DriveAway to Daylesford, Australia

Our DriveAway car at passing Clouds winery

Melbourne residents looking to take a break from the city or visitors to Victoria looking to see a little bit more than just the Melbourne CBD are re-discovering the ‘world away’ feeling of a driving holiday to Daylesford.

And the best part; No car? No problem! While DriveAway Holidays Australia has already become synonymous with motorhome hire around the globe, travellers can also grab a great deal on car hire for mini getaways to some of Victoria’s most scenic and relaxing destinations.

Packing a weekend bag, my partner and I decided to venture outside the city for a mini mid-week break!

Visitors flying into Melbourne Tullamarine can easily collect a hire car from DriveAway’s airport location or in the Melbourne CBD (which is what we did.) We were pleasantly surprised to find the process smooth and the car in great shape (freshly washed and ready to hit the road.)

Located about 100km from Melbourne’s CBD, Daylesford has become known for being a  ‘spa town’ offering plenty of options to relax and unwind with some great options for mineral baths, massage treatments, fresh local produce and a whole lot of pampering. What might seem like a quick 2 day trip is certain to feel like an extended break.

Stay in luxury at Frangos and FrangosWe checked into Frangos and Frangos, a boutique property located in the middle of the town of Daylesford. Offering just 12 rooms, each themed differently, and offering a sophisticated glamour and luxury amenities that make it popular with couples.  The onsite restaurant Jimmy’s Bar and Dining Room offers contemporary Australian fare with a bit of a twist.

The regional area, known for its quality local wine and produce is highlighted on the Jimmy’s menu in beautiful surroundings. So if you’re a wine enthusiast (and who isn’t?) you’re certain to find something that will please your palate.

With both a bar area and a semi-formal dining area, Jimmy’s is ideal for a variety of special events, casual dining options or events, and a romantic dinner.

While in town, wander around the local area and enjoy the variety of cafes and boutique shops including a wide assortment of unique gifts, antiques, and handmade items. Make sure to take a little time out to drive just a short distance to one of many local wineries as well.

We took our chances on finding a winery along the drive and stumbled upon Passing Clouds. Greeted by the official winery dog, we did a quick tasting, discovering a remarkable chardonnay before heading back into town.

As the area is known as a wellness destination, you’ll find plenty of options for looking after yourself with a bit of indulgence and we made sure to experience a treatment at Daylesford Day Spa. Located in the centre of town, it’s a short stroll from our accommodation. With six treatment rooms and a host of treatments available ranging from facials to massages to aromatherapy and everything in between. We tried out one of the spas signature treatments, an aromatic candle massage. By selecting the candle that suits your preference, it’s melted into warm oil that’s used to treat your skin with soybean and essential oils and leave your skin not only moisturised but feeling incredibly soft.

Poached eggs and hollandaise at the Piper St Food Co cooking schoolDay two we took our DriveAway car on another adventure into nearby Kyneton where, similar to Daylesford, you’ll find a variety of quirky shops and antiques as well as the Piper St Food Co. Here you’ll find a tasty little cafe and shop offering a variety of housemade and local treats from nearby producers as well as a cooking school.

Located on the main strip of Kyneton, these courses cover everything from basic cooking classes like creating the perfect picnic to pasta making to full day charcuterie classes- even a master-class on breaking down a full pig just like the butcher!

Class sizes are small so you’re certain to be able to see what’s happening and answer questions.

My session was the Cooking Basics: Eggs course which, in just two hours, had me preparing mayonnaise from scratch, learn how to create the perfect poached egg any time, make a hollandaise sauce and so much more.

Our two days felt like four and we drove back to Melbourne and returned our little car feeling like we’d had an interstate holiday.

While two days certainly wasn’t enough time to experience all there was to see and do, you can plan your own getaway using the Daylesford app offering plenty of ideas and inspiration regarding things to see and do in both Daylesford and nearby Hepburn Springs.

Alternatively, you’ll find more information on experiencing the best of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs area by checking out for plenty of tips and ideas.


About the author

Gwen O’Toole is an accomplished writer focussing on travel, events management and food and wine. She also published a fiction novel while spending the past eight years as a magazine editor and travelling the globe before launching The Ideas Library, a creative services and event management company. She is regularly featured in a variety of travel and leisure publications and blogs.

A romantic Murray River cycling experience in Echuca Moama

A romantic Murray River cycling experience in Echuca Moama

Located on the banks of the mighty Murray River (Australia), the twin towns of Echuca Moama are the closest point of the Murray to Melbourne. Echuca Moama is known as Australia’s Paddlesteamer Capital and the region is gorgeous to visit because it represents not only a bygone era with horse-drawn carriages and blacksmiths, but also showcases all the travel and touring conveniences of modern times.

Port Picnic Bike-1MR c

News just in to is that visitors to Echuca Moama can now enjoy exploring the region on two wheels – for free! With the Port Picnic Bike you can take advantage of the region’s flat topography (this area boasts some of the best off-road cycling and bike tours in Victoria), sunny climate and plentiful supply of open spaces.

Free of charge, you are invited to tour the area and visit the likes of St Anne’s Cellar Store, Echuca Farmhouse cheese, picnic spots and the Echuca Moama visitors centre in your own time.

Choose to collect a variety of wine, cheeses and other products in Echuca Moama whilst also taking the opportunity to experience, film and photograph (though probably not the latter two while riding) picturesque, classic Australian landscapes: bushland, river, historical sites and more.

Just imagine travelling here for a writer’s / creative retreat, or romantic break-away. Anyone remember All the Rivers Run?! … See you there x

port picnic map

Cool travels Grouse Mountain and Vancouver Island

Cool travels Grouse Mountain and Vancouver Island

Hello again! I’m back following a forced hiatus − that is, my computer decided to have an extended nap for a week. $$$ and a new screen later, I’m back!

It’s even cooler here in beautiful British Columbia, and the snow is falling. Ski resorts are now welcoming winter sports enthusiasts and I’m there ready to… well, drink hot chocolate and watch in awe.

British Columbia Grouse Mountain Vancouver

Cool travels – Grouse Mountain and Vancouver Island

We paid a visit to gorgeous Grouse Mountain last week. Grouse is cool because it’s only about half an hour’s easy commute from Vancouver city. We’ve been patiently watching from the city down below each day, waiting for powder to appear on Grouse’s peaks, and as soon as it did (on a sunny day, no less) we ventured up top for a play in the snow.

Grouse is special to me because it’s really the very first place I ever saw decent, fluttering, deep white winter wonderland-type snow, back in 1999 when my brother and I first visited.

British Columbia Victoria

Grouse is fabulous and this time around we trekked into the mountain a little further to see if we could meet the bears they have at a refuge nearby. Unfortunately the lazy little fellas (like the wolves in the sanctuary at the bottom of the mountain) were sleeping, so we were left to guess what they look like. Anyone however, can check out what they are up to day or night by logging onto the Grouse Wildlife Refuge bear-cam.

Little did we know that one day soon, we’d come face to face with a bear in the middle of the night in Whistler village!

Ice-skating, skiing, snowboarding, walks, hot drinks and fabulous Vancouver city views − it’s all at Grouse. There was even an Aussie Blue Cattle Dog playing up the top of the mountain with his owner − a highlight of our day, because this young dog looked just like our very own Harry who we miss back in Aus.

British Columbia Grouse Mountain Vancouver

This is my third visit to B.C. but there’s just so much to see in this beautiful part of the world that I never seem to make it far out of Vancouver city itself. We had an aim this time around to at least get to Victoria on Vancouver Island (about four hours from Vancouver by coach, ferry then coach − check for deals on Pacific Coaches).

We’ll have to get back over to Vancouver Island one day because we realise we’ve missed so much − it’s one of the largest islands off the west coast of North America, and there are numerous areas of the region (such as Ladysmith and Tofino) we didn’t get to visit: untamed, wild beautiful landscapes. Typical ‘super natural’ BC (as they tout in the tourism advertisements).

Victoria however (capital of British Columbia), is a picturesque, clean city brimming with cool old buildings, contemporary shopping and night-life.

British Columbia Grouse Mountain Vancouver

My friend, Lauren, once sent me a snow globe featuring Victoria’s romantic city skyline and I’ve wanted to visit for myself ever since receiving this treasured gift. Victoria is Western Canada’s oldest city, originally settled in 1843 and is named after Queen Victoria.

British Columbia Grouse Mountain Vancouver

Mostly it is easy to navigate by foot if you’re staying in the city centre. Stroll around the inner harbour for lovely views of the city’s classic, famous architecture of parliament buildings and grand old hotels; Government Street offers shopping and entertainment options, and look out for areas like Old Town, Chinatown, Market Square and Bastion Square for historical buildings and boutique browsing.

It’s also worthwhile finding your way to the famous Butchart Gardens and Craigdarroch Castle, and of course whale watching is a popular activity with numerous adventure companies offering a range of options to suit your time and budget.

We were lucky enough to be reunited with a fellow Expat Explorer from our brilliant August trip, which made this visit extra special.

Vancouver Island is definitely worth adding to your B.C. itinerary − it’s stunning, typical of the whole region, but with a slightly different feel to Vancouver city. Again, I feel fortunate to have visited such a pretty part of the world.

We adore Canada and British Columbia and believe it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Take a look for yourself here on Flickr

If you’re interested in more stories from this divine part of the world, you might also enjoy:

Heaven is Harrison Hot Springs

Coffee & cocktails in Gastown

Wonderful Whistler adventures

The X-Files and Vancouver travel journal

By Sarah Blinco