A Perfect Country Retreat
Daylesford is a beautiful town located in central Victoria. It is fortunate to have been the location of two major mineral discoveries in the past – natural mineral spring waters and gold minerals. Both of these huge findings in the 1800’s have made this Victorian town in Australia the delightful haven it is today and the perfect country retreat.
It’s a popular day trip or weekend getaway from busy Melbourne, for locals and tourists. Only 1.5 hours drive from the city through some serene countryside and you’re there, ready to unwind.
If you are lucky enough to be planning a trip, here is my quick guide on what to do in Daylesford.
Five million years ago volcanic activity in this area at the foot of the Great Dividing Range formed the mineral springs. Indigenous Australians who inhabited the region knew the waters had ‘miracle’ healing qualities for many ailments. In the 1830s Europeans also discovered the special water, while digging for gold.
Soon the word spread and bathhouses were built. People were coming to bathe in the waters and drink their fill, to help cure them of their skin conditions, aches and other health problems.
The broader area around Daylesford is well-known for having 80 percent of Australia’s mineral springs.
One of the main attractions in Daylesford would undoubtedly be the Day Spas which have flourished here over the years. People flock here to enjoy the many health benefits of the Spa and wellness retreats.
They certainly do a roaring trade, with tourists and city-folk wanting to escape for some serious rejuvenation treatments.
The spas offer more than 200 different types of treatments to indulge in (I can’t even imagine that many), including mineral baths, steam rooms, salt pools, massages, body wraps and facials. It is a veritable mecca here for wellness and luxury pampering.
Some of the best spa and wellness experiences in the area are:
- Lake House Daylesford
- Daylesford Day Spa
- Daylesford Healing Massage
- Mineral Spa Hepburn Springs
- Eko Day Spa Daylesford
Mineral Spring Water
You can also drink, and bottle the spring water, as much as you want, at the many springs located around town, like this one below.
Snazzy fact: All the springs taste a little different due to the variation in mineral components, some more pleasant tasting than others.
Old Gold Mining Town
Daylesford was once a gold mining town and attracted Swiss Italians in the mid-1800s who came to discover gold here. These Europeans settled here and built properties with their wealth from the gold they found. The Italo-Swiss style of architecture is evident in some of the historic buildings.
They were also drawn to the mineral springs here too, of course. Can you believe their luck!
Lake Daylesford is about 20 minutes walk from the main shops and is a delightful spot to spend a few hours, if you can drag yourself away from all the pampering, that is.
A man-made lake, it was the location of the gold digging in the past. It is absolutely lovely around here. People enjoy swimming, sun-baking, paddle boating, and having picnics here. It’s a great alternative to the beach for a fun family day out. I love lakes for their calming effect.
The Boathouse restaurant/cafe at the lake is a wonderful spot to dine on the water’s edge and take it all in. I spent a few hours here on the walking tracks around the lake, admiring the scenery.
Delightful geese and ducks wander around the banks of the lake and swim. They are not scared of people at all and seem to be always ready for a selfie with you.
Near the lake you will find Sailors Waterfall where you can take the hike and enjoy nature and the lovely bush scenery, with the creek, wildflowers and wildlife along the way.
The local cider distillery is Daylesford Cider Company, offering tavern-style cellar door tastings everyday and a restaurant serving light meals and platters. Check website for details.
Daylesford Sunday Market
The Market runs every single Sunday and is somewhat of an institution here. Located at the Daylesford Railway Station, its a lovely way to spend a couple of hours, browsing crafts, homewares, food and local produce.
Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
If you love anything lavender then you must visit Lavandula. Here you can enjoy 100 acres of gardens and wildlife, and the many lavender products made on the premises. There is also an eatery and bar to enjoy whilst taking in the views.
Sault Estate Daylesford
125 Acres of gardens, including lavender and sunflowers, to wander and enjoy here at Sault. The Sault Restaurant on-site is a fine dining experience, if you’re after something special at one of the regions top foodie establishments.
Other things to do in Daylesford
There are lovely shops on Vincent Street, where you will find homewares, clothing, gifts and more.
Also on Vincent St are some fabulous food places – bakeries, cafes and restaurants. I ate at a funky Italian place called Bocconcini, which I recommend.
The Daylesford Pub is also very popular, and just opposite the pub there is a great little ice cream shop, which I researched for you (you’re welcome), and it was delicious.
Also here in Daylesford is the Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens that are over 150 years old. Apparently they are situated on top of an old volcano and spread over 10 acres.
Art galleries are aplenty here in Daylesford, the biggest one being Convent Gallery. There are many of them along Vincent Street.
Accommodation recommendations in Daylesford
If you’re after a luxury stay in Daylesford, I recommend The Luxe Daylesford.
Wanting to stay somewhere with the whole family? Then The Barn Daylesford is a delightful 100 year old property with heaps of room in a casual setting.
For a small group who wants a little luxury, a sojourn at The Azure Daylesford is sure to please.
If a country cottage is more your style then a cosy stay at Briars Loft Daylesford will be perfect.
The perfect country retreat, Daylesford is definitely worth visiting for a day trip or preferably a couple of days. You will surely leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Snazzy Tip: Weekends can get very busy, with the town’s population sometimes doubling. So a visit during the week is ideal if you want some quiet time.
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Bye for now.