Daylesford, Australia

Galleries, boutiques and cafés line Daylesford's main street, while lakes, forests and hills beckon further afield. For a rustic retreat, it has everything the visiting city dweller deems essential. The town’s history stretches back to Victoria's gold rush, when settlers discovered something they thought more valuable than the precious metal: natural spring waters. People still come here to pamper themselves at the spas, but also to gorge on the outstanding food culture fostered by dedicated local restaurateurs and producers – the me-time, detox-retox 'double life' alluded to recently in Daylesford's TV ad campaign.

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When to go

In summer January and February can be very hot in this region, and winter months June and July can be extremely cold (a boon for those who like cuddling in front of open fires). The population of the town explodes on the weekend, particularly on sublimely sunny days, when Melburnians escape the ratrace to attend the massive Daylesford Sunday Market and enjoy the country air. If you like things quieter, visit during the week (but be aware that some businesses close on Monday and Tuesday).

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Melbourne Airport (www.melbourneairport.com.au) | which handles both international and domestic flights | is the closest to the Daylesford region. Qantas (www.qantas.com) is the major carrier flying in to Melbourne.
  • Trains

    Travellers can catch selected V Line services (www.vline.com.au) from Southern Cross Station in central Melbourne to either Woodend or Ballarat, where connecting buses travel to Daylesford nearby.
  • Automobiles

    It takes about 90 minutes to drive from central Melbourne north west to Daylesford; leaving from the airport cuts about 20 minutes off your journey time. Major car hire companies have outlets in the city and at the airport.
  • Taxis

    The Daylesford Taxi Service (+61 (0)3 5348 1111) drops visitors and locals off at restaurants and pubs and ferries them back again. There are only a few cars so book if you need to be somewhere at a specific time, particularly on the weekend.

Daylesford: one day

Daylesford: one day

Treat yourself to downtime at Victoria’s sybaritic spa town Daylesford, where gourmet getaway the Lake House hotel beckons. It’s two hours 20 minutes drive from Dunkeld (stop off at goldrush town Ballarat). Co-owner Alla Wolf-Tasker has long championed Victorian produce, so book ahead for her award-winning restaurant. You can also sample her food at casual café Wombat Hill House in the Botanic Gardens. In-house Salus Spa features treehouse-style treatment rooms, or indulge at Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa’s hydrotherapy Sanctuary.

Stay at the Lake House
Most iconic wildlife must-sees?

Most iconic wildlife must-sees?

It’s always a thrill to see wild kangaroos, whether you’re in the Grampians or Daylesford in Victoria, the Hunter Valley in New South Wales or even Australia’s ‘bush capital’ Canberra, all destinations where you’ll get regular sightings of this curious creature. They usually come out at dawn and dusk and are often drawn to golf courses!

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