Four reasons to stay at The Lake House, Daylesford
It’s a restaurant, it’s a hotel, it’s an amazing place to unwind.
Words by Ute Junker
Alla Wolf-Tasker is a force of nature. When she founded The Lake House more than 30 years ago, the idea of a rural destination restaurant was unheard of. Since then, however, Australians have become increasingly sophisticated – and so has The Lake House. The restaurant has been joined by a hotel, a cooking school, a spa and much more. Here are four reasons we keep returning to this gorgeous retreat by the lake.
It’s just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, but Daylesford feels like an entirely different world. This scenic valley is just as charming in the colder months – when flame-coloured foliage provides a blazing background and wreaths of mist hang from the trees – as it is during the verdant spring and summer. The picture-perfect setting overlooking the lake is tailormade for post-prandial strolls along the water: bliss.
The food is what The Lake House built its reputation on, and it remains an outstanding dining experience. Local ingredients – many grown within walking distance – are beautifully presented in dishes that layer a delicate range of flavours. Depending on the season, you may feast on spring lamb with asparagus and morels, pheasant with chestnuts, Barigoule eel or yabbies. It is worth dining here at least twice: once to enjoy the splendour of degustation dinner, once to keep it simple with the a la carte menu.
To go exploring
Daylesford has plenty of bookstores, inviting wine bars and galleries to browse through (don’t miss the atmospheric Convent Gallery and Paradise Bookshop, which has 14 – yes, 14! – separate rooms), but one of the best things about this town is how many great things there are to see and do nearby. Explore the historic centres of Ballarat and Bendigo (home to another outstanding art gallery), go bushwalking, visit stunning gardens and stroll through charming country towns like Kyneton.
To stay in
There is such a lot to do at The Lake House, from cooking classes to spa treatments, but one of the best things to do is to do nothing at all. You will want to spend some time lounging in your sumptuous room, after all. And a pre- or post-dinner drinks in the Argyle Library Bar, with its jewel-coloured armchairs, is a must. You will also want to take a stroll through the gardens, and perhaps visit Alla Wolf-Tasker’s artist husband, Allan, in his studio. After that – well, after that it is probably time to unwind by the pool or simply gaze out over the lake, letting your cares drift away.