Stay the Night: The White House, Daylesford, Australia

A couple of hours' drive from Melbourne, this smart rental is quite at home in desirable Daylesford, says James Litston

Melbourne may be fêted for its cosmopolitan cool, but there's plenty of appeal out beyond the city fringes, too. The rural backcountry of upstate Victoria has wineries, mineral spas and elegant, Gold Rush-era towns. These attributes are condensed into the pretty resort of Daylesford, which, just two hours' drive from the city, is a firm favourite with Melbournians in need of a countryside fix.

Unlike many country towns, Daylesford doesn't compromise style for scenery. It may be laid-back and leafy, but Daylesford's charm comes with gourmet dining, good design, decent wine and proper coffee.

Accommodation options are correspondingly chic, not least White House: an 1850s miner's cottage that's been carefully restored and decked out with reconditioned vintage finds. A thick hedge adds an element of seclusion, while the edge-of-town location puts it within a few minutes' stroll of Daylesford's draws.

The rooms

The carefully curated, vintage interiors, from the wellington boots by the door to scattered books within, give the impression of entering a home from years gone by, where the owners have just popped out.

There are two double bedrooms at the front of the house, each with bespoke bedding and feature fireplaces, plus a third, light-filled double with an en suite in the pimped-up garden shed. All three rooms are styled to feel unique. Free-standing, claw-foot tubs take centre stage in both the main bathroom and outhouse en suite.

There's a cosy library of classic and contemporary paperbacks plus a main room combining kitchen, lounge and diner. A working fireplace and plenty of comfortable seating make this an inviting scene ... unless, that is, you're a child. This is very much an adults-only hideaway.

Out and about

Daylesford has a thriving spa industry thanks to its wealth of natural, mineral springs (with over 70 in the surrounding area). Neighbouring Hepburn Springs has several spots where visitors can take the waters (00 61 3 5321 6000;, or book into Daylesford's award-winning Salus Spa (00 61 3 5348 3329; for any number of rejuvenating treatments and therapies. Try a half-hour mineral water soak in private treetop cabins, or opt for something more hands-on such as a two-hour massage and facial (A$295/£197).

The area's other forte is food. Local produce features heavily on Daylesford menus and there are world-class wineries to tour in the hinterland ( For something more active, pretty Lake Daylesford is ringed by a 2.6km footpath, and there are proper hiking trails throughout expansive Wombat State Forest.

Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens (admission free) is ideal for ambling, or simply stroll among the homeware, gift and antique emporia on Vincent Street, Daylesford's characterful main drag. For more tips, see

The food and drink

The White House comes ready-stocked with the first day's breakfast of fresh bread, spreads and oranges for juicing. Top up with supplies from Daylesford Health Foods & Organics down the road (27 Albert Street), adding local sausages from the butcher (No 22) and supermarket shopping from Coles (corner of Bridport Street). Or have breakfast made for you at one of Vincent Street's charming cafés: Frangos & Frangos does an outstanding brunch at weekends (00 61 3 5348 2363;

For a real treat, book a table at the Lake House (00 61 3 5348 3329;, one of Australia's most respected restaurants. The vibe here is "fine dining with its top button undone", with a focus on own-produced honey, vegetables and seasonal salad leaves, plus other items sourced from the surrounding area. Daylesford's gourmet revolution actually began right here at Lake House. Owner Alla Wolf-Tasker established the restaurant in 1984 and encouraged local farmers to develop and supply speciality (and often organic) fresh produce. Seasonal treats include black bream with squid ink pasta or a consommé of heirloom tomatoes, all served in an art-filled dining room overlooking the lake. Two courses cost A$80 (£53), three for A$100 (£67) or there's a tasting menu for A$140 (£93).

The essentials

The White House, 58 Albert Street, Daylesford, Victoria, Australia (00 61 416 032 111; A two-night stay costs A$680 (£453) based on two sharing or A$1,250 (£833) for six sharing.

James Litston flew to Melbourne with Singapore Airlines (0844 800 2380; Returns from Heathrow via Singapore start at £1,005

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas