They say it’s all about the journey not the destination. Not so, when you’re in desperate need of tranquillity and are headed to Spa Country for the very first time. An easy highway drive past sun-bleached grasslands, rolling hills and woodlands recently brought me to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs for an all too brief stay-cation. I was lucky to be invited to stay overnight at the brilliantly styled Holly Lodge with a group of chic ladies. The home is a serene retreat filled with diverse themed bedrooms and enough private spaces in which to curl up to nap or read (my favourite thing to do on holidays). The garden (of which you have seen a tiny peek before) expands out into separate precincts; a small pond, a mini-orchard and a raised terrace garden among them. We took advantage of the beautiful kitchen that evening and ate dinner by candle-lit chandelier out on the verandah. Holly Lodge would be one lovely place to escape to and write your great Australian novel. I confess to no such noble activity, instead reading glossy magazines.
I’m never one to pass up tiny sandwiches. We also indulged in high tea “under the arches” at The Conservatory; a sentence I can’t speak out loud without putting on a posh accent. Founders Wayne and Chris joined us for scones and told us of their farm (complete with cows and snakes!), the history of the property and how they are always on the hunt for mismatched crockery for the tea. Does a stroll through the property’s gardens counteract my gluttonous consumption of cream and fairy-floss adorned pastries? Let’s all assume ‘yes’ and go back for seconds.
I slipped into the waters at The Mineral Spa at Peppers Retreat for my obligatory spa experience (any excuse to switch off the smartphone). During a long soak in their soothing mineral baths you gaze out into the open air, though the bathing area is completely sheltered. There’s also a sauna, steam room and a “detox” box to experience as you wish plus a cooling plunge pool. I drank my weight in delicious herbal teas in between soaks.
Likely undoing all my good work at the spa, I managed to squeeze in a long lunch and a glass of crisp cider at The Argus Dining Room next door. The Argus’ fit-out is all masculine dark timber and white linen tablecloths. It’s the kind of place where the menu reads as an happy marriage of ingredients rather than readily recognisable dishes. The Tipperary lounge adjoining the dining room looks like the best spot in the area in which to enjoy a very quiet G&T or two. I feasted on horseradish-spiked crab salad, asparagus bathed in miso butter and popcorn-sprinkled desserts before hesitantly getting behind the wheel and driving back to real life.
I’ll share my Daylesford and Hepburn Springs luxury to-do list soon. Yet I’m already pondering where to journey to next? Do let me know which wonderful places have you road-tripped to and discovered this summer in the comments below…
Tags: accomodation, day spa, daylesford, hepburn springs, restaurants