My wife was arriving on an international flight into Tullamarine at 8.45pm on an Easter Sunday evening and we wanted something not too far from the airport but in the countryside, vaguely in the direction of Canberra, where we were heading the following day. Much Googling threw up the Campaspe as fitting the bill - only 40 minutes from Tullamarine and off a quiet lane on the edge of the these-days sleepy small town of Woodend, bypassed some years ago by the Melbourne-Bendigo Calder Freeway.
The Campapse is a 1920s two-storey villa, surrounded by a beautiful leafy Edna Walling garden. The hotel has expanded to include a more modern accommodation annex plus outdoor swimming pool but the hotel's attraction is the original largely unchanged building. It features a fine verandahed entrance of the period and, in the downstairs public areas, lots of timber panelling, nice open fires, a pretty billiards room and (my wife tells me) a charmingly original ladies' bathroom.
There was a nice surprise about room prices. The modern annex rooms feature 'en-suite' bathrooms but there are two upstairs bedrooms in the original house which don't and are cheaper. Ours was generously-proportioned with a king-size bed and a delightful early-twentieth century 'Coo-ee' brand corner basin. The loo and shower were in the adjoining corridor and shared with the other bedroom - which was not a problem at all.
The antique theme doesn't extend to the dining area which is modern and overlooks the pool area. But it's all done nicely, including with proper linen table cloths and napkins. Good cooked breakfast.
Woodend is a good base for local exploring. The thriving main street has the usual collection for the area of fine old Victorian buildings; the famous and eerie Hanging Rock is just outside town; and there are many other places of interest nearby (e.g. Bendigo, Malmsbury, Maldon, Castlemaine). Those with an interest in Geelong Grammar School will be interested that the original Clyde School - later remembered as Clyde House at the Corio campus - survives outside the town as Braemar College. One of Clyde School's girls was Joan Lindsay, author of 'Picnic at Hanging Rock', who set the school depicted in the film at Woodend (though the building featured in the 1975 Peter Weir film is the much more impressive Martindale Hall, in South Australia's Clare Valley).
Only slight negatives - the pipes were a little noisy when the other upstairs guests used the loo, bathroom etc. And the kitchen staff were a bit insensitive with noise in the morning - their music and chatter was obtrusive both into the upstairs bedrooms and dining room.
But overall highly recommended.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A comfortable 50 minute drive north of Melbourne, Campaspe Country House sits nestled in the center of the beautiful Macedon Ranges - a region that just begs to be explored, with its cool climate wineries, antique stores, grand gardens and dramatic natural beauty (including the mysterious Hanging Rock). The property is also perfectly situated on the edge of the picturesque village of Woodend, with its burgeoning café scene, artisans and historic buildings. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Campaspe Country House Woodend, Australia - Victoria