Peter de Graaf checks into the Aire Valley Guesthouse, in Victoria, Australia.
Location: On the Great Ocean Highway west of Apollo Bay, a 230km drive from Melbourne.
Check-in experience: Informal and welcoming. It feels like dropping in to stay with friends.
Room: With just four to choose from, I opt for the Lake Room overlooking the broad Aire Valley and, no surprises here, a lake. It has a comfy double bed, a ceiling fan, french doors opening on to a deck, and an en suite bathroom. Though the room is in a newish extension to a century-old farmhouse, it has been finished with vintage fittings, giving it a historic feel.
What's in the neighbourhood: The Great Ocean Highway (for road tourers) and the Great Ocean Walk (for hikers), Castle Cove surf beach, and Aire Valley Wildlife Reserve. If you go a little further you'll get to Great Otway National Park, Cape Otway lighthouse and a zipline called the Otway Fly. A striking series of coastal rock formations called the 12 Apostles are about 70km to the west. Food and drink: Host Susie McDonald is an outstanding cook so you won't go to bed hungry. One night I had freshly caught snapper with roast veges; the next was a jungle curry with most ingredients from her own garden. She's also a former winemaker who'll match your dinner with a bottle from her extensive cellar.
The bed: Supremely comfortable, especially after a long day's walk.
Wi-fi: Free but downloads limited.
Noise: None, unless you count the magpies and kookaburras. Australian birds are a raucous lot.
Exercise facilities: The Great Ocean Walk is a short drive away.
What's so good about this place: The setting, food, a communal room with books, art and curiosities, the vege garden and free-range chooks, and an open fire on chilly nights. However, the biggest drawcard is probably Susie, an ebullient wine-maker, cook, art-lover, Francophile and Chinese medicine practitioner.
Perfect for: Bushwalkers on the Great Ocean Walk who don't like camping but do like a fine meal and a comfy bed at the end of the day.
Price: $250 per couple per night or $275 Friday-Sunday. Includes breakfast; dinner is $75 extra.