Lake House

Daylesford is a kind of hippie-yuppie-locavore town on the Goldfields trail, a little over an hour out of Melbourne. Perfect for weekends away, it has a lovely lake, plenty of picturesque bush and pastoral scenery and is sitting on scores of natural mineral water springs.

This morning walking into the main street of town, I saw a tramp lying on his back on a bench in the sun, bare feet crossed over one another, reading a battered copy of Sartre. It seemed strangely fitting.  Walking the streets are young families, serious young Melburnians in designer casual (“I think I’ll take my snood darling, it will be chilly in the mornings”), young ruffians scoffing at the designer Melburnians, locals in semi-balinese attire who perhaps practise massage or kinesiology, and farmers from the surrounding areas.

Despite its lure as a popular weekend destination, it retains a real country town feel. Hospitality is a big part of that, evident from the animated conversation we fell into with a couple of locals at the Farmer’s Arms after a fabulous pub dinner, to the sweetness of the staff at our designated home for the weekend, Lake House.

Lake House is a series of weatherboard pavilions set amongst glorious gardens on the edge of the lake. The lake path meanders in front of them so they are not totally private but apart from a few parachute-panted seniors, the path is mainly used by a posse of geese.

We stayed in a Lakefront Suite, which was a fairly new build. At first blush, late at night after a dark and dismal drive, I was both disappointed and a little outraged by the price we had paid.

However, we woke to a glorious day and the glass started to look half full. What could have easily fallen into motel-like banality was saved by a warm colour palette of charcoal, mustard and chocolate, with nice touches like an alpaca throw, fresh posy of local flowers and artwork by chef Alla Wolf-Tasker’s husband Colin. The gorgeous view over the lake helped, too.

After a lovely breakfast of Eggs Benedict with local smoked trout in the sunlit contemporary dining room, a stroll around the beautiful grounds, kitchen garden, and billiard room, the glass started to look two-thirds full.

And after a multi-course dinner in Lake House’s award-winning restaurant, which included a smoked eel dish with heirloom beets and mustard crème fraiche, and a dessert of red wine poached pear with pain d’epices and gingerbread icecream, the glass was pretty full, enough even to ignore the odd choice of late 80’s muzak.

The rest of the weekend was spent profitably touring the Goldfields area – driving through attractive countryside to quaint towns with their Avenues of Honour, botanic gardens, and weatherboard miner’s cottages. Many of them now sport interesting shops and galleries, and cafes and produce stores (Piper Street in Kyneton especially).

We completed our stay by taking the waters at Hepburn Bathhouse on Sunday. A girl in front of me in spray-on sports gear was checking in, and as she turned around, I saw it was Megan Gale. Silent thanks were given that we were bathing privately, as no-one really wants to share a pool with a supermodel in a swimsuit. After that lucky escape, emerging refreshed and relaxed from a long steam and bath in warm soda water, I realised the glass was positively overflowing.


TEL. +61 (0) 459 990 459

Truant Travel Design

Specialising in exquisite lodgings and creating personalised itineraries throughout Australia and the world, Truant Travel Design is a private travel design firm based in Australia.