by James Ridenour
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The Royal Mail Hotel Dunkeld


The Royal Mail Hotel was an incredible experience and one of the nicest vacations I have had in a long time.  I didn’t realise it when I booked but I had been here before in 2002 whilst backpacking around Australia.  There used to be backpacker accommodation on the estate.  This has now been converted to worker’s cottages for the team that help on the sheep farm.  It was wonderful to remember my travels through Australia which ultimately led me back to Melbourne to live.

The Royal Mail Hotel is about a three hour drive from Melbourne through some wonderfully scenic areas.  The town of Dunkeld itself is a small typical Aussie town.  It’s almost blink and you’ll miss it.  Travellers and locals alike have been coming to this luxury travel destination for years in order to enjoy the Grampian Mountain ranges and the wonderful food and accommodation offered at the Royal Mail Hotel.

We stayed in a duplex bluestone cottage which was pet friendly.  We were thrilled to hear they had this option as there are so few places in Australia that are pet friendly and we really wanted to have a holiday with the whole family!

The accommodation was perfect, a large lounge with dining table, fireplace, large bathroom and comfortable bedroom.  There was a deck out back with a rustic outdoor table, easily the best place to enjoy your continental breakfast which is included with your stay.

We also took a day trip to the wonderful coastal town of Portland.  I fell in love with this town.  Portland is a working port so there is a lot of activity.  It’s Victoria’s oldest port so there is some wonderful historic architecture here along with great shops, cafes and a wonderful foreshore park which has a historic tram that runs through it.  The beach was beautiful and we were pleased to see many of the locals out walking their dogs on the beach.

We also ventured about 20 minutes out of Portland to one of Victoria’s most beautiful beaches Bridgewater Beach.  We had a great burger at the Bridgewater Cafe and enjoyed the beach and the million dollar views.

We enjoyed two meals at the Royal Mail Hotel, one in the bistro and the second in the restaurant.  The bistro meal was a la carte and the restaurant meal was the degustation.  Each meal offered up some wonderful selections featuring local produce, much of it from the Royal Mail Hotel’s own gardens.  A few standouts were the tomato tartare and the duck and the desserts which were absolutely first class.

One incredible offering that keeps many regulars coming back again and again is the wine list.  The Royal Mail Hotel has one of Australia’s best wine cellars and it’s clearly a passion of the owner.  In fact I suspect that he may run the entire property and hotel just so that he can have access to some of the world’s best wines as his operation would surely provide greater buying power and access to some of the worlds finest wines.  You will find many of the best French, European, Australian and other new world wines on the epic 108 page wine list.  These include some rare vintages from Chateau Margaux, Chateau Lafite, Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite-Rothchild.

Jeremy the sommelier provided us a wonderful tour of the wine cellar prior to our dinner in the dining room and we marvelled at row after row of some of the world’s best wines.  As you would imagine the wines were matched perfectly with our meal and one of my favourite options of the weekend was selecting a bottle to go!  We took our specially selected 1994 Chateau Leoville Barton from Saint Jullien, France back to the cottage where we enjoyed it whilst playing some cards in front of the fire.  The evening was sublime.

I would happily recommend a getaway to one of Australia’s most beautiful natural areas.  We will surely be back along with our friends.

The Royal Mail Hotel is located at 98 Parker Street, Dunkeld Victoria 3294 and can be contacted on +61 3 5577 2241.  Booking are essential.




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