With the arrival of the warmer weather and longer days, we can’t think of a better way to enjoy the bountiful produce of the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region than by pulling up a pew outdoors.

Whether you prefer lake, vineyard, or mountain views, or simply want to watch the passing parade, we have something to suit you.

This beautiful old dame, located in Hepburn Springs, has all the ingredients for a relaxing weekend. Sit amongst the canopy of old eucalyptus trees on the verandah, sip on a martini, or wander down to the courtyard and grab a cocktail from the shipping container bar before tucking into some tasty fare from chef Nick Cooper.

A Daylesford icon and a must visit when you’re in town. The inside is full of romantic nooks and crannies, whilst the outside has all the feelings of a small Italian hamlet. Music is piped through to the outdoor areas and service is always friendly and relaxed.

Located in the heart of Hepburn Springs, think stylish cane armchairs, a white pebble stone courtyard and a sense of serenity. An established leafy garden and Parisian style umbrellas will shade you from the summer sun. Or arrive later and settle in for dinner as the sun sinks over the surrounding forest. Local produce is the hero on the fresh and modern all-day menu.

Take a seat on the deck and watch the world go by. Perched above Lake Daylesford, you are given a sense of being right on the water. Watch swimmers take a daily dip, paddle boarders float across the lake and anglers haul in trout and redfin from the bank. There are two- or three-course offerings, the food is refined and influenced by classic French cookery.

There is no better place to people watch than on a comfy couch in the main street of Daylesford. Order a cocktail and settle in for an afternoon or evening of authentic Pan Asian. Daylesford loves a bit of fanfare, and this is the prime position to capture the action of popular events such as ChillOut or Daylesford’s New Year’s Eve Parade.

The Pig & Whistle Hotel in Trentham East is the quintessential country pub, full of all of your favourite elements. Live music, a classic parma, eight beers on tap and a beer garden made for a party. The perfect location for a long lunch or dinner under the stars.

Le Bouchon at Attwoods
Le Bouchon at Attwoods

Daylesford Cider is an ideal location for an afternoon session. Grab a paddle of their award-winning ciders, order a wood-fired pizza and listen to live music on weekends. Enjoy a picnic on the grass, have a game of bocce, and, if you’re partial to a bubbly drink, try the Watermelon Fizz. It’s as fun as it sounds.

Le Bouchon serves up traditional French fare surrounded by classic Australian landscapes. Get comfortable sitting in the terraced garden overlooking lush rolling hills. As the weather begins to get warmer, picture yourself having a long lunch in the garden, glass of chardonnay in hand. You could be forgiven for thinking you have been transported to the wine regions of France.

’Sit alongside the locals at the sprawling communal table that is made from one long slice of timber. Try the choc-chip cookies or house-made carrot cake and wash it down with a local MotoBean coffee. In the summer months ‘Tunes and Tastings’ is a popular option, held regularly on Saturday afternoons.

The beer garden at The Cosmopolitan Hotel (affectionately known as The Cosmo by locals) is like no other. This Trentham-based pub celebrated 157 years this year, and the established gardens and hundred-yearold elm trees stand proudly, providing dappled light on a summer afternoon. With an ethos of supporting local, you will find food, beer and wine all sourced from the region.

If you’re looking for somewhere to sit in the sun and enjoy yummy Southeast Asian fare, Kyneton restaurant Fook Shing is that place. The ‘sun deck’ is the perfect location to share some sweet, salty, umami goodness.

Did you know we have a hatted Japanese izakaya right here in the Macedon Ranges? Order a sake, take a seat under a colourful umbrella and prepare to be nourished Kuzu style. Whether it’s traditional sashimi or something more adventurous like kangaroo tartare, you’re in for a treat.

Winery dogs are one of the best reasons to visit a vineyard, and best boy Banjo is at the ready for pats. Come for Banjo and stay for the beautiful food and stunning surrounds. The industrial balcony provides a contemporary space to enjoy Mt Towrong’s rustic Italian fare.

The Social Foundry is both good for the soul and good for the belly. A social enterprise in the heart of Kyneton with a funky outdoor deck, planter boxes and Astro Turf, the all-day menu is contemporary with a healthy fresh vibe. For the sweet tooth, the house baked goodies are to die for.

The Virgin, photography by Inkdfoto
The Virgin, photography by Inkdfoto

Hero Image: The Grande Hotel, photography by Chloe Smith Photography

About the author

Michelle Symes
Michelle Symes
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Michelle Symes is a marketing specialist in the fields of food, wine and gastronomy. A Daylesford local Michelle loves nothing better than sharing the culinary secrets of our region. A perfect day consists of visiting a local farmers market, filling her basket to the brim with local produce and heading back to the kitchen to spend the afternoon, wine glass in hand cooking for friends.