Lake House, Lake Daylesford, Victoria
Close to Melbourne, the spa region of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs offers relaxing natural springs, fantastic regional cuisine and nearby landmarks like the haunting Hanging Rock.
A little over an hour’s drive northwest of Melbourne, the towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are in the centre of the highest concentration of mineral springs in Australia. They’re also in one of Australia’s strongest gourmet regions, and together with the Macedon Ranges, make for the ultimate relaxation getaway.
DAY ONE MORNING
Visit Hanging Rock and Kyneton
Driving from Melbourne, stop in historic Woodend for a “retro comfort food” breakfast and coffee at The Village Larder. Head to nearby Hanging Rock, a dramatic and unique volcanic formation. Meander the back roads to Kyneton, a town offering a charming array of provedores, restaurants and boutiques in a quaint row of bluestone buildings on period Piper Street. Pick up some picnic supplies to enjoy the restful setting of Kyneton’s pretty botanic gardens on the Campaspe River. Or stop at the beautiful, 1852-established Royal George Hotel where there are 16 craft beers and ciders on tap and a terrific upstairs dining room with verandah overlooking Piper Street.
DAY ONE AFTERNOON
Time to spa
From the blossoms in spring to the red and gold leaves of autumn, Lake Daylesford is a gorgeous place of peace and tranquility all year round and perfect for a quiet wander. For something more lively, head over to the 32-metre Trentham Falls, the longest single-drop waterfall in Victoria.
By now, you’re ready to relax; head to the beautifully restored and re-imagined 19th-century Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa situated above several mineral springs in an historic reserve with great walking trails. The best option is the private mineral bath for one or two people, while the view from the relaxation pool through large glass windows is a soothing slice of deep green Australian bushland, perfect to meditate on. There are all manner of facials, scrubs and massages, too.
Settle in for the night at Lake House; take another long soak in one of their circular wooden tubs, perched in stilt houses high in the branches of the willow trees overlooking Lake Daylesford.Dine at Lake House’s gourmet restaurant that has won every food and wine award in Australia in the past three decades (chef and owner Alla Wolf-Tasker is a legend in these parts.)
Hanging Rock Winery, Daylesford, Victoria
DAY TWO MORNING
Go produce hunting
Make time for an early morning treatment at Lake House’s Salus Spa, from socking in mineral tubs that peer out through willow trees to frangipani and milk ritual of massage and facial cleanse.
Then head out to explore the area. The region is full of great produce such as wines and freshly caught trout, cheese and truffles. Check out Daylesford Macedon Produce to see what’s in season, where the local markets are, and where to discover boutique growers and provedores nestled down winding country lanes lined with soaring gum trees, rolling pastures and volcanic rock formations. Dive into the terrific seasonal produce at The Argus Dining Room that, like all restaurants in these parts, sources everything locally.
DAY TWO AFTERNOON
Do the wineries and Lake Daylesford
Join Daylesford Wine Tours for a local’s insight into the boutique cellar doors in the region.
Later, stop by Art Deco-style Peppers Springs Mineral Retreat, which offers mineral water baths overlooking tranquil gardens, as well as an exceptional spa with delightful treatments such as soft-pack flotation beds – the only ones of their kind in the Southern Hemisphere.
Enjoy a final dinner at Mercato @Daylesford, a favourite with locals serving dishes made with seasonal and regional produce that pay homage to Daylesford’s Italian heritage. It’s in a beautiful 1864 timber cottage among mature trees.
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