Hill in Daylesford. The baking lessons – once restrictions lift to allow groups or non-guests to congregate – will be open to all.

The Wolf-Taskers created this experience to inspire and engage, but also drive home, in the most demonstrable way possible, the message that the loss of a meaningful connection with our food supply, and the mass industrialisation of crafts such as baking would have consequences for us all. This past two months has neatly underscored the point.

Whether you’re in desperate need of a great escape or have learnt how much you need to connect to food sources and get your hands dirty, this is the place. Run. You’re free.

The writer was a guest of Dairy Flat Farm and Lodge.

The lowdown
Where 238 Dairy Flat Road, Musk, 03 5348 3329, dairyflatfarmdaylesford.com.au
Cost Exclusive use of the lodge by groups up to 12 from $3990 per night. Couples from $665 per night when restrictions lift. Includes concierge, breakfast, bakery goods, farm produce, a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks and facilities including telescope and spa. Classes are also available.

Pro tip The dream kitchen is yours. Bring empty Eskies and support local producers.

First Country Getaway - Dairy Flat Farm, Daylesford, Victoria

Story by Alexandra Carlton

This new retreat perfectly pairs coming together with getting away.

“Gatherings. They’ve always been important but now the word has a special poignancy,” says the legendary Alla Wolf-Tasker, co-owner of Dairy Flat Farm, the brand-new but old-souled luxury lodge and sister property to the Lake House restaurant, hotel and spa in Daylesford. “Starved as we’ve been of close contact and the opportunity for celebration with friends and family, the specialness of being able to ‘gather your tribe’ shall never again be lost on us.”

Dairy Flat Farm, less than 10 kilometres from Lake House and a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, was designed with the warm art of gathering at its heart. The central Lodge consists of six luxury suites, each with an ensuite, plus there’s a reading room, lounge and sitting areas, dining space and kitchen. It can be booked exclusively for one group or smaller groups (including couples) can make a reservation within six weeks
of their preferred date.

Outside, on the 15 hectares of sprawling grounds, you’ll find a manicured formal garden, fruit and vegetable plantings, olive grove, vineyard and orchard, perfect for hiding and exploring, as well as the Bake House, producing fresh sourdough daily. And beyond the property there are quiet country lanes for rambling on foot, picnic basket swinging, or using the property’s electric bikes.

Wake each morning as the birds break into song in a shimmer of fresh country mist and spend the day doing a little of everything or very little at all. In the late afternoon, bring everyone from toddlers to grandparents together and cook using produce picked directly from the garden, along with honey from the farm’s hives, fresh bread and local meats and fish that can be delivered to the lodge by your personal concierge. Or if you’d
rather indulge in each other’s company playing board games by the fire, allow the onsite chef to take care of the meal preparation for you – after your concierge mixes aperitivo cocktails to sip as the sun goes down. Then, as the stars glimmer in the night sky, venture out to enjoy a nightcap in the hot tub.

This comforting escape has family and connection baked into its bones. “It’s balm for the soul and the place to build a zillion precious memories,” says Wolf-Tasker.

Gather round.

 

Story by Alexandra Carlton

This new retreat perfectly pairs coming together with getting away.

“Gatherings. They’ve always been important but now the word has a special poignancy,” says the legendary Alla Wolf-Tasker, co-owner of Dairy Flat Farm, the brand-new but old-souled luxury lodge and sister property to the Lake House restaurant, hotel and spa in Daylesford. “Starved as we’ve been of close contact and the opportunity for celebration with friends and family, the specialness of being able to ‘gather your tribe’ shall never again be lost on us.”

Dairy Flat Farm, less than 10 kilometres from Lake House and a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, was designed with the warm art of gathering at its heart. The central Lodge consists of six luxury suites, each with an ensuite, plus there’s a reading room, lounge and sitting areas, dining space and kitchen. It can be booked exclusively for one group or smaller groups (including couples) can make a reservation within six weeks
of their preferred date.

Outside, on the 15 hectares of sprawling grounds, you’ll find a manicured formal garden, fruit and vegetable plantings, olive grove, vineyard and orchard, perfect for hiding and exploring, as well as the Bake House, producing fresh sourdough daily. And beyond the property there are quiet country lanes for rambling on foot, picnic basket swinging, or using the property’s electric bikes.

Wake each morning as the birds break into song in a shimmer of fresh country mist and spend the day doing a little of everything or very little at all. In the late afternoon, bring everyone from toddlers to grandparents together and cook using produce picked directly from the garden, along with honey from the farm’s hives, fresh bread and local meats and fish that can be delivered to the lodge by your personal concierge. Or if you’d
rather indulge in each other’s company playing board games by the fire, allow the onsite chef to take care of the meal preparation for you – after your concierge mixes aperitivo cocktails to sip as the sun goes down. Then, as the stars glimmer in the night sky, venture out to enjoy a nightcap in the hot tub.

This comforting escape has family and connection baked into its bones. “It’s balm for the soul and the place to build a zillion precious memories,” says Wolf-Tasker.

Gather round.

 

The Overnighter: Daylesford

Story by Jane Fraser

Stay at the iconic Lake House’s new hotel on a 38-acre farm; try a Negroni flight at a boutique gin distillery; drink lo-fi wine from an exciting new producer; and get generous pub meals by an open fireplace at a 160-year-old pub.

Our new travel series The Overnighter is all about ideal itineraries for compact but memorable adventures around Australia.

Daylesford has long been known as Victoria’s spa country, but with its volcanic soil and history of small-scale farming, the area is also a centre for excellent produce.
Pack light and leave room in your bags to bring home some of the region’s treasures, including farmers market produce, pantry goods, gin and cool-climate pinot noir.

While coronavirus restrictions are in place, some of these venues are takeaway-only, or in the stages of a gradual reopening, but are still very much welcoming tourists. When planning your trip, it’s worth contacting venues to see if bookings are required.

On the way: stop at Mini Mr Gisborne
If you need some sustenance to see you through the 90-minute drive from Melbourne, this eatery – the sibling to the original Mr Macedon cafe – is worth a quick stop. It’s about halfway between Daylesford and Melbourne.

Coffee is by Allpress and there are Dr Marty’s crumpets, poke bowls, scrolls from Kyneton’s Dr Scroll, and Zeally Bay Sourdough toasties filled with salami and goat’s cheese or roast veggies and Swiss cheese.

On Monday and Friday evenings, it’s burger night – try the Old McDonald with both fried chicken and a beef patty, or get nachos to share.

Shop 13/22 Brantome Street, Gisborne

mrmacedon.com.au

Friday 6pm: check-in at Dairy Flat Farm and Lodge
This new boutique hotel and 38-acre farm – from the owners of Lake House Restaurant – has only six rooms, set among olive groves at the centre of a rambling Alice in Wonderland-style hedge garden.

There’s an onsite concierge and private breakfast chef, and each suite is decked out in maximalist glamour with silky velvet furnishings, Victorian ephemera and embroidery.

Unwind in the outdoor hot-tub, overlooking chardonnay vines, to get your weekend off to the perfect start.

Rooms start at $1330 per night for up to four guests.

238 Dairy Flat Road, Musk

dairyflatfarmdaylesford.com.au

Friday 8pm: dinner at the Farmers Arms Hotel
There’s something about getting out of the city that inspires a desire for country pub food, generous glasses of shiraz and open fires.

The Farmers Arms fulfils all those needs. It’s a cosy red-brick building that dates back to 1857. There are 16 mostly-local beers on tap, including the pub’s own Farmers Arms dark ale, a hefty, wintery brew.

The food is elevated but comforting. There’s eye fillet with pancetta; braised lamb shanks and mash; a vegan chickpea tagine spiked with harissa; and house-made chicken and vegetable pies served with chunky chips.

There’s accommodation here, too, just over the road from the pub.

The pub is currently recommending reservations for lunch and dinner. Rooms start at $245 per night, twin share.

1 East Street, Daylesford

thefarmersarms.com.au

Saturday 8am: breakfast at Wombat Hill House
Start the day with a wander through the lush fernery of the botanic gardens at Wombat Hill, which are built on top of a dormant volcano, then get breakfast at this cafe set in a 1940s caretakers cottage.

Kick back in an armchair by the open fire or sit in the glass conservatory among the planters. Coffee is by Allpress and the menu includes a breakfast pizza topped with eggs, mozzarella and caramelised onion.

Slow-fermented sourdoughs, lemon curd-filled doughnuts and feather-light blackberry danishes from Dairy Flat Bakery (headed up by renowned baker Michael James, who co-founded Melbourne’s popular Tivoli Road) are available to take home, too.

Currently only open for outdoor dining (seating is undercover and there are heaters) and takeaway.

Central Spring Road, Daylesford

wombathillhouse.com.au

Saturday 10am: stroll around Lake Daylesford
At just under two kilometres, this walk is a nice counterpoint to the area’s many food-focused attractions. The man-made lake is home to raucous cockatoos, egrets and other birds.

Use the trackside pump to fill your water bottle with water from the mineral springs. If you’re after a bit more exercise, this track is also the starting point for a few more challenging trails.

Start from Central Lake Reserve, Daylesford

Saturday 12pm: lunch at Pancho
This former butcher’s shop in a two-storey terrace feels like an indoor jungle, with potted plants and rambling vines on every surface. The regularly changing menu is omnivorous but plant-focused, with plenty for vegetarians and vegans.

Try the potato-and-leek rosti with soft-boiled egg, avocado, goat’s cheese and romesco, or the gently spiced cauliflower and hummus bowl. There are pretty house-made cakes, and slices might include dulce de leche brownies.

There’s also Wide Open Road coffee, a good selection of local beers, and a leafy, dog-friendly courtyard.

Currently takeaway only.

117 Vincent Street, Daylesford

panchocafe.com.au

Saturday 2pm: wine tasting and snacks at Musk Lane Wine
Hidden down a laneway in Kyneton, about a 30-minute drive from Daylesford, this is an unusual location for a winery – but this old hardware shop and timber yard has been turned into a contemporary, casual bar-slash-cellar-door.

Musk Lane has none of the stuffiness of some wine-tasting venues. Young winemaker Brendan Lane’s focus is on small batches of unusual varietals with distinctive flavour profiles. The 2019 Malvasia – a first for the winery – is a layered, complex, slightly cloudy white with hints of caramelised stone fruit and vanilla.

After Lane talks you through the hands-on process of making his low-intervention wines, you can buy a bottle, sit on the huge dog-and-kid-friendly lawn under strings of fairy lights, and order snacks from the old airstream.

Currently by appointment only. Reopening in July, weekends only from 12pm–4pm.

1 Turner’s Lane, Kyneton

musklanewine.com

Saturday 4pm: get relaxed and radiant at the Hepburn Bathhouse

If you need a break from all the eating and drinking, the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, at the site of the natural Hepburn Springs, has been providing therapeutic bathing experiences since 1895.

The larger shared pools are popular, so for something a bit more chill, consider booking a private bath experience. You’ll get your own dimly lit spa room, fluffy robes and various bath additives. Try getting coated in thermal mud from Rotorua, which leaves your skin exfoliated and feeling soft.

Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs

hepburnbathhouse.com

Saturday 6pm: gin flights at Animus Distillery
Part cellar door, part cocktail bar, Animus is a gin fan’s paradise. One end of the spacious, high-ceilinged lounge is the distillery itself, its copper stills and winding pipes lending an alchemical vibe.

Animus Distillery uses both native Australian botanicals (pepper berry, lemon myrtle) and some from Southeast Asia (galangal, kaffir limes) to develop its gins.

G&Ts come garnished with red capsicum, ginger or rosemary, and there are gin-based cocktails, too.

For the full experience, start with a gin flight. If straight gin is too daunting, there’s the option to taste with tonic, or go the Negroni flight. It includes an excellent mandarin Negroni, with mandarin zest steeped in the company’s Ambrosian Gin.

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm–6pm.

1/89A Piper Street, Kyneton

animusdistillery.com/cellar-door

Saturday 8pm: dinner at Lake House
Part of Australia’s first wave of regional destination restaurants, Lake House has been around for more than 35 years. Dinner here truly feels like a special event.

It’s a polished affair that starts as you step through the leafy entrance and settle in for a pre-dinner cocktail in the library.
At weekends, choose from two degustation menus – one vegetarian, one for meat eaters – by co-owner and culinary director Alla Wolf-Tasker. Both menus focus intensely on provenance, using produce from Dairy Flat Farm, which is made up of 38 acres of restored pastures, orchards, vines and olive trees.

One dish, called Dairy Flat Farm Beans in Two Parts, is a thing of beauty: a tiny cloudlike feuilletée (knot-shaped brioche) with a silky broad-bean hummus and a salad of more broad beans, peach-leaf curd, walnuts and a tart sauce vierge made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped peach and fresh basil. Buttery Sher Wagyu from nearby Ballan comes with kimchi made from mustard leaves and white lion’s mane mushrooms. In season, dessert might be just-picked strawberries with a sorrel granita.

The wine list is award winning, service is smooth. In short, it’s everything you’d expect from an established culinary icon.

4 King Street, Daylesford

lakehouse.com.au

Sunday 9am: recovery brunch at Cliffy’s Emporium
If you overindulged the night before, Daylesford stalwart Cliffy’s Emporium does a solid recovery brunch. The original 1950s general store has been through a few evolutions, but its floor-to-ceiling shelves are always stacked with local produce and pantry staples such as pickles and relishes, chocolates, honey and more.

This bounty also makes appearances on the all-day menu. Poached eggs and haloumi arrive atop house-made flatbread with garlicky cardamom yoghurt and smoked chilli butter, and there are excellent rustic house-made pies and cakes too.

Bookings currently required to dine-in, and takeaway is also available.

30 Raglan Street Daylesford.

cliffysemporium.com.au

Sunday 11am: stock up at Daylesford Sunday Market
A proper country market with a mix of offbeat knick-knacks and top-notch food. If you’re in the mood to wander, you can pick up everything from cheap houseplants and used vinyl to mysterious antique farm implements.

This is also the place to stock up on jams, heirloom veggies and foraged pine mushrooms. On-site snack options vary, but might include Portuguese tarts, roasted Glenlyon chestnuts and arancini.

Open Sundays, 8am–2pm.

16–18 Raglan Street Daylesford.

daylesfordsundaymarket.com.au

Sunday 1pm: lunch at Passing Clouds
It’s safest to book ahead for lunch at Passing Clouds. Despite its low-key vibe, the dining room is immensely popular with locals and visitors.

There’s no formal kitchen; everything is cooked over a half-tonne charcoal fire pit. The banquet is $60 a head and gets you three courses, starting with a generous selection of local charcuterie. Mains might be slow-roasted local lamb with polenta, walnuts and salsa verde, or porchetta with fennel slaw.

Later, work off lunch with a game of bocce looking over the vines.

Reopening June 20.

30 Roddas Lane, Musk

passingclouds.com.au

Sunday 3pm: pinot tasting at Attwoods at Glenlyon Estate Winery
The low-intervention, single-vineyard wines with which winemaker Troy Attwood made his name are on many of Australia’s best wine lists, including at Melbourne’s acclaimed Attica, and Merivale eatery Queen Chow in Sydney.

Located down a few dusty backroads with minimal signage, Attwoods at Glenlyon is something of a hidden treasure. The winemaker has restored a 25-year-old vineyard to grow pinot noir and chardonnay, and has opened a low-key cellar door. You’re unlikely to find wine-tasting tourist buses here, but you will get to taste the producer’s awarded Old Hog range, and get an insider’s view into contemporary winemaking.

Food-wise, it’s simple stuff, based on the lunches that apprentice winemakers eat in France. Accompany your tasting with toasted bread served with generous slabs of terrine, charcuterie and cheese.

This one is well worth the short detour north before you head back to the city.

Currently, tastings are only available with lunch, which is by reservation only, but the cellar door is usually open on weekends, and mid-week by appointment.

260 Green Gully Road, Glenlyon

Story by Jane Fraser

Stay at the iconic Lake House’s new hotel on a 38-acre farm; try a Negroni flight at a boutique gin distillery; drink lo-fi wine from an exciting new producer; and get generous pub meals by an open fireplace at a 160-year-old pub.

Our new travel series The Overnighter is all about ideal itineraries for compact but memorable adventures around Australia.

Daylesford has long been known as Victoria’s spa country, but with its volcanic soil and history of small-scale farming, the area is also a centre for excellent produce.
Pack light and leave room in your bags to bring home some of the region’s treasures, including farmers market produce, pantry goods, gin and cool-climate pinot noir.

While coronavirus restrictions are in place, some of these venues are takeaway-only, or in the stages of a gradual reopening, but are still very much welcoming tourists. When planning your trip, it’s worth contacting venues to see if bookings are required.

On the way: stop at Mini Mr Gisborne
If you need some sustenance to see you through the 90-minute drive from Melbourne, this eatery – the sibling to the original Mr Macedon cafe – is worth a quick stop. It’s about halfway between Daylesford and Melbourne.

Coffee is by Allpress and there are Dr Marty’s crumpets, poke bowls, scrolls from Kyneton’s Dr Scroll, and Zeally Bay Sourdough toasties filled with salami and goat’s cheese or roast veggies and Swiss cheese.

On Monday and Friday evenings, it’s burger night – try the Old McDonald with both fried chicken and a beef patty, or get nachos to share.

Shop 13/22 Brantome Street, Gisborne

mrmacedon.com.au

Friday 6pm: check-in at Dairy Flat Farm and Lodge
This new boutique hotel and 38-acre farm – from the owners of Lake House Restaurant – has only six rooms, set among olive groves at the centre of a rambling Alice in Wonderland-style hedge garden.

There’s an onsite concierge and private breakfast chef, and each suite is decked out in maximalist glamour with silky velvet furnishings, Victorian ephemera and embroidery.

Unwind in the outdoor hot-tub, overlooking chardonnay vines, to get your weekend off to the perfect start.

Rooms start at $1330 per night for up to four guests.

238 Dairy Flat Road, Musk

dairyflatfarmdaylesford.com.au

Friday 8pm: dinner at the Farmers Arms Hotel
There’s something about getting out of the city that inspires a desire for country pub food, generous glasses of shiraz and open fires.

The Farmers Arms fulfils all those needs. It’s a cosy red-brick building that dates back to 1857. There are 16 mostly-local beers on tap, including the pub’s own Farmers Arms dark ale, a hefty, wintery brew.

The food is elevated but comforting. There’s eye fillet with pancetta; braised lamb shanks and mash; a vegan chickpea tagine spiked with harissa; and house-made chicken and vegetable pies served with chunky chips.

There’s accommodation here, too, just over the road from the pub.

The pub is currently recommending reservations for lunch and dinner. Rooms start at $245 per night, twin share.

1 East Street, Daylesford

thefarmersarms.com.au

Saturday 8am: breakfast at Wombat Hill House
Start the day with a wander through the lush fernery of the botanic gardens at Wombat Hill, which are built on top of a dormant volcano, then get breakfast at this cafe set in a 1940s caretakers cottage.

Kick back in an armchair by the open fire or sit in the glass conservatory among the planters. Coffee is by Allpress and the menu includes a breakfast pizza topped with eggs, mozzarella and caramelised onion.

Slow-fermented sourdoughs, lemon curd-filled doughnuts and feather-light blackberry danishes from Dairy Flat Bakery (headed up by renowned baker Michael James, who co-founded Melbourne’s popular Tivoli Road) are available to take home, too.

Currently only open for outdoor dining (seating is undercover and there are heaters) and takeaway.

Central Spring Road, Daylesford

wombathillhouse.com.au

Saturday 10am: stroll around Lake Daylesford
At just under two kilometres, this walk is a nice counterpoint to the area’s many food-focused attractions. The man-made lake is home to raucous cockatoos, egrets and other birds.

Use the trackside pump to fill your water bottle with water from the mineral springs. If you’re after a bit more exercise, this track is also the starting point for a few more challenging trails.

Start from Central Lake Reserve, Daylesford

Saturday 12pm: lunch at Pancho
This former butcher’s shop in a two-storey terrace feels like an indoor jungle, with potted plants and rambling vines on every surface. The regularly changing menu is omnivorous but plant-focused, with plenty for vegetarians and vegans.

Try the potato-and-leek rosti with soft-boiled egg, avocado, goat’s cheese and romesco, or the gently spiced cauliflower and hummus bowl. There are pretty house-made cakes, and slices might include dulce de leche brownies.

There’s also Wide Open Road coffee, a good selection of local beers, and a leafy, dog-friendly courtyard.

Currently takeaway only.

117 Vincent Street, Daylesford

panchocafe.com.au

Saturday 2pm: wine tasting and snacks at Musk Lane Wine
Hidden down a laneway in Kyneton, about a 30-minute drive from Daylesford, this is an unusual location for a winery – but this old hardware shop and timber yard has been turned into a contemporary, casual bar-slash-cellar-door.

Musk Lane has none of the stuffiness of some wine-tasting venues. Young winemaker Brendan Lane’s focus is on small batches of unusual varietals with distinctive flavour profiles. The 2019 Malvasia – a first for the winery – is a layered, complex, slightly cloudy white with hints of caramelised stone fruit and vanilla.

After Lane talks you through the hands-on process of making his low-intervention wines, you can buy a bottle, sit on the huge dog-and-kid-friendly lawn under strings of fairy lights, and order snacks from the old airstream.

Currently by appointment only. Reopening in July, weekends only from 12pm–4pm.

1 Turner’s Lane, Kyneton

musklanewine.com

Saturday 4pm: get relaxed and radiant at the Hepburn Bathhouse

If you need a break from all the eating and drinking, the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, at the site of the natural Hepburn Springs, has been providing therapeutic bathing experiences since 1895.

The larger shared pools are popular, so for something a bit more chill, consider booking a private bath experience. You’ll get your own dimly lit spa room, fluffy robes and various bath additives. Try getting coated in thermal mud from Rotorua, which leaves your skin exfoliated and feeling soft.

Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs

hepburnbathhouse.com

Saturday 6pm: gin flights at Animus Distillery
Part cellar door, part cocktail bar, Animus is a gin fan’s paradise. One end of the spacious, high-ceilinged lounge is the distillery itself, its copper stills and winding pipes lending an alchemical vibe.

Animus Distillery uses both native Australian botanicals (pepper berry, lemon myrtle) and some from Southeast Asia (galangal, kaffir limes) to develop its gins.

G&Ts come garnished with red capsicum, ginger or rosemary, and there are gin-based cocktails, too.

For the full experience, start with a gin flight. If straight gin is too daunting, there’s the option to taste with tonic, or go the Negroni flight. It includes an excellent mandarin Negroni, with mandarin zest steeped in the company’s Ambrosian Gin.

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm–6pm.

1/89A Piper Street, Kyneton

animusdistillery.com/cellar-door

Saturday 8pm: dinner at Lake House
Part of Australia’s first wave of regional destination restaurants, Lake House has been around for more than 35 years. Dinner here truly feels like a special event.

It’s a polished affair that starts as you step through the leafy entrance and settle in for a pre-dinner cocktail in the library.
At weekends, choose from two degustation menus – one vegetarian, one for meat eaters – by co-owner and culinary director Alla Wolf-Tasker. Both menus focus intensely on provenance, using produce from Dairy Flat Farm, which is made up of 38 acres of restored pastures, orchards, vines and olive trees.

One dish, called Dairy Flat Farm Beans in Two Parts, is a thing of beauty: a tiny cloudlike feuilletée (knot-shaped brioche) with a silky broad-bean hummus and a salad of more broad beans, peach-leaf curd, walnuts and a tart sauce vierge made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped peach and fresh basil. Buttery Sher Wagyu from nearby Ballan comes with kimchi made from mustard leaves and white lion’s mane mushrooms. In season, dessert might be just-picked strawberries with a sorrel granita.

The wine list is award winning, service is smooth. In short, it’s everything you’d expect from an established culinary icon.

4 King Street, Daylesford

lakehouse.com.au

Sunday 9am: recovery brunch at Cliffy’s Emporium
If you overindulged the night before, Daylesford stalwart Cliffy’s Emporium does a solid recovery brunch. The original 1950s general store has been through a few evolutions, but its floor-to-ceiling shelves are always stacked with local produce and pantry staples such as pickles and relishes, chocolates, honey and more.

This bounty also makes appearances on the all-day menu. Poached eggs and haloumi arrive atop house-made flatbread with garlicky cardamom yoghurt and smoked chilli butter, and there are excellent rustic house-made pies and cakes too.

Bookings currently required to dine-in, and takeaway is also available.

30 Raglan Street Daylesford.

cliffysemporium.com.au

Sunday 11am: stock up at Daylesford Sunday Market
A proper country market with a mix of offbeat knick-knacks and top-notch food. If you’re in the mood to wander, you can pick up everything from cheap houseplants and used vinyl to mysterious antique farm implements.

This is also the place to stock up on jams, heirloom veggies and foraged pine mushrooms. On-site snack options vary, but might include Portuguese tarts, roasted Glenlyon chestnuts and arancini.

Open Sundays, 8am–2pm.

16–18 Raglan Street Daylesford.

daylesfordsundaymarket.com.au

Sunday 1pm: lunch at Passing Clouds
It’s safest to book ahead for lunch at Passing Clouds. Despite its low-key vibe, the dining room is immensely popular with locals and visitors.

There’s no formal kitchen; everything is cooked over a half-tonne charcoal fire pit. The banquet is $60 a head and gets you three courses, starting with a generous selection of local charcuterie. Mains might be slow-roasted local lamb with polenta, walnuts and salsa verde, or porchetta with fennel slaw.

Later, work off lunch with a game of bocce looking over the vines.

Reopening June 20.

30 Roddas Lane, Musk

passingclouds.com.au

Sunday 3pm: pinot tasting at Attwoods at Glenlyon Estate Winery
The low-intervention, single-vineyard wines with which winemaker Troy Attwood made his name are on many of Australia’s best wine lists, including at Melbourne’s acclaimed Attica, and Merivale eatery Queen Chow in Sydney.

Located down a few dusty backroads with minimal signage, Attwoods at Glenlyon is something of a hidden treasure. The winemaker has restored a 25-year-old vineyard to grow pinot noir and chardonnay, and has opened a low-key cellar door. You’re unlikely to find wine-tasting tourist buses here, but you will get to taste the producer’s awarded Old Hog range, and get an insider’s view into contemporary winemaking.

Food-wise, it’s simple stuff, based on the lunches that apprentice winemakers eat in France. Accompany your tasting with toasted bread served with generous slabs of terrine, charcuterie and cheese.

This one is well worth the short detour north before you head back to the city.

Currently, tastings are only available with lunch, which is by reservation only, but the cellar door is usually open on weekends, and mid-week by appointment.

260 Green Gully Road, Glenlyon

Coming soon to regional Victoria: a farm and boutique lodge by the Lake House family Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Story by Michael Harden

The ever-evolving project that is Daylesford’s Lake House is taking another leap forward with the opening of Dairy Flat Lodge and Farm this December.

A 15-hectare working farm in Musk, about seven kilometres from Daylesford in central Victoria, Dairy Flat is the fulfilment of a dream that Lake House owners Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker have had since they opened Lake House some 30-plus years ago: to grow much of the produce for their celebrated restaurant. (The Lake House was recently named one of Australia’s Top 50 restaurants in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide).

When the Wolf-Tasker family bought the property last year it was a run-down but viable farm that included an established olive grove, a vineyard and an eccentric house with an underground cellar space accessed via a tunnel.

“We’d been looking for a property for a long time,” says the Wolf-Taskers’ daughter Larissa. “We needed something established and while Dairy Flat needed work, we could see its potential. But Mum also fell in love with the silver birches that line the driveway – they reminded her of Russia and it taps into this romantic Chekhov country house dream she’s always had about this region.”

Just like at Lake House, which expanded from a small weekend-only restaurant to internationally acclaimed hotel, spa and cooking school, the Wolf-Taskers’ ambitions for Dairy Flat are greater than growing a few vegies.

In a year they’ve planted an orchard of 350 heirloom fruit trees and a cutting garden for the plants and flowers decorating the rooms at Lake House. They’ve established a bakery in the cellar, which will supply bread and pastries to all their businesses, and turned the main house into the Lodge, decorating it with bespoke furniture made by local craftspeople and offering luxury, private accommodation for up to 14 people.

“This style of accommodation is all over Europe but it’s not so common in Australia,” says Larissa. “You have the whole Lodge to yourself so you can gather your tribe together in one place and you don’t have to sacrifice any privacy or luxury.”

Dairy Farm Lodge has six ensuite rooms, a library, a lounge with an open fireplace and private outdoor spaces, including a formal garden with established hedgerows. Two concierges are on-site to mix cocktails, serve breakfast and lunch and organise beekeeping or gardening workshops at the farm. Guests are also encouraged to immerse themselves in the day-to-day running of the farm, such as tending to the vegetable gardens, hoop houses, olive groves and vineyard.

The entrance to Dairy Flat Lodge.

Larissa says Dairy Flat provides an immersive, closed-loop food and farm experience for guests. “There’s always been a huge interest from our guests in food and cooking,” she says. “And now we’re able to provide them with a direct connection to the land.”

Story by Michael Harden

The ever-evolving project that is Daylesford’s Lake House is taking another leap forward with the opening of Dairy Flat Lodge and Farm this December.

A 15-hectare working farm in Musk, about seven kilometres from Daylesford in central Victoria, Dairy Flat is the fulfilment of a dream that Lake House owners Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker have had since they opened Lake House some 30-plus years ago: to grow much of the produce for their celebrated restaurant. (The Lake House was recently named one of Australia’s Top 50 restaurants in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide).

When the Wolf-Tasker family bought the property last year it was a run-down but viable farm that included an established olive grove, a vineyard and an eccentric house with an underground cellar space accessed via a tunnel.

“We’d been looking for a property for a long time,” says the Wolf-Taskers’ daughter Larissa. “We needed something established and while Dairy Flat needed work, we could see its potential. But Mum also fell in love with the silver birches that line the driveway – they reminded her of Russia and it taps into this romantic Chekhov country house dream she’s always had about this region.”

Just like at Lake House, which expanded from a small weekend-only restaurant to internationally acclaimed hotel, spa and cooking school, the Wolf-Taskers’ ambitions for Dairy Flat are greater than growing a few vegies.

In a year they’ve planted an orchard of 350 heirloom fruit trees and a cutting garden for the plants and flowers decorating the rooms at Lake House. They’ve established a bakery in the cellar, which will supply bread and pastries to all their businesses, and turned the main house into the Lodge, decorating it with bespoke furniture made by local craftspeople and offering luxury, private accommodation for up to 14 people.

“This style of accommodation is all over Europe but it’s not so common in Australia,” says Larissa. “You have the whole Lodge to yourself so you can gather your tribe together in one place and you don’t have to sacrifice any privacy or luxury.”

Dairy Farm Lodge has six ensuite rooms, a library, a lounge with an open fireplace and private outdoor spaces, including a formal garden with established hedgerows. Two concierges are on-site to mix cocktails, serve breakfast and lunch and organise beekeeping or gardening workshops at the farm. Guests are also encouraged to immerse themselves in the day-to-day running of the farm, such as tending to the vegetable gardens, hoop houses, olive groves and vineyard.

The entrance to Dairy Flat Lodge.

Larissa says Dairy Flat provides an immersive, closed-loop food and farm experience for guests. “There’s always been a huge interest from our guests in food and cooking,” she says. “And now we’re able to provide them with a direct connection to the land.”

Breaking Bread: Lost Magazine.

Story by Larissa Dubecki

It might come as a surprise to learn that Alla Wolf-Tasker, the one-woman revolution who created Daylesford’s iconic Lake House out of a weedy paddock more than 30 years ago, has anything left on her to-do list. But despite running the lauded restaurant along with its boutique accommodation and spa, its sibling Wombat Hill House cafeì and being an all-round champion of central Victoria – with the Order of Australia to prove it – Wolf-Tasker still longed for the authenticity of her own freshly-baked bread.

“It was a dream of mine to offer a larger variety of good bread to our guests at Lake House but our kitchens were operating to capacity,” she says. “With the Bake House we’ll be able to produce slow-fermented sourdough breads as well as beautifully laminated croissants, viennoiserie, donuts, breakfast buns and all sorts of deliciousness.”

The Bake House is part of a bigger story in the Wolf-Tasker world. It’s part of Dairy Flat Farm, the latest passion project for Alla, artist husband Allen and daughter Larissa. Located in the picturesque town of Musk, seven kilometres south-east of Daylesford, this 38-acre property features a huge established orchard, vegetable garden, vineyard, olive grove and the beautiful farmhouse itself.
Housed inside a cellar accessed through a tunnel beneath Dairy Flat’s six luxury-suite Lodge, the Bake House has lured the singular talents of baker Michael James, from Melbourne’s renowned Tivoli Road Bakery, to collaborate in its operation and run regular sourdough baking classes for Lodge guests. “He’s an amazing chef and a great teacher,” says Wolf- Tasker. “When the property came on the market, I had all kinds of notions whizzing about in my head. I visited Michael for a chat and it turned out he and his partner were selling Tivoli Road and he was interested in getting involved in new projects… so it was all Serendipitous.”

Wolf-Tasker envisages a broad symbiosis between all arms of her empire and the Bake House. Its produce will be served in the Lake House restaurant and Wombat Hill House, and guests will be able to visit the Bake House as part of farm tours and workshops. Guests staying at the Lodge at Dairy Flat Farm will also be able to order sourdough crust pizzas.

“I imagine that guests going on a morning ramble around the farm might pop in and chat to the bakers over a coffee. It’s a beautiful space and overlooks some of the gardens around the Lodge. A long avenue of herb plantings leads away from the bakehouse to the olive grove and vegetable gardens beyond,” says Wolf-Tasker, who believes Dairy Flat Farm will be unique in Australia in having its own bakehouse.

Also on the cards: Open days and market days during prolific growing periods at the farm when visitors will be able to stock up on beautiful fresh vegetables as well as good bread and pastries. People attending these bucolic events might not realise they’re part of another gentle food revolution.

“I’m old enough to remember when all the old country bakeries around here were bought up, their beautiful wood fired ovens destroyed and all bread began being distributed from a centralised industrial baking facility,” says Wolf Tasker. “What a terrible loss for our heritage and food culture. The sooner we move back to more small-scale baking operations, producing good bread throughout villages and local communities, the better.”

Story by Larissa Dubecki

It might come as a surprise to learn that Alla Wolf-Tasker, the one-woman revolution who created Daylesford’s iconic Lake House out of a weedy paddock more than 30 years ago, has anything left on her to-do list. But despite running the lauded restaurant along with its boutique accommodation and spa, its sibling Wombat Hill House cafeì and being an all-round champion of central Victoria – with the Order of Australia to prove it – Wolf-Tasker still longed for the authenticity of her own freshly-baked bread.

“It was a dream of mine to offer a larger variety of good bread to our guests at Lake House but our kitchens were operating to capacity,” she says. “With the Bake House we’ll be able to produce slow-fermented sourdough breads as well as beautifully laminated croissants, viennoiserie, donuts, breakfast buns and all sorts of deliciousness.”

The Bake House is part of a bigger story in the Wolf-Tasker world. It’s part of Dairy Flat Farm, the latest passion project for Alla, artist husband Allen and daughter Larissa. Located in the picturesque town of Musk, seven kilometres south-east of Daylesford, this 38-acre property features a huge established orchard, vegetable garden, vineyard, olive grove and the beautiful farmhouse itself.
Housed inside a cellar accessed through a tunnel beneath Dairy Flat’s six luxury-suite Lodge, the Bake House has lured the singular talents of baker Michael James, from Melbourne’s renowned Tivoli Road Bakery, to collaborate in its operation and run regular sourdough baking classes for Lodge guests. “He’s an amazing chef and a great teacher,” says Wolf- Tasker. “When the property came on the market, I had all kinds of notions whizzing about in my head. I visited Michael for a chat and it turned out he and his partner were selling Tivoli Road and he was interested in getting involved in new projects… so it was all Serendipitous.”

Wolf-Tasker envisages a broad symbiosis between all arms of her empire and the Bake House. Its produce will be served in the Lake House restaurant and Wombat Hill House, and guests will be able to visit the Bake House as part of farm tours and workshops. Guests staying at the Lodge at Dairy Flat Farm will also be able to order sourdough crust pizzas.

“I imagine that guests going on a morning ramble around the farm might pop in and chat to the bakers over a coffee. It’s a beautiful space and overlooks some of the gardens around the Lodge. A long avenue of herb plantings leads away from the bakehouse to the olive grove and vegetable gardens beyond,” says Wolf-Tasker, who believes Dairy Flat Farm will be unique in Australia in having its own bakehouse.

Also on the cards: Open days and market days during prolific growing periods at the farm when visitors will be able to stock up on beautiful fresh vegetables as well as good bread and pastries. People attending these bucolic events might not realise they’re part of another gentle food revolution.

“I’m old enough to remember when all the old country bakeries around here were bought up, their beautiful wood fired ovens destroyed and all bread began being distributed from a centralised industrial baking facility,” says Wolf Tasker. “What a terrible loss for our heritage and food culture. The sooner we move back to more small-scale baking operations, producing good bread throughout villages and local communities, the better.”

Up on the Farm. Paddock to plate will soon have a luxurious new incarnation in Daylesford, Victoria.

Story by Christine Mccabe

Farm to plate will soon have a luxurious new incarnation at Dairy Flat Farm and Lodge, courtesy the team behind Victoria’s iconic Lake House gourmet retreat, the Wolf-Tasker family.
Opening early 2020 on a 15ha regenerative farm with established gardens just 6km from the Lake House in Daylesford, the exclusive-use, luxury lodge will sleep up to 14 in six ensuite bedrooms with a live-in concierge to organise the ultimate farm experience.

Dairy Flat Farm includes an extensive vegetable garden, olive grove, orchard with 350 heritage fruit trees, beehives and bake house; enabling guests to immerse themselves in the day-to-day life of the property attending workshops on gardening, baking and bee keeping.

Guests can observe or “dive deep depending on their level of interest in getting their hands dirty”, says Lake House co-owner and Culinary Director Alla Wolf-Tasker AM.
But in true Wolf-Tasker style there will be cocktails at the end of each day and an enviable apres farm atmosphere in the urbane lodge, which had its own cellar, custom furniture and commissioned artworks including paintings by Allan Wolf-Tasker and lush botanical paintings by Alessandro Ljubicic.

The farm was established to supply the Lake House kitchens and provide an exciting laboratory for experimenting with unusual varieties. The onsite bake house is up and running also operated in collaboration with Michael James, formerly of Melbourne’s Tivoli Road Bakery, and supplying slow-fermented sourdough breads and pastries to the Lake House and sister café Wombat Hill House in the Botanic Gardens in Daylesford.

Story by Christine Mccabe

Farm to plate will soon have a luxurious new incarnation at Dairy Flat Farm and Lodge, courtesy the team behind Victoria’s iconic Lake House gourmet retreat, the Wolf-Tasker family.
Opening early 2020 on a 15ha regenerative farm with established gardens just 6km from the Lake House in Daylesford, the exclusive-use, luxury lodge will sleep up to 14 in six ensuite bedrooms with a live-in concierge to organise the ultimate farm experience.

Dairy Flat Farm includes an extensive vegetable garden, olive grove, orchard with 350 heritage fruit trees, beehives and bake house; enabling guests to immerse themselves in the day-to-day life of the property attending workshops on gardening, baking and bee keeping.

Guests can observe or “dive deep depending on their level of interest in getting their hands dirty”, says Lake House co-owner and Culinary Director Alla Wolf-Tasker AM.
But in true Wolf-Tasker style there will be cocktails at the end of each day and an enviable apres farm atmosphere in the urbane lodge, which had its own cellar, custom furniture and commissioned artworks including paintings by Allan Wolf-Tasker and lush botanical paintings by Alessandro Ljubicic.

The farm was established to supply the Lake House kitchens and provide an exciting laboratory for experimenting with unusual varieties. The onsite bake house is up and running also operated in collaboration with Michael James, formerly of Melbourne’s Tivoli Road Bakery, and supplying slow-fermented sourdough breads and pastries to the Lake House and sister café Wombat Hill House in the Botanic Gardens in Daylesford.