Radio Springs Hotel, Lyonville review: Homely country pub

Read our writer's views on this property below

Hilda Quiroga settles into a pub with no TV but lots of charm and live music.

Friends who have made a tree change to Trentham told me about their local pub, the Radio Springs Hotel, once owned by radio personality Ernie Sigley. It's tucked away on a lonely road, 13 kilometres from Trentham and when we arrive in the afternoon the sun-speckled verandah beckons.

It's arranged with a motley collection of outdoor chairs and tables, there are antique bottles on a shelf, and an old piano. It's a bit like walking into a trash and treasure market.

Appropriately, the screen door creaks open and it feels like we've walked into someone's living room, with a sunken couch littered with cushions, old books leaning on each other, board games lying around and a few locals at the bar. Owners Ken Parfrey and Jackie Airey welcome us like old friends and show us to our room.

I love the bed, plump with pillows, and there's an antique wardrobe in the corner as well as a bookshelf packed with a set of encyclopaedias. The bathroom is plain but functional, although I bang my elbow in the small shower twice.

The bedroom leads out to a back verandah that is as jumbled as the front but ideal for catching the sinking sun. There are only three guest rooms and the feeling is of being a guest at a friend's house.

The Radio Springs Hotel is not fancy but offers hospitality and quirky surrounds. The living room has a fireplace, heavy drapes and an array of couches. You can easily curl up and while away the afternoon with a glass of red wine and a game of chess.

Once we have settled in, we head to the front verandah for a cold drink. We strike up conversations with the locals and we settle in for an afternoon and evening of great company.

Live music is a feature of a pub without television or pokies. Most gigs are by local performers; laid back, smooth tunes fill the bar without impeding conversations; just a moody background hum.

In the dining room, white tablecloths lend an air of formality. The food is what you'd expect from a country pub; generous serves, modern food vying with good old-fashioned favourites such as chicken parmigiana and juicy porterhouse. Italian flavours dominate the menu but on Thursdays, Thai food is on offer. Thankfully we aren't in a rush as the meals take a while.

Breakfast served in the dining room is included in the overnight stay and announced by a gentle door knock the following morning. Before we check out, we wander through the rambling, ramshackle garden and notice that work is under way for an outdoor cinema, a perfect addition for summer evenings.

VISITORS' BOOK

Address Corner Main and High streets, Lyonville.

Bookings Phone 5348 5562, see radiospringshotel.com.au.

How much $200 a night for room one, which includes claw-foot bath; $180 a night for rooms two or three, which have a garden balcony and access to garden. Breakfast included for all rooms.

Summary Country charm and unpretentious hospitality.

Getting there Situated between Daylesford and Trentham, off the Daylesford-Trentham Road. Take the Calder or Western highways from Melbourne.

Verdict 15

The score: 19-20 excellent; 17-18 great; 15-16 good; 13-14 comfortable.

All weekends away are conducted anonymously and paid for by Traveller.