Less than two hours from Melbourne, Daylesford is the perfect destination for a day trip. Far enough away to escape the hustle of the CBD, the picturesque town is renowned as Melbourne’s favourite place to pamper yourself and unwind. Just down the road is Hepburn Springs, and two spa towns world famous for their 72 health-giving mineral springs and more than 30 spas, wellness retreats and healing centres.
So how should you spend your day? With the keyword here being ‘spend’, it’s possible to make the most of Daylesford regardless of your budget.
If you’re on a tight budget start by having breakfast, lunch or brunch, depending on what time you arrive, at Red Star Café on the main street of Hepburn Springs. Featuring a wall of books, it has the casual, laid back vibe which you would expect in the countryside. Sit outside in the garden and soak up the sun as you enjoy an organic coffee, or even better, a glass of local wine starting at a pleasantly surprising $6. With servings big enough to share, I can highly recommend the calamari salad and chips, which came in at around $20 per head – glass of wine included!
After refuelling, it’s time to unwind. And thankfully in Hepburn Springs visiting a spa doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune. Head to the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa where packages start at $32.50 per person, Tuesday and Thursday. As well as access to the Relaxation and Spa pool, Devonshire Tea is included, so indulge your tastebuds with fresh house-baked scones, jam and cream and, of course, your choice of tea or coffee.
End your day by making the most of Macedon Range’s award winning wine region and stocking up at the local Cellarbration’s in Daylesford’s main street. With specials almost too good to be true, don’t be shocked if you’re able to pick up two bottles of pinot noir for $20.
Cash to splash
Enjoy breakfast at the aptly named Breakfast and Beer on the main street of Daylesford. With innovative breakfast options, great coffee and, you guessed it, a wide selection of local and international beers this isn’t your run of the mill café.
Spend the day wine tasting at Passing Clouds cellar door in nearby Musk. Open seven days a week, it features acclaimed Bendigo reds along with cool-climate pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wines.
Relax before taking dinner at the celebrated Lake House’s Salus Spa. Just outside Daylesford, the state-of-the-art spa is set in grounds overlooking Lake Daylesford. Surrounded by waterfall fed streams, treat yourself to a massage, facial or spa with prices starting at $95.
Stick around and indulge in dinner at the multi-award-winning Lake House restaurant with produce sourced locally. The seasonal menu offers dinner options from $80 for between two and four courses, a la carte. Featuring Australia’s Wine List of the Year, you won’t leave disappointed.
Just out of Daylesford lies another dinner option, Sault. Set against the backdrop of Wombat State Forest and overlooking its own lake amidst fields of lavender, it also makes the most of local produce. With a seasonally inspired menu of modern Australian dishes, mains start at $35. Food is accompanied by an extensive wine list which showcases Australian and New Zealand labels alongside local wines such as Curly Flat. Having had the privilege of dining here during my visit, I can highly recommend splurging on a dinner at Sault.