One night in Daylesford is not enough. Best known as a spa town in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Daylesford is known as a place to eat well and rejuvenate in its bubbling waters or amongst nature.
Heading up for a girls weekend to Daylesford, I decided to extend my trip in order to really get to know the area and spend some time away from the city.
Daylesford sprung up in 1852 as a gold-mining town and even today you need a whole lot of gold to afford the very best rooms in the town. I did not want to spend a casual $750 per night on accommodation in Daylesford, nor did I want to spend $300 on a five-star chain hotel in the town center; I wanted something a little more unique and so my quest to find boutique accommodation near Daylesford began.
That’s how I found out about the Spud Diggers Hut at Hesket Estate.
Hesket Estate’s Spud Digger Hut
While Daylesford may be the best-known town in the area, within the Macedon Ranges there are dozens of quaint towns and villages waiting to be explored.
With my accommodation near Daylesford booked and the girls headed back to Melbourne after a slice or three of the wood-fired pizzas at Daylesford Cider Co., I began the short journey (around 35 minutes) from Daylesford to Hesket with clear instructions on how to access the hut.
It’s easy. Just 4 kilometres away from the infamous Hanging Rock and walking distance from Woodend and Romsey, you’ll find the village of Hesket.
Crunching my way up the gravel driveway, the vineyard to the left and right of my car, the cutest little cottage came into sight at the top of the driveway.
I knew I was in the country when I noticed the key was left in the door for me to collect, a ribbon attached to it happily waving in the breeze.
There is a story behind why it is called the Spud Diggers Hut. The fertile soils and the cold winters at altitude are perfect for growing potatoes! The huts housed those tending to the potato patches – many soldiers who had returned from war – came to stay. Today, it is a cozy boutique self-contained 3-room apartment on a working winery.
Walking straight into the kitchen, the light streaming through the stained glass windows, made the area feel a lot larger than it is. It has a small breakfast area (which doubled as my work area during my stay!) overlooking the vines that run up, almost, to the porch of the hut.
The bedroom/lounge is cozy. A comfortable queen bed with pressed sheets and comfortable quilt under the high ceilings exposed wooden beams. There’s a large tan leather chair in the corner next to the antique wood heater. You won’t need to use the wood heater, even on the coolest winter night, as a powerful split system air conditioner/heater is in the room and will keep you toasty.
The bathroom has been fully remodelled with skylights letting in lots of sunlight and modern fittings, including a large stand-in shower, toiletries by Aesop and a hairdryer.
It is a quaint mixture of modern appliances and fittings, with a touch of original features and country love.
There is WiFi but in the hut but it’s not the strongest. I stayed there for a bit of a digital detox, so it was perfect to check my email and do some light work, but you’ll need to sit outside the cellar door to get strong and stable WiFi.
Alex and Elizabeth are great hosts. Soft freshly baked bread was waiting in the kitchen, with eggs, milk, yogurt, strawberries and other breakfast supplies waiting in the fridge ready for a fry-up. If you ask, they’ll even include a bottle of their Estate made wine in; which of course I wanted to try!
After heading out for sunset at Mount Macedon and then driving 25km for the best cheeseburger in the Macedon Ranges (Hat tip to Kyneton’s Major Tom’s for your delicious burgers, lovely staff and super cool vibes); I finally made my way back to Hesket Estate for the night.
As I drove up the driveway, I happened to notice a furry critter scuttling across the driveway and hiding under the wine tasting house.
Hearing me coming up the driveway, Alex and Elizabeth had come outside to say hello. The creature? It was one of the wombats on the Estate that like to live under the Tasting Room!
They also let me know if I had come a little earlier for sunset, the field out the front of the Spud Diggers Hut is full of kangaroos and told me to say Ooroo (that’s Australian for “hello”) to their two dogs – a Border Collie Smithfield cross called King and a Corgi – who live in kennels not far from the hut.
Bidding Alex and Elizabeth goodnight – and having been promised a tour of the winery the next day – I grabbed the bottle of Hesket Estate wine, punnet of strawberries, Ferrero Rochers that Elizabeth had left on the kitchen table, and a pillow; laying them out my picnic rug in the grassed area next to the Spud Diggers Hut and settled in for an evening of fresh air and entertainment courtesy of the thousands of tiny lights (and one shooting star) that hung above me. Perfection.
Hesket Estate: a Family Run Vineyard in the Macedon Ranges
Alex kept his promise and the following morning set about giving me a tour of their boutique winery.
Set at 660 meters above sea level, Hesket Estate is a boutique cool climate vineyard run by the Hudspeth Stevenson family. Their handpicked grapes go into creating their Estate range of award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Reisling. They also produce a Heathcote Shiraz, Heathcote Sangiovese, Sparkling Blanc de Noir and – my personal favourite – a bold Gewürztraminer, in partnership with another local producer.
You won’t see their wines in your local bottle shop; instead, the family grows limited quantities of exceptional wines that specifically pair well with food. You can find Hesket Estate wines in some of Australia’s best restaurants.
The cellar door at Hesket Estate is open only once a month (first weekend of the month, generally Saturday 2 pm – 6 pm and Sunday 11 am – 6 pm) or by appointment, so keep an eye out for your chance to visit. Better still, follow their Facebook for events which combine great food and wine.
If you want quirk, charm and some of the finest (and most reasonably priced) accommodation near Daylesford then the Spud Diggers Hut at Hesket Estate is the place to go. I think I’ll be booking in again soon!
856 Romsey Rd
Hesket VIC 3442
To book your stay at the Spud Diggers Hut:
Book directly with Elizabeth || More information
Book through airbnb || Click here
Sign up to Airbnb through this link and
receive $55 credit towards your first stay!
Read more about Victoria:
Fine Food & Wine on the Bellarine Peninsula (near Geelong)
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