My 2 unforgettable days in Daylesford, Part 2

Following part 1 of my unforgettable 2 days at Regional Victoria’s spa town Daylesford and having dinner at the fabulous Farmers Arms, I was ready for another day of good food and good fun. Daylesford isn’t a big town by any means. If you’re looking for a lot to do then you’re probably wrong. But it was very good for relaxing and just spending time away from the city life.

Although I woke up early the second morning, we didn’t end up going out until fairly late as Yuye was asleep like he hadn’t slept in a days. The drive up must have sucked all the gas out of him the poor thing.

So we ended up having brunch at Breakfast and Beer which is highly regarded on Urbanspoon. Situated on the main shopping strip in Daylesford but in the not so busy end, it provides a quiet and comfortable spot for a coffee or brunch. The service here was fantastic, we chatted happily to the waitress while she took our orders and made our coffees. I felt bad though because not long after that, she cut her finger on a broken wine glass and had to go see a doctor. πŸ™ Maybe I brought her bad luck of some sort?

Although my cappuccino and Yuye’s latte did not have beautiful latte art like Manchester Press, the flavour and aroma was there.

I ordered the potato hash brown with field mushrooms, spinach and dukkah for $15. It was a very fresh (although small) dish that tasted fantastic. The home made hash brown was crispy and not at all oily.

Yuye ordered corn fritters with bacon, tomato and avocado salsa for $16. It was more substantial than my dish but I liked mine more. The corn fritters were delicious, crispy and not soggy. Most corn fritters I’ve ordered at restaurants were soggy so this was a good change. Coupled with refreshing tomatoes and avocado, it was not a bad dish.

I didn’t know until I got to Breakfast and Beer but they were actually in the Cheap Eats and Good Food Guide for many years so you can imagine that it’s good enough to woo even harsh critics.

Breakfast and Beer is also open for dinner with a different dinner menu and is probably a better environment for beer which they are popular for.

After brunch, we walked around the few antiques shops near the main round about and saw a few things I really liked but they were all quite expensive. πŸ™ Before I knew it, it was already getting dark. Yuye and I rushed to Lake Daylesford before the sunset. It was truly beautiful, my photos really don’t do it justice.

There were so many cute swans and ducks there grazing on the grass and swimming in the lake. One particular goose was very passionate about my shoes…whenever I walked nearby, it would peck and bite me. Then it followed Yuye and bit his leg, leaving a huge bruise.

After playing with these over friendly birds, we decided to check out a nearby natural spring. It’s not everyday that I come across a natural spring so of course I had to drink from the spring. Now some of you might be imagining beautiful, crystal clear spring water that’s sweet and refreshing. I’m sorry to disappoint but the water was SO rusty that I immediately spat it out after I put it in my mouth. It was the worst tasting water ever. As disappointed as I was. πŸ™

It was a great shame that we didn’t end up eating at The Lake House. After a lot of thinking, we decided to grab a quick dinner and head back to the villa so we could enjoy our last night at Daylesford and fulling enjoying the spa experience. I will have to leave the Lake House till next time. We ended up having dinner at Rubens which was the closest restaurant (but also quite highly regarded on Urbanspoon) to the villa. We didn’t have a reservation, but for a small place like this I thought I would be ok. I was told that there was only one table left, even though it was only 6pm! It shows just how popular this restaurant is with locals and tourists.

It was quite a formal setting, contrary to my expectations. As I read a lot of good reviews about their pizzas, we ordered one pizza and one pasta between us. The pizza we ordered was the Rubens ($18) which had a tomato base with red onions, Istra chorizo, hot salami, roasted capsicum, marinated baby bocconcini, basil pesto & mozzarella cheese. It sounded like a fantastic pizza which it was, but it didn’t give me that wow factor. I prefer the pizzas at D.O.C more, although they are quite different.

However, we were totally blown away by the salmon fettuccine ($21). It had onion, smoked salmon and capers in a white garlic cream sauce tossed with baby spinach, crashed pepper and fettuccine pasta. I don’t usually order creamy pastas because it’s always too filling and too creamy that it makes me feel bad afterwards. Rubens’ pasta was different. It was light but creamy at the same time and so full of flavour and textures. It was perfectly seasoned and oh so delicious. I just wished it was a big bigger because sharing the dish with Yuye meant I didn’t get to eat that much of it!

We also ordered 2 flavoured mineral waters from Daylesford & Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Co. These drinks are refreshing and beautiful and can be purchased from online or from local suppliers such as Essential Ingredients. However, drinking them in Daylesford is a totally different feeling, plus it’s supporting the local economy. πŸ™‚ The flavours we ordered that time were pink grapefruit and orange and passionfruit.

After the surprisingly good pasta, we had a fantastic second night at the villa. I didn’t want to leave the next morning but we were running late for horse riding already. I had purchased another coupon for a 2 hour horse riding experience including refreshments afterwards for $55 per person. Although the villa coupon didn’t go as planned, I was very glad that I purchased this coupon.

It was my and Yuye’s first time horse riding. I was a bit scared in the beginning because horses are so big and I wasn’t sure if I could handle them, but after good tutorials from Kieran, who’s in charge of all the horse riding lessons at Hepburn Lagoon Rides, Yuye and I were able to ride quite well, if I do say so myself.

I wasn’t able to take any photos of the riding because I didn’t want to drop my camera so there were only photos when we were at the stable.

Like many farms in the area, there were calves behind the house drinking and grazing. They were so gorgeous.

Kieran provided drinks and food for us afterwards, which consisted of this soft drink:

And very nice focacias.

While Kieran was busy taking some orders, we wandered around what I think was the ‘office’. It was as if time had stopped in that room. Everything was from a prior time, full of character and great for photo taking.

After horse riding, we headed back towards Mebourne. On the way, we stopped over at Daylesford Cider Company.

It was a Friday afternoon and I was surprised there was no one but us. It has a cafe with freshly made food and of course a lot of apple cider to taste and purchase.

We tried the 3 types available – dry, medium and sweet and found that the medium was the best. What sets this cider company apart from others is the fact that no soda is added to the brew. So the ciders are essentially fizzless. Yuye likes ciders this way as the fizz doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the taste and these ciders are not as sweet as other ciders which also make it more refreshing.

We purchased a dozen bottles including a mix of dry, medium and sweet for $78 which then gave us 2 extra bottles for free. The owner gave us a delicious sounding recipe made with their ciders which I will attempt soon, it’s a perfect recipe for these wintery days.

Even though my holiday started badly, I did get a lot of out this trip. I was able to eat a lot of delicious food, meet some amazing people, relax and spa to my heart’s content and went horse riding for the first time. Not bad really. Daylesford was a beautiful regional Victoria town full of history and nature. I loved the rolling hills, the lakes and even the bad tasting spring water.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy a few days away, Daylesford is a perfect destination.

Question: Have you ever been horse riding? Are you a beginner or seasoned rider?

Breakfast & Beer
Phone: (03) 5348 1778
117 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460

Phone: (03) 5348 2843
70 Main Road, Hepburn Springs, VIC 3461

Rubens @ Hepburn on Urbanspoon

Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides
Phone: (03) 0408 059 125 (contact Kieran)
60 Telegraph Road, Mount Prospect VIC 3364

Daylesford Cider Company
Phone: (03) 5348 1066
145 Dairyflat Rd, Musk VIC 3461

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30 comments… add one
  • Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef June 24, 2012, 10:03 pm

    I love Daylesford and you brought it to life so well in these photos. It’s such a quirky fun place to visit. I’ve never “spa’d” but I’d love to!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:52 pm

      Thanks Maureen! You should really try the spa experience, although I wouldn’t really call the Daylesford one ‘spa’ing’ since it was just a big jetted bath tub with regular tab water and a bit of bubble bath liquid! πŸ˜› I’ve been to plenty of proper hot springs and they were FANTASTIC. I can’t stress enough how good they were (most of them in Japan of course). Really soothes the soul!

  • Fern @ To Food with Love June 24, 2012, 10:20 pm

    Thanks for visiting my blog earlier! You take such beautiful photos that capture so much detail, I really enjoy looking through every one of them! Daylesford looks like the perfect place for a getaway and the food looks amazing (especially the mushrooms!). If only there were more of such places around Sydney πŸ™‚

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:51 pm

      I’m sure there are lots of towns like this around Sydney just waiting to be discovered. πŸ˜€

  • love2dine June 24, 2012, 11:40 pm

    cool! shot. that is awesome.

  • love2dine June 24, 2012, 11:45 pm

    may i know the brand of your camera? and the lense. thanks!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:50 pm

      I think I mentioned in my About Me page, but here is it again. I currently use a Canon 550D crop camera body with a Sigma 50mm f1.4 lens to take most of the restaurant photos and a Canon 24-70mm f2.8L lens for the landscape shots. πŸ™‚ Hope that helps!

      • love2dine July 1, 2012, 1:50 am

        Sorry miss out the ” About ” page. Thank you very much for the info. Hmmmm… Sigma 50mm f/1.4 give u very nice bokeh. But the price is expensive. Will try to save more money. Do you think sigma will be better than Nikon 50mm f/1.4? I just bought a Nikon d7000 with 18mm-105mm kit lens. Still learning.

        • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 1, 2012, 2:35 am

          To tell you the truth, I think the Nikon 50mm f1.4 would be better than the Sigma because I think lens of the same brand as the camera should be better. I also made a mistake when I wrote that comment, I actually have the 30mm f1.4, not the 50mm. I have a Canon 50mm f1.4 which I used a lot and still love. Having the 50mm is enough to take a lot of photos. πŸ™‚ The Sigma 30mm f1.4 was only about $380 when I bought it online. Hope this helps!

  • Lauren @ Part Time House Wife June 25, 2012, 12:54 am

    I am obsessed with your photography… OBSESSED

  • Carolyn Jung June 25, 2012, 9:23 am

    The ciders sound incredible and so interesting with the lack of fizz. Wish I could try them! And hope you enjoy every sip of them. πŸ˜‰

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:48 pm

      It was very different to what I was used to and of course, quite delicious. πŸ™‚ I’m sure I will enjoy them, there’s still heaps left in that box. πŸ˜€

  • thyme (Sarah) June 25, 2012, 11:51 am

    Yes, I too am really impressed with your photography. These are some fabulous shots and I just love photo tours that include restaurants and attractions (like the cider mill!). What a perfect wintery weekend to read about since it is hot, hot, hot over here! ~Sarah

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:47 pm

      Thanks a lot Sarah! I wish you could give me some of your heat! The wintery weather’s making me not want to go out, hope summer arrives soon so I can visit these quiet towns while able to sit outside and have a cider/beer and not shiver. πŸ˜›

  • Tania @ A Perfect Pantry June 25, 2012, 12:14 pm

    I’m really jealous now. The places look gorgeous and I can see myself there. I loved the goose photo…:)

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:46 pm

      I liked that goose photo too ;D It was so staring at me and trying to say ‘HA! I got your leg now! What are you going to do? Run away you human?!’

  • Barb @ Profiteroles & Ponytails June 25, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Your photos all look AMAZING! I would dearly love some of that potato hash brown with field mushrooms, spinach and dukkah — such a creative way to use dukkah. I’m inspired!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:45 pm

      Thanks so much Barb! After having that dish, I declared that I really liked dukkah. πŸ˜› I will make that as a recipe one of these days, along with those mushrooms, yum!

  • June 25, 2012, 1:52 pm

    Yes, I too adore Daylesford! Actually your photos make me want to jump into the car and drive there now πŸ™‚

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:43 pm

      Haha if only it was a bit closer! I’d drive there all the time then! Although I guess the distance makes it that little quieter which is its charm. πŸ˜€

  • Georgia June 25, 2012, 10:40 pm

    Gorgeous post with really great photos! I could read about Daylesford and Hepburn Springs for hours, mind! We too enjoy Ruebens – we even had a very low key night-before-wedding celebration there…even though it can be slightly hit and miss at times. We tend to order take away pizza and enjoy it in the crater of nearby Mt Franklin (see:
    If you head back to the region (and it sounds like you may!), I would also recommend trying the Lake House, Mercato @ Daylesford and the Chocolate Mill… πŸ™‚

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:38 pm

      And I can write about it for hours too! There’s just too many good things to say about this beautiful town. You’re really making me regret not going to Lake House now! But all those places you mentioned were on my to visit list, 2 days just wasn’t enough for everything. πŸ™ There will definitely be a next time. πŸ˜‰

  • Daisy@Nevertoosweet June 25, 2012, 11:39 pm

    WOW you have some amazing photos πŸ™‚ i’ve been meaning to go to Daylesford with my partner too ~ because we both want to unwind and just relax ~ but it seems really cold right now so I wasn’t sure if we should wait until the weathers a bit better ~

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake June 26, 2012, 11:36 pm

      It is a bit cold, but Spas are good when it’s cold. πŸ˜€ And a lot of the stand alone villas come with a fireplace which can’t be used when it’s warm so I guess there’s a plus during winter too…

  • Nami | Just One Cookbook June 27, 2012, 3:31 pm

    Oh! I see you Jenny! Now you’re in the picture today! =) Sounds like you had awesome time. I love reading about your experience (like I told you many times)…I’m living your life through pictures! I have same lens as you do, yet I NEVER EVER can take pictures like you…. πŸ˜‰ I wish you can teach me to take great shots on food, landscape, and everything!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 1, 2012, 2:26 am

      Yes that’s me Nami. πŸ˜€ I think your photos are lovely! I only use the Sigma lens for food, for landscape I always use the 24-70mm, do you have that lens too? If you need to know anything I’m happy to help, although I’m still a beginner at photography myself. πŸ™‚

  • Charles June 27, 2012, 5:34 pm

    Haha, I love the cursory few leaves of rocket thrown on the pizza – look good though and thanks so much for sharing the photos from your trip. It looks like you had such fun! I love the look of that breakfast place – really nice!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake July 1, 2012, 2:30 am

      Hi Charles, it was a truly beautiful town and was a wonderful trip. πŸ™‚ I’m missing the tranquility of the place now that I’m back in the city. πŸ™ The breakfast place was fantastic! πŸ™‚

  • Kelli October 13, 2014, 7:39 pm

    we love your blog!!! Keep writing my two year Daisy, old thinks that this is bedtime stories.


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