DAYLESFORD & HEPBURN SPRINGS – THE AUSTRALIAN TRAVELLER GUIDE
A hub for everything relaxation, Daylesford is the ultimate in spas and mineral springs, diningwith a fast emerging wine trail. Along with neighbouring town Hepburn Springs, the Daylesford Macedon Ranges area is largely influenced by it’s Swiss-Italian mining pioneers that settled in the area duriong the gold rush. Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, this indulgent romantic hideaway will satisfy both belly and soul.
WHERE TO STAY
Daylesford is ‘spa central’ asop there is a long tradition of health retreats, some of whioch are still going (thankfully refurbished) today. In other words, there is a bounty of luxurious and affordable accommodation choices dotted throughout the region.
At the higher end of the spectrum there are the full health resorts like Samadhi Spa and Wellness Retreat or Shizuka Ryokan Japanese Country Spa Retreat. We like the more traditional DWA (dirty weekend away) specialist Peppers and Datlesford icon the Lake House or the incredibly sexy self catering Hepburn at Hepburn.
The most prolific accommodation category is the self catering apartments though the booking agency Day Get (formerly Getaways) who have the best range for any budget and service.
WHAT TO DO
With more than 60 natural springs surrounding Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, the first must-do is to take a dip in these mineral-rich waters, believed to cure all sorts of afflictions from acne to arthritis.
The recently renovated historical Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa has the latest in spa treatments with oodles of treatment rooms both wet and dry. Serious spa connoisseurs will spend an enitre day in the complex. All the upmarket accommodation have very good spa offerigns as well – they have to.
After spas, the region is known for an amazing array of speciality providores like La Luna goats cheese and Istra smallgoods in Must. Take a self guided tour, just drop into the toruist information for a map of providores and cellar door – we rate Passing Clouds and the amazing Curly Flat at Hanging Rock. A day trip to Kyneton is well worth it for the shops and food – particulalry Annie Smither’s Bistro.
Get some fresh air on a walk through Hepburn Regional Park and see local wildlife and flowers. The 16-kilometre Tipperary Track also features Sailors Falls, Mount Franklin, the Blowhole and the Hepburn Pool. The Historic Village Walk is also worth consideration, taking you past the Old Macaroni Factory, restored guesthouses and miners’ cottages.
After a day of sight-seeing and a growing appetite, visitors are spoiled for choice with great local produce, restaurants and some 40 wineries in the area. The easiest way to sample local culinary delights is to amble down Daylesford’s Main Road, lined by many award-winning eateries.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The best time of year to visit the area is during spring, due to the mild weather and abundance of wildflowers that spring up in surrounding parklands. Spring also offers several annual events such as the Swiss-Italian Festa in October and the Fabulous Flower Festa in November.
Daily V/Line train and coach services connect Melbourne to Daylesford, as well as Ballarat, Castlemaine and Bendigo. A shuttle bus runs between the Daylesford visitor information centre and the Hepburn Spa complex four times each weekday. Local taxis are also available.
Score: 8.13 The third recipient of spot #56 is Daylesford, a town with two sides: the decadent spa scene, and the decadent food scene. You’ll find both nestled amongst the higgledy piggledy, picket-fenced houses of this rustic, chic country town, which will leave you glowing for all the right reasons, says Georgia Rickard. “Beautiful views, lovely people, gorgeous food, crispy clean air and of course, all those spas. Luxury on many levels.” More info: visitdaylesford.com.au Luxe for less: Save your pennies for more spa time by staying at one of the many sweet but reasonably priced holiday houses in the area. Try dayget.com.au...
Victoria’s foodie destinations dominated the Best Town stakes this year, with Daylesford bumping Margaret River off the podium to take the top spot. Nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, just over 100 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, Daylesford is a charming mix of cafés and farm gates, with lavender crops and boutique wineries; as well as a menu of mineral springs and local spas that earn it the title of Australia’s spa capital. Like a European village lost in time, one reader commented “Daylesford is the perfect blend of rural and urban”. Of course there were many mentions of the adjoining township of...
This whimsical festival is one for the books, says Clementine Ford. There are few things more pleasurable than falling headfirst into a good book – except, perhaps, falling headfirst into a town full of them. It’s exactly what you’ll find in Clunes, a quaint hamlet in the heart of Victoria’s goldfields, which, since 2007, has been host to the Booktown Festival, an annual two-day event that brings together more than 60 booksellers across Victoria. According to the International Organisation of Book Towns (and there are 17 official Book Towns across the world), a Book Town is “a small rural town...
Daylesford & Hepburn Springs, a place where pampering and indulgence is not just recommended, it’s expected, writes Georgia Rickard. We can almost hear your collective – and weary – sigh. Treat yourself. Why come here? Church spires, smoking chimneys, gabled roofs, intricate flower beds... the region of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs is often referred to as a slice of Europe in rural Victoria, and it’s easy to see why. Swiss Italians migrated to the area back in the mid 1800s, and left a distinctly Roman-Catholic stamp on the area. But the area’s real claim to fame – its mineral springs – is...
One-half of the duo behind the new Daylesford edition of the Produce to Platter books ($34.99, Smudge Publishing), Jonette George has a few firm favourites from the region: 1. The Convent Gallery “This mansion was first built as a private pad for the gold commissioner during the 1860s Gold Rush, then transformed into a convent before becoming a gallery – it’s absolutely beautiful. Come for the art, stay for a café-style lunch or some afternoon tea.” 7 Daly St, Daylesford 2. Ellender Estate “This cellar door is in the middle of bushland – it’s gorgeous. Buy some of owners Jenny...
Where is it? 115km north-west of Melbourne, in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria. Quite possibly the most relaxing holiday destination in Australia, Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are quaint food-lover’s villages with a special twist – they tap straight into the area’s rejuvenating natural spring water. The historic Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is the best way to experience the full effect of the health-enhancing waters – you won’t find anything like it anywhere else in Australia....
No-one takes the production of organic yet tasty and interesting foodstuffs more seriously than the folk at Daylesford Organics. Heirloom vegetables, fruits, nuts and free range eggs are all grown on this family farm owned by Brendon Eisner and Kate Ulman an hour and a half northwest of Melbourne. “An amazing little farm punching well above its weight and winning national awards and accolades. Lots of passion, innovation and gumption.” – Alla Wolf-Tasker Apples from the farm’s organic orchard are best sellers at local food markets and Matt Wilkinson from Melbourne’s Circa The Prince has chosen Daylesford Organics’ heirloom radishes...
Experience No.039 in Australian Traveller's 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences In the future, when food historians attempt to trace the rise of Australia’s great regional restaurants to a point in time, they will arrive at 1984. This is when the daughter of Russian immigrants opened a restaurant next to Victoria’s manmade Lake Daylesford that would launch a thousand more. The Lake House menu will always be driven by Alla Wolf-Tasker’s gregarious and immigrant personality, rousing The Good Food Guide to declare that “it’s her playful spirit you can sense in the food”. Alla Wolf-Tasker is somewhat singlehandedly responsible for Victoria’s...
Experience No.012 in Australian Traveller Magazine's 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences. It’s the Porsche of prosciutto, the Prada of pancetta, all the way from the small Victorian town of Musk, just south of Daylesford. Istra Smallgoods is run by brothers Bernie and Sebastian Jurcan, having taken over the business from their parents Livio and Lidia, who hailed from the Northern Croatian peninsula of Istra. “Great products in old European style. Wonderful Istran salami and pancetta and much more. They make the prosciutto from black pigs for Victor Churchill, which takes two years of hanging.” – Alla Wolf-Tasker Each week they...
Australian Traveller Magazine’s 100 Great Australian Holiday Homes This ritzy, red-carpeted and gold-mirrored affair in Victoria’s Spa Country has more than a touch of the regal about it. In fact, when you wake up in your towering four-poster bed on 100-year-old timber bed boards and throw back your richly embroidered blankets and tasselled cushions to the floor, you’ll probably feel more like Henry VIII waking in his Tudor palace than an Aussie waking in his or her holiday home in 21st Century Daylesford. Forget the stainless steel and minimalist selling points of most modern holiday homes. Stately Stoneleigh is all...
It must have felt like coming home to the early Swiss-Italian settlers when they decided to stay in the Macedon Ranges’ mountainous terrain amid mineral springs. One of Australia’s first holiday destinations in the 1870s, Daylesford continued to grow with an influx of gold rush settlers, and the shire’s lively heritage is visible to this day in its many historical buildings. AT Reader Carol Woods says of the welcoming town, “Everyone’s happy and relaxed and always says hello to you. You feel like part of the family.” And the 3000-strong town is an absolute evergreen with spa goers, artists and...
At Cricket Willow in Shepherds Flat, Victoria, willow is harvested, cut, shaped and formed into a weapon of mass destruction for the field. Australia is synonymous with cricket. Little wonder then that nowhere else in the world can you see the entire process of making a bat in one place. At Cricket Willow in Shepherds Flat, Victoria, the willow is harvested, cut, shaped and formed into a weapon of mass destruction for the field. Cricket Willow should be recognised as the heart and soul of Australian cricket. It all began in 1902 when Test umpire Robert Crockett planted a single...
Life by the Lake Life by the Lake Convinced there’s more to the rejuvenation of Victoria’s Spa Country than the now-famous Lake House, Peter Robinson returns to Daylesford for a dose of remedial indulgence therapy. Like so many Victorian goldfield towns during the 1850s, Daylesford grew on the prospectors’ fortunes as thousands of tonnes of glistering metal were mined from the foothills of the Great Dividing Range. As the gold ran out, the very existence of Daylesford and its twin Hepburn Springs became reliant upon another resource – mineral water. A tourist industry developed on the renowned health-giving qualities of...
A '48 Hours In' piece on the Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region of Victoria 48 Hours In . . . Daylesford-Hepburn Springs You’re in a strange town with only a weekend at your disposal. What do you do? AT’s speed guide to Australia’s top spots has all the answers. These days it’s not just spas and hot springs that draw the crowds to central Victoria. Thousands now swarm to the gorgeous Daylesford and Hepburn Springs regions for award-winning restaurants, trendy cafés, contemporary art galleries and a laidback lifestyle. STAY HERE Daylesford Spa Villas // Just a short stroll to the town...
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