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Yarra Valley, Vic
Badger Avenue, Healesville (exact address upon booking)
Phone: (03) 5962 4002
The Location In recent years the town of Healesville, just an hour out of Melbourne, has reinvented itself as a foodie haven. The Australian wildlife zoo at Healesville Sanctuary remains a major drawcard, but the town buzzes with weekend visitors keen to graze and stock their larders or cellars with the region's wine and produce.
The Place Harvest House, one of two accommodation options at Harvest Farm, is an old-world cottage that has been modernised with a loving eye. It sits on a gentle hill just behind Healesville Sanctuary. Personal touches abound - fresh garden flowers in every room, handmade soaps, a wood-burning fire, and kitchen stocked with local olive oil and delightfully sharp knives. It has two king-size bedrooms (one can be a twin) with quality linen, a generous spa bath and a petite patio to the rear where you can watch the mist roll off the mountains to the north.
The Experience If the kids wake you early, start the day with a meander through the property's vegetable garden, a peek at the tree house or a gentle scratch of the noses of the resident horses. Gourmands can spend a morning trawling through the delicatessens, cellar doors and second-hand shops in Healesville, while the activity-inclined get a dose of fresh air on the walking tracks that start at the Badger Weir picnic ground, just up the road.
Don't Miss If you haven't sampled the delights of Healesville Sanctuary (03 5957 2800), then it's well worth a visit. Otherwise, a picturesque, five-minute drive away is the TarraWarra Museum of Art (03 5957 3100), which has changing exhibitions as well as an established collection.
Need to know
Cost: $275 a night for two people, second bedroom an additional $100 a night. Minimum two-night stay.
Distance: 65km (1 hour's drive) north-east of Melbourne.
Pets: Yes, $30 a dog.
wheelchair access: limited.