Home features travel Daylesford’s Lake House and Harvest Festival



Daylesford’s Lake House and Harvest Festival

April 2013

  • Hannah Bambra.

Daylesford is a haven for escapees from the city.

The abundance of natural mineral springs in the Hepburn Shire has enticed holistic therapists to flock to the area, now rich with day spas and resorts. The most famous, and arguably the first, is Daylesford’s Lake House.

Before Alla Wolf-Tasker opened the establishment in 1984 there were no destination restaurants in the country, and no-one travelled out expecting to stumble across gourmet dining or luxury.

Now in its 30th year of operation, Lake House is one of Australia’s leading retreats. The name comes from its topography as the terraces of its buildings stretch alongside Lake Daylesford. The five star hotel also boasts six acres of plants and vegetation. Their two chef hat restaurant uses herbs and produce from the property’s kitchen garden. At this time of the year the team begin foraging for wild mushrooms, picking the last of the tomatoes and getting ready for plum season. Down the road Istra prepare their prosciutto and local organic farms produce their heirloom varieties.

“People from Melbourne bring an esky when they come and stay,” says Wolf-Tasker with pride. “They will collect as they visit farms or fisheries and ask us to keep it in the cool room overnight. The next night they can enjoy a bottle of local wine with maybe a leg of lamb, and it will remind them of the region.”

Wolf-Tasker and her associates have played an integral role in linking local producers and suppliers to keep the produce in the region and create a local food system. The Harvest Week Festival, running this year from late April to early May, is a mark of their triumph. Cellar Doors run Harvest specials and tasting plates of what is in season. Lake House hosts a series of lunches and exclusive events in which they showcase goods and expertise. The hotel also runs autumn classes with a handful of Australia’s best chefs and a specialist winemaker who demonstrates recipes, allowing an intimate crowd to taste food and wine as they craft the dishes from scratch.

Wolf-Tasker lives in a community with a flourishing tourism industry, its produce and people at the roots of its growth and success. “I carry the memory of how things used to be,” she says. Wolf-Tasker is the daughter of Russian migrants and, as a young child, would go on drives with her parents out to their summer house in the region. They would stop at the gates of farms with boxes of apples or a sign up advertising freshly laid eggs. She is beginning to notice younger people constructing boards of local cheeses, fruit and meat for their friends. People are starting to reconnect with real food

Wolf-Tasker believes that we have turned full circle, since the beginning the fast and frozen food craze, and have returned to an interest in knowing where our food comes from and what difference that makes. Harvests were once the pinnacle of communal celebration. Lake House and this week-long festival invite you to ‘meet the locals’ and celebrate the joys of the autumnal harvest with them over a glass of wine.


Lake House
4 King St, Daylesford
(03) 5348 3329

The Harvest Week Festival
April 26 – May 5
Various locations, program online




Latest Edition

January Issue
January Issue
December Issue
December Issue
November 2013
November 2013


Ludovico Einaudi – Walk