As great as Melbourne is, sometimes you just need to escape the confines of the city for some fresh country air. Daylesford, a 1.5 hour drive northwest of the CBD, is one of my favourite spots for a countryside escape in Victoria (you can check out our first experience of Daylesford here). Since I was a bit too preggo to travel abroad at this point, we decided to revisit our favourite spot with a night away, staying at the Farmers Arms Art Suites.
The Farmers Arms is a pub on the outskirts of Daylesford and happens to be home to THE most amazing pork belly we have ever tasted. Having waxed lyrical about it ever since our first visit – and with no availability at our favourite Holyrood House – we thought where better to stay than right on its doorstep? The Art Suites are stylishly appointed motel-style rooms opposite the pub, which you may think would be noisy but actually happened to be anything but – and a great base for exploring Daylesford.
It was a sweltering 35-degree day when we set off on our road trip. En route to Daylesford we stopped at Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, a pretty lavender farm dating back to the Victorian era. With the scent of lavender thick on the hot and still air, we strolled (or waddled, in my case) around the fields and original outbuildings, where beauty products, foods and essential oils are created using the plants, herbs and vegetables from the farm.
It was absolutely sweltering and as you can imagine at seven months pregnant, not particularly pleasant for walking around. We decided to stop at the farm cafe for a cool drink but to our dismay, found no air conditioning and a huge queue to order. After a quick lemonade and ice cream we decided to get on our way in the air conditioned car. My verdict: a really cute place and well worth a visit but not in the height of summer!
Once in Daylesford, we pottered up the high street and stopped for lunch in a little cafe before heading to The Convent Gallery Daylesford, a gallery, cafe and one-time convent. We visited The Convent on our last trip to the town and I was keen to return primarily for the stunning grounds and views across the surrounding countryside, as well as the gift shop, which I love to spend ages poring over hubs trails impatiently behind.
Before long the preggosaurus was too tired to keep her swollen trotters going, so we checked into our room for a rejuvenating afternoon nap under the air conditioning before heading out for dinner.
Once again The Farmers Arms didn’t disappoint when it came to food. Needless to say, I ordered the crispy pork belly and followed it with a gorgeous pistachio and rosewater panna cotta topped with berries, biscuit crumble and Turkish delight.
Included in our overnight stay was a breakfast credit for Cliffy’s Emporium, a cafe just down the road from the suites. Back in the 1950s, Cliffy’s was a general store selling produce and groceries, and its interior today stays true to its roots so much so that you can almost imagine you are stepping back in time to pick up your weekly supplies. The breakfast was delicious and plentiful enough even to divert us from the display cabinet brimming with tempting homemade cakes and pastries.
On our way home we decided to do a little detour to Hanging Rock (of the novel and TV show Picnic at Hanging Rock), an imposing rock formation and one-time volcano in its own country park in the Macedon Ranges. We realised the walking trails were a little unrealistic in my condition so we settled for a photo shoot from a lookout point a short distance away.
Feeling refreshed after a change of scene, it was time to head back to the hot city and our last few weeks of pre-baby life.