Dairy Flat Lodge and Farm is a luxury stay with just six rooms in Musk, a few kilometres from Daylesford. That means it’s perfect for taking in the area’s food and drink scene, but because it’s on 40 acres of orchards, vines and olive trees, you can just as easily luxuriate in peaceful seclusion.
It was opened by the Wolf-Tasker family, whose name you might be familiar with – they also established Daylesford institution Lake House more than 35 years ago.
Just as they did at Lake House, here the Wolf-Taskers have created lodgings with opulent interiors – think silky furnishings, Victorian ephemera and embroidery. The roomy suites, which look out onto gardens or rows of chardonnay vines, have glossy dark timber floors and king-size beds decked out with white linen and custom embroidered headboards by local artists, and piled with velvet and wool throws. Each ensuite has a substantial bathtub, and outside you can wander through meandering hedge gardens.
You can hire a wing – two suites – to yourself, but the entire space can also be booked for up to 12 people. And the set-up is perfect for special-occasion group hangs: whether your preference is for games in the garden, sitting around the firepit or using the telescopes for stargazing. There’s a shared parlour, library and kitchen space where you’ll find a fully stocked trolley for self-service aperitifs. There’s no restaurant on-site, which helps reinforce the feeling of privacy – it’s as though you’ve found yourself at the country estate of an eccentric aristocrat.
Co-owner Larissa Wolf-Tasker says the dedicated concierge service makes Dairy Flat feel a bit like a mix between a luxury hotel and a country house. Your concierge will prepare breakfast and snacks, mix drinks and organise activities. Basically, Wolf-Tasker says, you’ll have someone on hand to make sure your group’s every food-and-drink need is met. “Negroni? Picnic baskets? Afternoon games set up in the gardens? The firepit [lit]? Of course.”
You might want a picnic basket filled with local treats (perhaps charcuterie from Istra and a rosé from nearby Passing Clouds winery) to take to the orchard so you can sit under the shade of apple, pear and quince trees. You can book a farmhouse dinner on-site or have the barbeques fired up. As the sun sets you might decide to kick back in the outdoor cedar hot tub overlooking the vines.
When you wake in the morning you’ll get breakfast and a delivery of slow-fermented sourdough loaves and pastries – maybe a blackberry or rhubarb danish – from the private Dairy Flat Bake House, which supplies many of the region’s best restaurants. It’s helmed by Michael James (co-founder of Melbourne’s celebrated Tivoli Road Bakery), who also hosts sourdough masterclasses. Book a class to learn to make variations on slow-fermented loaves and lemon curd-filled doughnuts.
The farm provides electric bikes – and Passing Clouds is just a 10-minute cycle away. Book ahead for its popular set menu based around meat slow-roasted over coals. Also nearby, Daylesford Cider has a cellar door for tastings, woodfired pizza and plenty of outdoor space for bocce.
Head into Daylesford proper for two of the town’s newly opened hotspots: Winespeake Cellar and Deli for lo-fi wines and an extensive cheese list; and Beppe Kitchen & Bar, a buzzing trattoria and pizza joint with aperitivo and cicchetti (Venetian-style bar snacks) hour.
Further afield, there’s more dining and drinking options in Kyneton: try Fook Shing, which offers pan-Asian dishes in a restored Gold Rush-era hotel. There’s also charcuterie and gin flights at the Animus Distillery, and at the more casual end of the spectrum, there’s small-batch wines and food-truck fare on the lawn at Musk Lane Vineyard.
Dairy Flat Lodge and Farm is located at 238 Dairy Flat Road, Musk.