WORDS UTE JUNKER
IS IT THE COOL...
of a mellow morning, when soft mists hang low over the lake and drape themselves like shawls across the trees? Is it under the golden glow of the midday sun, when the six acres of gardens offer a thousand shades of green to lose yourself in, from the silvery-leafed olive trees to the darker leaves that frame the sweet-scented, soft-petalled lilacs?
Early afternoon is Larissa Wolf-Tasker’s pick for the loveliest time at Lake House.
The Wolf-Tasker family have innovated and delivered the unparalleled hospitality of this boutique hideaway for more than three decades.
Ask Larissa Wolf-Tasker to name the loveliest hour of the day at Daylesford’s Lake House, and she picks late afternoon.
“The long shadows are starting, there’s often a light breeze across the lake, and people have been napping or lunching or enjoying some pampering,” says Larissa, part of the Wolf-Tasker family that have innovated and delivered the unparalleled hospitality of this boutique hideaway more than three decades.
“The lunch service has finished, the dinner crowd is starting to think about getting ready for aperitivo hour: everyone is content and relaxed.”
When it comes to relaxation, Lake House has you covered. Every corner of their property invites you to wind down: from the richly decorated rooms to the sun-soaked lakefront terrace, from the elegantly-executed meals to spa treatments delivered with a canopy view.
Salus Spa, Lake House.
It’s an effect that has been perfected over three decades. Back in 1984, Larissa’s parents, Alla and Allan, took the bold step of opening a European-style regional restaurant in a country that had yet to embrace destination dining. At the time, Daylesford was just another rundown country town, and the concept of food miles had yet to be invented.
Alla Wolf-Tasker AM understood the importance of eating seasonal and local. She painstakingly built relationships with the handful of growers in the area; she was famous for buying anything that people delivered to her kitchen door, from crates of strawberries to a basket of foraged mushrooms. Thanks to her ongoing advocacy, and her involvement with growers, the Daylesford area has become known as one of Australia’s richest food regions, and Lake House has become an icon of Australian dining.
Seasonal and local, since 1984.
Wellness in all the details.
The Wolf-Taskers don’t sit still, however. Over the years, the restaurant evolved into a boutique hotel, one which is constantly finding new ways to pamper their guests. Today visitors can book private classes in yoga, tai chi, photography and art, but the essence of Lake House still rests in the idea of connecting with a place through its food.
“People are more conscious than ever before of looking after their wellbeing, of being conscious of what they are putting into their bodies – and we see that interest just keeps growing,” Larissa says.
To that end, Lake House recently launched its own 38-acre farm, growing produce to supplement the supply from local growers. Just a short drive from Lake House, Dairy Flat Farm includes five acres of vegetable gardens, an orchard, an olive grove and a vineyard. Tours of the farm have become popular with guests. “To be able to immerse yourself in that sort of experience is a luxury that people are hungry for,” Larissa says.
Pure goodness from Lake House’s nearby Dairy Flat Farm.
Produce from the farm doesn’t just end up on your plate. Staff at Lake House spa, set among the treetops in a quiet corner of the property, now use farm-grown ingredients in their treatments, which are as seasonal as the restaurant cuisine.
“In the middle of winter, we’re working with pine, eucalypt and red clays. In the summer months, we’re looking at refreshing ingredients such as aloe, cucumber and peppermint,” Larissa says.
A stay at Lake House is about uncovering the layers of both the property and the area that surrounds.
A stay at Lake House is about uncovering the layers of both the property and the area that surrounds. That may include browsing the galleries and boutiques of Daylesford, strolling through the hotel’s expansive gardens, or discovering some of the secret places on the property – such as the studio of Allan Wolf-Tasker, an acclaimed artist.
“Guests know how intrinsic he was in the development of the property, they have seen his paintings, inspired by the landscapes and waterways of Daylesford, hanging on the walls in the restaurant and the rooms. When they discover that they are able to pop in and see him in his studio, they are thrilled.”
One thing remains certain about Lake House: although it will keep evolving, it will always retain its commitment to the personal touch.
“The true essence of luxury is service that is professional, that is unobtrusive, that brings you things before you know you want them,” Larissa says. “It is the person who asks you whether you’d like a fire lit, or who lets you know that new products have arrived in the spa and that you can go have a play with them, or who asks if you would like to wander down to the pizza oven because something’s happening there.
“We have a village of people who are here to make sure you have the best time you can.”
A multi-talented family, Allan Wolf-Tasker, Owner and Artist in Residence.
A long lunch.
TAI CHI, QIGONG & MEDITATION
Master Diederik Haneveld draws on more than 30 years of experience in helping guests disconnect and find the present in 90 minute tuitions at Lake House.
While the breathing exercises at the core of Qigong and meditation have been around for centuries, they’ve maybe never been more important - or widely embraced - as the age of technology we find ourselves in.
Haneveld also teaches Tai Chi, less dynamic than martial arts but with more movement than pure meditation, and where you’ll find balance, stability, patience and awareness.
And if you don’t know your Tai Chi from your Qigong, be at ease - classes are designed for beginners.
Mornings on the Lake.