Victoria’s Trentham and surrounds brim with quirky charm
imported gardening tools, quirky wall art and Smitherslabelled preserves and condiments.
Clarkson recommends a decadent rum baba to fortify us for the walk home, although it’s all of 10 paces to the town’s leading digs, Twigs on High, a charming twobedroom, self-contained cottage crammed to the rafters with French provincial knick-knacks.
From the front it looks like a design shop (which it once was, and before that a restaurant), so keep the door locked or you may find visitors wandering in, looking to buy a scatter cushion or toile de jouy sponge bag.
The main living area is enormous, divided by a large eco fireplace. The emphasis is as much on comfort as on style, and owner and interior designer Fiona Newland has thought of every possible detail to make this a romantic retreat from the hectic 21st century. There’s a generously stocked library, stacks of the latest design magazines, a piano, board games, loads of throw rugs and a big telly.
Although guests are greeted with a generous hamper of local produce, the rustic kitchen does not have to work too hard, with several cafes and restaurants only minutes away on foot. (Picnics are also an option, with a stash of brollies, gumboots and rugs in the porch.)
We are woken early by the sound of chattering folk traipsing down the lane beside the cottage, headed for the RedBeard Historic Bakery, where the 19th-century wood-fired Scotch oven has been in use since 2am. (It’s worth getting out of bed for the bakery’s homemade baked beans with Meredith feta on organic sourdough.)
The Colliban Foodstore cum wine bar (18 Market St) is good for coffee, and is the perfect spot to stock up on gourmet foodstuffs or sample wines from its large list (with tastings on Friday evenings). For lunch, wander across the road to The Cosmopolitan Hotel, an intriguing, tumbledown building badly damaged by fire in 2005. It looks derelict from High Street, but if you pop around the corner you’ll realise the property is undergoing gradual restoration and tables are available in the cosy stables or beneath century-old elm trees in the lovely gardens.
Out and about you’ll find a couple of tiny cellar doors. Passing Clouds, set on a hill above Musk, is a charming spot to sample the region’s excellent pinot.
And don’t miss the pretty Trentham Falls, Victoria’s longest single-drop waterfall.
Be sure to pop into Daylesford for lunch at Alla WolfTasker’s Wombat Hill House cafe and store in the town’s botanic gardens. It is housed in the restored caretaker’s cottage, its walls are daubed with murals, and wombat sightings are listed along with daily specials on the blackboard. This delightful cafe spearheads the gradual revitalisation of these magical gardens, dominated by enormous old trees, including a pinetum established by Ferdinand von Mueller.
‘‘The aim here,’’ says Wolf-Tasker, proprietor of the acclaimed Lake House in Daylesford, ‘‘is a more relaxed venue, catering for locals and providing a pleasurable, visceral garden-to-plate experience.’’
You can sit indoors (by the fire in winter), in the conservatory or in the lovely vegetable garden hedged by espaliered crab-apples, where, over summer, heirloom tomatoes threaten to go on a triffids-like rampage. Christine McCabe was a guest of Twigs on High and Tourism Victoria.
above Comfy and stylish Twigs on High is an ideal retreat from the hectic 21st century