As popular now as it was then, the Daylesford & Macedon Ranges region in Victoria is undoubtedly one of the best weekend getaway destinations in Australia. Often seen as a place of calm and healing, this charming town and the surrounding region are filled with effervescent mineral springs, exquisite flavours, award-winning cellar doors, and spectacular landscapes for you to discover. We’ve gathered together a list of our favourite things to do on a Daylesford getaway.
Relax and unwind
An escape to Victoria’s Spa Country is an opportunity to leave all your worries and stresses behind. This region boasts over 140 natural mineral springs, rich in magnesium, calcium and silica, that are believed to cure all sorts of afflictions and ailments. The discovery of these springs more than 100 years ago, led to the creation of the Mineral Springs Reserve and later the Hepburn Bathhouse, in Hepburn Springs.
Now there are dozens of places where you can bathe in the healing and restorative natural mineral water, or indulge in relaxing spa treatments designed to invigorate the senses and rejuvenate the body. The historic Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa remains one of the most popular, with its shared or private heated pools, steam rooms, massage therapy and spa treatments. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the more intimate Pepper’s Mineral Spa nearby, where you can spoil yourself with blissful spa baths and amazing dry massages, whilst being surrounded by picturesque views.
See the sights
One of the highlights of every visit is the picturesque Lake Daylesford. This man-made lake in the centre of town was built in 1929 and is frequented by both tourists and locals all year round. Lake Daylesford boasts scenic walks, paddleboats, barbecues, and a popular cafe overlooking the lake called The Boat House, which is the perfect place for brunch or afternoon tea.
Another tranquil place to enjoy is the enchanting Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens. Nestled on top of an extinct volcano on the edge of town, these stunning gardens boast towering trees, shaded avenues and rolling lawns. Here you can enjoy a picnic while taking in the panoramic views of Daylesford and surrounds.
Of course, every inspiring Daylesford story includes a cruise around its charming streetscapes discovering this old gold-mining town’s rich culture and community. If you’re visiting on a weekend, you will definitely want to stop by the regular Sunday Market to meet the friendly locals and shop at the eclectic stalls filled with unique masterpieces, handmade crafts, antique treasures and superb local produce.
Follow your appetite
Indulge in a gourmet adventure when you get to Daylesford, and journey through the region’s spectacular legacy of food and wine that takes the concept of farm-to-table dining to another level. Head to the acclaimed Lake House restaurant and take your pick of sumptuous dishes from their innovative seasonal menu. Alternatively, experience refined Japanese and European fusion prepared from local produce at one of the region’s top dining destinations, Kazuki’s at the Raglan. If Modern Australian cuisine is more your thing, Sault or Mercato are also well worth including in your itinerary.
For those that love wine (and who doesn’t?), be sure to check out some of the impressive cellar doors dotted throughout the Macedon Ranges – including Grange Cleveland Winery and Ellender Estate that are both about an hour’s drive away from Daylesford. Or something closer to town, try the award-winning cold-climate wines paired with wood-fired pizza at Gisborne Peak Winery.
Fresh from the farm
Held on the first Saturday of every month, Daylesford’s Farmers Market is a must-see affair for anyone visiting the region. Local farmers, producers, and vignerons gather at the Daylesford Primary School oval to sell their home-grown products and fresh produce, straight from the soil.
In this once a month event, you will find everything from delicious artisanal cheeses, olive oil, fruits, local honey, preserves, truffles, fresh meat, and even seedlings and plants for the backyard. Since the farmers market is also seasonal, every visit promises to be an exciting surprise.
Other cool things to do
Only a ten-minute drive north of the town centre is Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, a 100-acre iconic property filled with European style gardens and scenic views of the countryside. Here you can enjoy a relaxing walk amongst sprawling flowers and majestic trees, and take a relaxing afternoon tea with delicious pastries in its very own La Trattoria café.
Fancy a country drive? Take a short trip to Mount Macedon where you can enjoy spectacular views from the Major Mitchell Lookout. On the way back, stroll through the gold rush village of Kyneton where you can immerse in its inspiring history, community festivities and cultural events.
Finally, don’t miss out on one of the best things to experience when visiting this region – take a hot air balloon flight over Daylesford. Explore spa country in a luxurious and exhilarating ride, take the perfect travel shot for Instagram, and be amazed by its breathtaking scenery, beautiful waterways and lush forests.
Where To Stay
Complete your getaway to Daylesford with the perfect place to stay. With so many stunning properties in the region, we have something suitable for everyone. If you’re planning a romantic getaway stay at Kurrajong Retreat, Cinque or Elira 1. For an exclusive gourmet experience stay at the famous Lake House – a multi-award winning boutique hotel on the shores of Lake Daylesford. For larger groups, check out The French House (which comes with its own tennis court!) and Helix House.
Inspired to discover all the delights that Victoria’s Spa Country has on offer? Browse and book from our collection of luxury accommodation in Daylesford and surrounds.
Image Credit: Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges & Lake House