3 hours outside of Melbourne, hot and isolated, but on the main road, is the amazing Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, find our abour Mr Smith’s visit in January 2016…

Afer picking up the hire car in the centre of Melbourne, setting up the sat nav and loading the car it was time to go.

The destination was about 3 hours away and was going to be home for a couple of nights.  Mr Smith was not sure what it would be like, but he was hoping/expecting a nice relaxing couple of days, very food focused and some time to chill out.  He was not disappointed in anyway at all.

The drive out from Melbourne was fine, just follow the sat nav and head out.  Then you hit the open road and basically do not need to do a great deal until you hit Dunkeld.  A few towns on the way, but they are a good distance between each other.  The driving is so different to the UK, much more pleasant.

It was a good job that the beast of the car had air con with temperatures being in the high 30’s, a very hot time of the year.

After about 3 hours Mr Smith arrived in Dunkeld and easily found The Royal Mail Hotel.  After all, it is on the main road.  Pulling in, parking and going to the room, the expecations were rising that this was going to be a good couple of days.

Entering the room the relaxation hit straight away.  Mr Smith knew that the journey was worth it when he stepped out on to the balcony with a glorious view of The Grampians.  And relax!

The Hotel

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There will be a seperate post about the restaurant at the hotel, but all Mr Smith will say for now is what an experience!

Was there a plan for the couple of days at the hotel, no not really.  It was all about relaxing, a bit of exploring and of course some running.  The running around there was going to be tricky and very early in the morning.  It was too hot for anything more than a short run, but getting out along the Riverside Walk for a run first thing was stunning.  Running with kangaroo’s around and not much else, blissful isolation.

Mr Smith did take time to do some strolling around exploring Dunkeld, a very nice little village and the Riverside Walk was very interesting and a great discovery was the art work on the route.  A very pleasant surprise.  The strolling was very relaxing and really helped clear the mind.

There is not a lot to do in Dunkeld, but that does not matter as Mr Smith had a car, and did not feel the need to be doing things for the sake of doing them.  However, it was time to head off and go for a drive and explore.  This is something that is not done very often and made a very pleasant change.  The scenery is stunning, getting in to the Grampians and hitting the mountain roads was good fun.  Getting out and going for a stroll to find a waterfall was interesting, there was a dribble of water and not much else.  Mind you it was scorching and over 40c by this point.

Dunkeld and The Grampians

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Given the focus that Mr Smith has on food he had to take up the chance of the tour the hotel offers of the Kitchen Garden.  Not knowing what to expect it came as a huge, pleasant surprise when they got there.  Meeting the chef at the hotel and jumping in the car we nipped over to their nearby Kitchen Garden.

The view was stunning of the mountains and when we went through the gates to the garden we were greeted by a very big garden growing some amazing produce, all for the restaurant.  It is so nice to be able to get this insight and belief in the ethos of the restaurant.  It certainly explains the quality of the food Mr Smith had the night before.

The best part was their pest control system, the ducks!

The only bad part was walking through the poly tunnel, it was 46c in there!

As we were walking around the chef was explaining the plants and what they did with them, whilst others were picking for that nights service.  Amazing stuff

Kitchen Garden Tour

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To finish off the experience at the hotel Mr Smith went to check out the animal sanctuary they have as part of their property.  This is very focused on native animal conservation, not showing animals off.  If it was Mr Smith would not have gone.  However, this is purely about conservation of native species.

It was a great insight in to animals that are very foreign to Mr Smith and good to hear about how they are helping preserve species.  Definitely worth a visit and one that Mr Smith is pleased to have gone to.

Native Wildlife

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All in all this was a perfect little escape from the city.  Combined with the beauty of the area, the incredibly friendly welcome, the staff and the food, it was just what the doctor ordered.  Would Mr Smith make the journey out again?  Of course he would.  If nothing else he might have to go back at a weekend to do the one thing he could not do, which was to vist the wine cellar, those tours are not run during the week.

More information can be found out on the hotels website or from Mr & Mrs Smith.  Mr Smith is not associated to either organisation.

Royal Mail Hotel

Mr & Mrs Smith

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