Daylesford & Macedon Ranges
Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Holidays
Victoria may be slighter in stature than fellow mainland states, but the wealth of natural beauty within her boundaries proves the old credo that good things come in small packages. Just an hour north-west of Melbourne, Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges are pockets of bliss waiting to delight visitors who have escaped the alluring labyrinth of inner-city laneways. Small-town charms such as a vibrant arts and crafts scene, sumptuous food and wine and acclaimed health and wellness spas are bound to keep you in relaxation mode as you fully sink in to your Daylesford holiday.
Things to do in Daylesford and surrounds are generally focussed on the art of unwinding. The area itself has quite a claim to fame, hosting the greatest concentration of natural mineral springs anywhere in Australia – more than 60, in fact! The bubbling waters of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are known for their healing properties, which many establishments such as the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa combine with additional pampering. Once you're sufficiently relaxed, there are farmers' markets to peruse, some 40 cellar doors to knock on and botanic gardens to meander through in the quaint townships of Malmsbury, Woodend, Gisborne and Kyneton.
Even the smallest villages in this once lustrous goldmining region are big on all things epicurean. From award-winning restaurants in Daylesford to family-run provedores stocked with the best local preserves, your taste buds will be tempted by the seasonal delights in Daylesford and beyond. Have your own picnic at Hanging Rock Winery in Woodend, sit down to a hatted dining experience at Annie Smithers' in Kyneton or break bread at the RedBeard Historic Bakery. The Madedon Ranges district is an outstanding producer of cool-climate wines, with pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling varieties particularly prosperous. If an ale is more your style, bypass the vineyards and pop into the Holgate Brewhouse for a golden pint.
Rural retreats and lavish lodgings across Daylesford share a common feature: they all highlight the aesthetic assets of this wonderful slice of Victoria. Cottages, bed and breakfasts, holiday houses and farm stays are a familiar sight in this neck of the woods, promising genuine country hospitality and a morning meal straight from paddock to plate. Among the best hotels in Daylesford are the Lake House – a petite luxury retreat complete with award-winning restaurants and cellars – and the 19th century Victorian mansion-cum-gallery and boutique lodging, The Convent. Further choices include the heritage-style Grange Bellinzona in Hepburn Springs overlooking Wombat Forest and fellow Italian outfit Villa Parma, aka Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat.
If you are a consumer with a conscience, you will love shopping in Daylesford. Support the community's creative heart by choosing a keepsake with personality – a one-of-a-kind local painting perhaps, or maybe an antique collectible or hand-crafted jewellery sourced from the local markets? Second-hand bookstores, vintage retailers and homewares boutiques line the main streets of Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges for those who enjoy the freedom of fossicking for a bargain. You can easily spend hours shop-hopping along Kyneton's Piper Street in the footsteps of colonial merchants or hunting for kitsch curiosities at Macedon's Amy Emporium.
Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Like a Local
The Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region is dotted with more than a dozen villages and townships, from Clunes to Creswick and Seymour to Sunbury. Hire your own set of wheels and explore the country lanes and unmarked roads sign-posted to dozens of wineries and farm-gate fruit and veg sellers. Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges embrace a laidback lifestyle with a holistic approach to wellbeing: treat your body to a mineral-rich spa treatment, your tastebuds to a fresh feast at one of the many lauded eateries and your eyes to a scenic road trip through the communities that band together to form Victoria's indulgence epicentre.