For a farm experience down under, stay at the bucolic Royal Mail Hotel, located about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne at the southern edge of Grampians National Park. The hotel’s most peaceful lodgings are the bluestone cottages on the Mt. Sturgeon Estate, once used as housing for sheepshearers, now equipped with fireplaces and kitchenettes, but no televisions or phones. Food is also one of the main draws here: Executive chef Dan Hunter picks ingredients from the hotel’s sprawling backyard garden and orchards. During a sunset walk after a meal that included homegrown heirloom tomatoes, I spotted a flock of sheep grazing under a lavender sky.
Royal Mail Hotel, 61/(0) 3-5577-2241, from $142. This appeared in the May/June 2010 issue.