Food and Drink


Weekend away: Daylesford

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While Melbourne is the best place in the universe and the light that shines within will never dim, it’s good to have a break every once in awhile. Over summer it’s hard to beat the coast, but for the nine months of the year, when it’s too cold to crack out the budgie smugglers, I head inland.

Daylesford is pretty close to Melbourne and there’s heaps more to do there than spas and pump mineral water. Did you know it’s also the Wiccan capital of Australia? Water and witches aside, here are some other things you might like to check out to the north west.

There’s nothing quite like a country pub that’s as well-worn and crusty as the locals. However these days you’re more likely to find craft beer and gourmet grub instead of a dodgy parma and fisherman’s basket. Sitting on the first intersection into town since 1857, The Farmers Arms is an amiable introduction to Daylesford. Owners Susanne and Claire Devine have put together a fit out and menu that’s comforting and just a little fancy. Check out the venison and local cheeses. Plus ask Claire about her previous life as a self-defence instructor in the Israeli Defence Force and her time as a professional squash player.

Fifteen minutes down the road in Trentham is The Cosmopolitan Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 2005. Since then the pub’s been restored by owner Rod and is now a rollicking sort of place with plenty of fire places, huge serves and lots of live music.


The Radio Springs Hotel is the sort of place you’d expect to find at the end of the world. Hidden up a hill off the main track the Springs has three philosophies: no VB, no TV and live music every day. Owners Jackie and Ken (who used to be a projectionist and literature teacher, respectively) have adorned the pub and guest rooms with bookcases and paraphernalia from their previous professions. Claw-foot baths too. There’s also live music every day, lots of books, whiskies and a well-stocked wine cellar.


Daylesford might be famed for its wineries and water, but did you know it’s also the place to go for cider? The Daylesford Cider Company make four organic ciders and is set on a few acres just made for sipping.


I’m not one for antiques, but the Daylesford Sunday Market is awesome. Actually nifty knick knacks and local produce that’s on every weekend rain, snow or shine. Plus its own steam train. You don’t get that at Camberwell.


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