The District

Hillcrest House is located only 1.5 hours  drive from Melbourne and less than a 30 minutes to Daylesford, Ballarat and Creswick.

Victoria’s Goldfields region is the epicentre of Australia’s love affair with quality smallholder and sustainable food growing. From organic orchards to rare breed farms, the area is rich in delicious produce – a fact evidenced by its equally abundant supply of hatted restaurants, cafes, provender stores and farmers’ markets.

The village of Clunes, with its nineteenth century streetscape, has featured in many movies and television series, including the first Mad Max film, Ned Kelly, and Tomorrow When The War Began. Clunes also has an annual book festival and contains five permanent bookshops – more than most towns ten times its size.

Heading east, the twin towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs – 30 minutes from Clunes — are literal and figurative centres of Australia’s slow food revolution. Set against the vast expanse of the Wombat State Forest, the towns contain some of Australia’s most awarded restaurants, as well as some of its most distinguished nineteenth and twenty-first century architecture. Dotted around the region, away from the population centres, are a number of hidden foodie gems, each offering unforgettable experiences. There’s the Swiss Mountain Hotel, for instance, in the locality of Blampied, the beautiful Tuki Trout Farm at Stoney Rises, and a collection of family-owned cool-climate wineries near the hamlet of Glenlyon.

The regional city of Ballarat – population 99,000 – is half an hour away by car. Known for its gold-rush mansions, exclusive private schools, and wide tree-lined streets, “the Rat” contains department stores, shopping centres, hospitals, government departments, universities, conference facilities and all the other services needed for modern living. And Melbourne – population four million, and regularly ranked among the best cities in the world – is easily reached by freeway in just 90 minutes, or by regular train services from Ballarat, Creswick and Clunes.