Summer is the best time of the year to bask in the warmth, get out and about, and uncover something new. And we have ‘new’ in abundance.

Here are some spots to motivate you to take a journey of discovery.

The world’s first sweet-themed Airbnb, Sweet Retreat, has opened in Daylesford. Check into Sweet Retreat, and you’ll be treated to some delicious eye candy and super comfy surrounds. Guests can sleep in a room that comes with a personal pink ball pit, sniff cherry-scented wallpaper (Elton John has the banana version in his own home) and relax in a room decorated with giant Iced Vovos. Every room is decorated in Sugar Republic’s signature style, ensuring you’ll have a sweet stay.

Cream Town brings to Castlemaine more than an everyday café. Environmental regeneration is high on their agenda, with owners, the Heenan Doherty Overdahl family, working in regenerative agriculture, education and living for 30 years, running the non-profit, ‘Regrarians’ (a portmanteau of regenerative and agrarians). They work with producers worldwide to manage and create profitable agriculture enterprises, regenerating soils, farms, communities and economies. Paramount to their values, their food is locally sourced, organic, biologically progressive and flavourful. Outside, you can sit in a shaded, leafy courtyard and inside the 1860’s stone building is a unique space, with a diverse mix of art covering the walls as part of their gallery, featuring work from the Cream Town collective that hosts over 250 artists. Cream Town serves Padre Coffee, Schulz Organic Milk and Pure Harvest Organic Plant milks, and you can visit any time of the week; they’re open 7 days from 7am to 3pm.

There is nothing quite like a sun-kissed strawberry straight from the bush. So, we’re thrilled to let you know that you can now experience this delight in the Daylesford region. Morningswood Farm is open this summer with ‘U-pick’ experiences. Pick your own organically grown strawberries into their handmade veneer punnets. Depending on fruit availability and weather, Morningswood will open Wednesdays and weekends between 10 am – 4 pm. Check ahead before your visit.

We love the French twist Bistro Terroir adds to both their menu and naming conventions. ‘COQ’ is their latest addition. It is a new event space created for intimate events and functions in the heart of Daylesford. Suitable for both stand up and sit-down functions, it works in conjunction with the neighbouring award-winning restaurant Bistro Terroir. Imagine an elopement or intimate wedding set in a contemporary modern space with some of the best food this region has to offer. Sounds like a marriage made in heaven.

Just across the street from Coq, you’ll find Daylesford’s newest gourmet grocer. In a world that has been turned upside down, Blake Family Grocer is a place to find all your getaway treats without queuing up at a café or needing to remember to book ahead. It’s a passionate foodie’s grocer bursting with local artisan produce, meat, poultry, cheeses, charcuterie, gourmet groceries, fresh local flowers and much, much more. You’ll be sure to have the foodie escape you were dreaming of.

Visitors along the historic Piper Street are spoilt for choice for places to dine, and with The Oaks Grill, your craving for a classic bistro steak has now been filled. You’ll find locally fed and raised beef, grilled seafood classics, generous servings, and accompanying local wine, beer and spirits. Overlooking St Paul’s park, it is a serene and picturesque spot to spend your afternoon and capture the sunset.

Hotel Bellinzona has always been an incredible sight to behold. Built in 1903, it’s our Swiss Italian lodge in the heart of Hepburn spa country, and an ode to our region’s heritage. The recent modifications have breathed new life back into this beauty; not only bringing her into the 21st century but repositioning the hotel as a five-star luxury retreat. With 43 rooms, onsite gastronomic dining and curated experiences, it is the perfect spot to revitalise, and before long, you’ll be wanting to return.

Lovers of quirky, eclectic accommodation will dig Graze Ballan’s retro and vintage vibes. Choose from their gypsy van or sixties caravan and enjoy the gin lounge/dining cabin. The serene location is ideal for a couple, two couples, or a family. You are welcome to explore the region for your own food or book one of their grazing packages which provide all the finest food and beverages, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy.

About the author

Narenna Bloomfield
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Narenna is a country girl at heart, growing up on a dairy farm north of Bendigo. Now living in Kyneton, (her husband’s hometown) she is a busy mum of three littlies. She loves gardening, baking, photography and getting out and about in the area. A favourite day in the region would be a weekly shop at a farmers’ market, meandering through an open garden and finishing with a dinner in one of the acclaimed restaurants along Piper Street, Kyneton.