Where the trees meet the sky
We love the Daylesford/Hepburn Springs area. We had enjoyed a great day visit there before we got married, so it was a natural destination for romance for us.
This time we went for the night and stayed at Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat. Peppers has a great reputation in Australia and New Zealand for providing wonderful places to escape from the stress of city life!
In 1984, the Peppers brand was conceived when Mike and Suzi O’Connor opened Peppers Guest House in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Their vision was to create a contemporary style guesthouse offering relaxation in luxury surrounds. It proved an instant success and within 18 months the property expanded to include conference facilities and an additional 18 guest rooms.
Once we decided to take a romantic break, I searched for
affordable suitable accommodation. At this time of the year, at short notice, that wasn’t easy to do without spending more than our budget could stand. I was happily surprised to be able to book Peppers for less than half the price of another well-known resort in the area. Dinner, breakfast and an hour of water therapy were all included.
On New Year’s Day Mr O and I set off for our first romantic time away since my family came home! We arrived at Peppers to be pleasantly surprised by an upgrade to Villa accommodation. This was the view from our upstairs bedroom verandah – serenity! The title shot was looking up from the downstairs patio. The beautiful green against the blue of the clear sky was soothing.
The bathroom contained a spa bath large enough for two. Mr O is not the shortest man on earth and we were pleased to find the bath was very comfortable! I’ve resisted the temptation to publish a photo of him, head peeking out from the bubbles! You’ll just have to imagine! Instead, let me share with you part of the wonderful garden we could see from our water therapy session.
We moved our water therapy appointment to later in the afternoon and enjoyed a lovely lunch delivered to our villa. A Tiki Me cocktail each was a refreshing accompaniment!
The water therapy was wonderful. I didn’t take any photos, but I can say it was just as attractive as the brochure, something that is a rarity in itself. Two mineral spa pools, a plunge pool, saunas, a steam room and a lovely restful outdoor area to just drink in the sounds of silence and gaze over the immaculate gardens to the bush beyond. I should have taken photos, for as we looked out over the gardens I mentioned to Mr O there was a wombat. Mr O couldn’t see the wombat, but he could see a rock. I was convinced it was a wombat. Mr O was right, of course, it was a rock. He now knows why I need glasses!
Dinner was delightful. I am not a food writer so I’m not going to analyse the flavours! Mr O tried to convince me that a third course was not really necessary. I rarely have dessert (doesn’t fit the weight loss programme at all) but this was a special evening. I convinced him. I discovered later he had never actually had a western-style dessert before. He was in seventh heaven, I think!
“I am always making sure I leave room for dessert in future!” were his words once we were back in our villa.
We enjoyed a quiet drink, talked a lot about cultural differences and missing old friends who live far away, watched a little soccer and retired to the very comfortable bed. I usually have trouble sleeping in a strange bed and often beds away from home are not quite as good as one would like. This was lovely.
Breakfast was perfect. Mr O enjoyed his scrambled eggs, sausages, tomatoes and mushrooms while I indulged in the bacon rather than the sausages, followed by a little fruit salad.
After a leisurely stroll back through the gardens, which Mr O could not stop admiring, we rested and finished our escape with a spa. It was time to leave the relaxation and return to the hustle and bustle of city life.
An easy one hour drive back to Melbourne with a stop in Woodend for a milkshake and coffee. Whether you are Victorian or a visitor to our state, we highly recommend Peppers. They have won a great list of awards and we can see why! The staff were lovely: nothing was too much trouble. We’ll certainly be back. I also want to visit the Peppers near the Daintree which I have drooled over many times! Our one suggestion to visitors would be make sure you pack insect repellant! Aussie mozzies can be “wicked insects”, quoting Mr O. They felt we were deliciously tasty, driving us indoors at a time we were really enjoying looking up at the stars sparkling above us.
A few other shots from our time away: