It’s true: if you squint a bit, Central Victoria could be Northern Europe.
“You get a lot of foggy mornings, and sometimes you could almost be transported back to Ireland,” says Sandy McKinley of the town of Trentham, a 90-minute drive north-west of Melbourne. It’s home to her latest venture, The Potting Shed, a handsome little guesthouse in a handsome little town.
The accommodation, which opened in August last year, is the second for McKinley and her husband Rob Roy (the first is called The Miner’s Cottage). Both are located on their flower farm Acre of Roses.
The Potting Shed is a self-contained studio with a corrugated tin roof and French doors that open onto McKinley’s vegetable garden outside. It's dog-friendly, and unsurprisingly for a property with 1700 heritage rose bushes, flowers and floral motifs are a common thread throughout the space – you’ll find them decorating the bed linen, encircling the mirror, in artworks on the walls, and in mismatched vases throughout the rustic space. The fold-out double bed acts as your couch by day, or you can curl up in a worn armchair in front of the pot-belly stove (there’s also a modern aircon unit).
There’s a kitchenette with a microwave, a bar fridge and a coffee machine, and a conti-nental breakfast is included, but the elegant Miner’s Cottage – which dates back to the 1860s – has a more 21st-century kitchen, if you feel like cooking and baking.
It comes with a Kitchenaid mixer; a stocked pantry (including house-made rose jam and croissant dough ready for baking); and coffee beans from Supreme. McKinley also pro-vides full access to her considerable kitchen garden.
The Miner’s Cottage sleeps six, with all three bedrooms (including one with an ensuite and a tiny kitchenette) opening onto the verandah. (There’s also a queen sofa bed that can accommodate one or two more guests for an extra fee.)
Outside there’s a cedar hot tub, which is fed with rainwater, and an undercover open-air theatre with Netflix and a fireplace. It’s a great spot to practise yoga, too – mats are supplied.
If your notion of a relaxing weekend involves a bit more activity and exploring, the Wombat State Forest is about a 20-minute drive away. Trentham township, where you’ll find sourdough bakery Redbeard, and French farm-style eatery Du Fermier (which warrants a weekend trip on its own) is a 10-minute walk away.
Acre of Roses is located at 5 Blue Mount Road, Trentham, Victoria. Room rates for The Potting Shed start at $280 per night, and The Miner’s Cottage start at $402 per night. This article was updated on March 4 to remove the dog-friendly reference to The Miner's Cottage. Only The Potting Shed is dog-friendly.