This village 90 minutes from Melbourne has more than just natural beauty: the day spas, produce and boutique hotels are world-class
See and do
Explore the town of Daylesford, where alongside top restaurants (see below) and day spas (see ‘Must try’) you’ll find a top-notch collection of galleries, including Convent Gallery, Stony Creek Gallery, Clayfire Gallery, Red Pepper Gallery, and Open Studios.
Eighty percent of Australia’s mineral springs are found in Daylesford, used for spa experiences and nourishing the ground that grows award-winning produce served at local restaurants. Take a stroll around the mineral springs reserves in Hepburn Springs or around Lake Daylesford, where you can sample mineral waters straight from the source.
The Macedon Ranges cool-climate wine region has been gaining a reputation of late for its sparkling wines. Cellar doors to stop by include Ellender Estate, Hanging Rock Winery and Passing Clouds.
Relax in the gardens at Lavandula Swiss-Italian Lavender Farm, a top example of the region’s European heritage. Stop by the café for some antipasto. 350 Hepburn-Newstead Rd, Shepherds Flat 3461. 03 5476 4393.
Eat and drink
Daylesford’s oldest pub, the Farmer’s Arms, was built in 1857. Under the direction of head chef Gavan Anders the kitchen produces mains such as dukkah-crusted snapper, Portuguese lamb and almond pie, and eye fillet mignon. 1 East St, Daylesford 3460. 03 5348 2091.
At Kazuki’s you’ll find an intertwine of Japanese and French cuisine made with local produce under the influence of chef Kazuki Tsuya. Expect quail teriyaki, pork belly with Asian vegetables, and oysters four ways. Save room for the sticky black rice. 1 Camp St, Daylesford 3460. 03 5348 1218.
Set in a lavender field and overlooking a lake, Sault has a menu packed with shared plates, including zucchini flowers, scallops, caramel-smoked duck breast and suckling pig. You’ll also find high tea on Sundays. 2349 Ballan-Daylesford Rd, Sailors Falls 3461. 03 5348 6555.
For something more relaxed, also consider Breakfast and Beer, Wombat Hill House, Cliffy’s and the Larder.
For the past 30 years, hoteliers Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker have been providing legendary accommodation for well-heeled travellers at Lake House. Boutique rooms, cuisine and world-class day spa treatments combine for an experience that’s rarely rivalled in regional Victoria. 4 King St, Daylesford 3460. 03 5348 3329.
It’s all about Art Deco at the Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat, where the property’s main building dates back to the 1930s. It’s stylish and elegant and full of country charm. Book a table at the Argus Dining Room and have a post-dinner wine in Tipperary Bar. 124 Main Rd, Hepburn Springs 3461. 03 5348 2202.
Must do: Day spas
Be rejuvenated in the heart of spa country
01 Salus Spa at Lake House
Surrounded by streams, Salus Spa is a leader in Australia, renowned for its polishes, rituals and deep-tissue massages from the top therapists in town. Book a private circular spa bath in a secluded treetop spa using 100 per cent Daylesford mineral water. 4 King St, Daylesford 3460. 03 5348 3329.
02 Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa
Dating back to 1895, the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa draws mineral waters directly from the source. Book a day spa treatment or relax in one of the venue’s private mineral baths or saunas. Mineral Springs Reserve Rd, Hepburn Springs 3461. 03 5321 6000.
03 Mineral Spa at Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat
Book a day package, or for something different, try the soft pak float beds, where the bed floor recedes and you are floating on a hammock of warm water without getting wet. 124 Main Rd, Hepburn Springs 3461. 03 5348 2202.
04 Shizuka Ryokan
Dream you’ve just come off the slopes in Niseko and book a Geisha Facial here in this Japanese guesthouse and wellness retreat. Couples should go for a Yin and Yang package where face and body treatments are followed by simultaneous massages. 7 Lakeside Dr, Hepburn Springs 3461. 03 5348 2030.