If you’re a fan of gorgeous gardens – especially those blooming with gorgeous peonies, read on! You’ love this week’s Ask The Concierge, fresh from the Macedon Ranges area of Victoria…
About the owners
Hello. We are Danielle and Ashley, owners and Lodge-keepers at Crofters Fold Estate, an artisanal Rose and Peony farm and sparkling wine vineyard in the heart of the Macedon Ranges, just an hour north of Melbourne. Our roses are in peak bloom from late November through to April/May each year and our peonies bloom for about three weeks from late November – all in perfect time for Spring, Summer and Autumn and the prime wedding and event season.
We have owned our small parcel of beautiful pastoral land for nearly seven years. However, our connection to the region goes back to the 1800s as my (Danielle’s) family comes from a sixth-generation farming family who first settled in the district in the 1800s around the time of the Gold Rush. We are very much long-time ‘locals’.
We both get a great deal of joy from sharing the tranquil beauty of our flower farm with people who buy flowers from our farm gate and Airbnb guests who stay at our Farmhouse. We love watching them leave their worries and busyness behind as they take in deep breaths of fresh country air and connect to the natural world. Our farmhouse style is as authentic as it is inspiring and its beautiful location and views connect travellers to the natural world while allowing them to unwind in gorgeous surrounds.
What they do on their day off
When we get time to ourselves (which is usually in late Autumn as the wedding and event season slows and after our Roses have started to go dormant), we enjoy taking scenic day-trips in our little, racing-green MG; if the weather permits we remove the top and journey the region’s tree-lined roads through rolling hills peppered with native trees and granite rock with wind in our hair! We’ll always stop to enjoy a coffee/brunch somewhere in one of the nearby little towns – Newham, Kyneton, Woodend, Glenlyon, Daylesford, Hepburn Springs, Malmsbury and Macedon – they’re all an easy and lovely country drive from where our flower farm and Farmhouse Lodge are situated.
Where they take their own guests when they visit
Guests of Crofters Fold Estate really are spoilt for choice; there is something for all seasons so it comes down to what the weather is like and what mood our guests are in. Some travellers just want to keep their stay simple and slow down to enjoy their surrounds; sometimes a secluded getaway for two means just that! We might suggest going for a walk into the nearby bush – it’s an easy trail and it really does allow for some bush bathing and reconnection. Or, for those who would like to meet us and hear a little of our story, then they have the option of booking a Flower Farm tour with us that includes a cuppa, a yarn or two from us and a take-home bunch of our flowers, when in season.
It’s a rainy day but we want to explore, what we should do
Our region is equally lovely in winter; if you’d rather not stay in by the fire reading a good book, watching a movie or catching up on some much-needed peaceful sleep, then why not enjoy a warming soak in the mineral waters at Hepburn Spa, or a cosy, fireside meal cooked by Annie Smithers at Du Fermier in Trentham or sip mulled wine and share a cheese platter at one of the local cheesemakers and wineries. Or, if you feel like some undercover shopping, then The Mill Market in Daylesford and the Castlemaine Bazaar are fabulous starting points – not to mention all the little boutiques in nearby Piper Street in Kyneton. Most of the surrounding villages have galleries, stores and warm and friendly cafes. We love: Fox In The Chamber in Woodend – it’s really worth stopping by for wonderful coffee and vegan options; The Old Auction Rooms in Kyneton for a lovely gallery experience; Red Cart Vintage on Piper Street for the perfect vintage find.
Recommendations for night-time entertainment
With several awarded restaurants in the region and farm-fresh produce, we are brimming with choices when it comes to venturing out in the evenings.
As well as dinner, there are some really vibrant theatre companies; the Bluestone Theatre in Kyneton and The Mount Players in Macedon often have popular shows running. The Castlemaine Theatre Royale is a lovely old movie theatre with lovely pre-show restaurantoptions nearby.
If you’re after a post-dinner or show warming tipple, then try the locally-distilled gin bar Animus Distillery on Piper Street, Kyneton who also do a casual Pizza night on Fridays.
Key phrase or phrases visitors should learn
As we’re in Australia where English is the primary spoken language, we think these phrases are the most common way to get things started:
Hello, my name is …
Can you please tell me where … is?
Where to find the best shopping and souvenirs
For a unique, bespoke experience, we suggest visiting The Chairmaker’s Wife on Piper Street – a curated selection of beautiful practical handmade wares for your home or as a gift.
A child-friendly thing to do or place to go
Whilst our Farmhouse is a getaway for two, our region is perfect for families. Children usually have boundless energy and enjoy adventures that engage their imagination, so we suggest visiting the wonderful Community Parks in either Kyneton or Woodend. Perhaps a walk along a bush tracks to try to spot a kangaroo. Finding a public swimming pool or natural water hole (supervised of course) provides great summer fun, too… Lake Daylesford, Metcalfe Pools, and Turpins Falls. Secret Forest Walks offers guided bush walks for all abilities, as well as treasure hunts. Or, what about a guided Llama trek or children’s party on-farm near Hanging Rock – just 15 minutes drive from our accommodation! All of these activities are within an easy half-hour drive or so of our accommodation. Meanwhile, Yesteryear Today, offers old-world horse-drawn country carriage rides – trips depart just 10 minutes from our accommodation.
Their best-kept secret or favourite hidden treasure
The best-kept secret would have to be the many stunning bush tracks, trails and walks. May we suggest trying your hand at ‘Bush Bathing’ or ‘Forest Bathing’ as it’s sometimes called. This is a Japanese ritual of communing with nature, known as Shinrin-Yoku. The practice need not be complicated. It simply asks participants to slow and immerse themselves in the beauty of the natural surrounds and absorb the ‘green forest medicine’.
Step 1: Turn-off your distracting electronic gadgets (we’d say leave behind, but handy in the unlikely event of an emergency).
Step 2: Walk, lie or sit among the trees perhaps on an open ground below the canopy in the dappled light.
Step 3: Slow your mind, slow your body. Cease all those rushing, interruptive dominating thoughts. Breathe deeply. Breathe slowly.
Step 4: Engage your five senses: Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, Sound.
Step 5: Allow silence. Connect with nature. Feel its rhythms. Relax, Release, Let go. You are part of Nature, not just a visitor. Be.
The best way to get to the airport
We are lucky to be situated less than an hour’s easy drive from Melbourne’s major airport (but we are equally as lucky to be far enough away so as not to be bothered by air or freeway trafficnoise). The Melbourne Airport is a quick 50-minute drive up the Calder Freeway.
The best time of the year to visit
We love all seasons here. Whilst winter is great for getting cosy, perhaps from September to November and again in Autumn from March to May. If guests want to make sure they get to enjoy seeing our flowers, then they will need to book anywhere from late November to April.
Anything else we should know when visiting
We can’t wait to welcome you!
For more information or to book, click here
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Winner, 2019 Scholarship, Grace Rose Farm Masterclass, USA
Winner, 2018 Agribusiness Excellence, Bendigo Bank + MRSC
Winner, 2017 International Agribusiness Fellow, ISS Institute