1. Enjoy the Mineral Springs
Of all the things to do in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs a trip to the region wouldn’t be the same without indulging in the region’s mineral-rich waters. In 1865, the 30-hectare Mineral Springs Reserve was created to protect the water in the area. There are over 80 natural springs high in calcium, silica, magnesium and an abundance of other minerals.
At mineral spas and bathhouses across the region, you can experience traditional communal bathing in warm mineral water, relaxation pools, spas, salt therapy pools and steam rooms. This is a unique Daylesford experience, and one not to be missed for anyone travelling to this beautiful region. Check out the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa or The Mineral Spa for more information on mineral water bathing.
2. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Daylesford and Hepburn Springs have an abundance of walking tracks catering to all ages and abilities. The surrounding area of Hepburn Regional Park has a range of beautiful walking options for nature lovers to explore, including Sailors Falls, Central Springs Reserve, Mount Franklin Reserve, and Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.
The Gold Fields Track runs right through Daylesford and Hepburn Springs and walking trails are generally well-marked The Daylesford Visitor Information Centre will be able to provide you with a printed map of the area showing the location of the walking trails, mineral springs, and other tourist sites as well.
Daylesford is also a popular fishing area, where you can find an array of species including rainbow trout, brown trout, golden perch, and redfin. Jubilee Lake is a great place to fish, as is Calembeen Lake and St Georges Lake. Make sure you have a valid Victorian fishing license prior to your trip. Fishing licenses can be purchased at the Department of Environment and Primary Industry website.
3. Discover the History
Daylesford and Hepburn Springs have a rich cultural history. The indigenous people of this land, the Dja Dja Wurrung, recognised the area for its healing waters and as a place of deep spiritual and ceremonial significance. Gold was discovered in the region in the 1850’s with settlements springing up at Wombat Flat and Spring Creek which later became Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Many beautiful historic buildings from the 1800s are still standing today. When walking through the streets, you can admire the well-preserved architecture which is predominantly influenced by Swiss-Italian design as many of the early gold miners were from the Swiss-Italian border region. Villa Parma, the old Macaroni Factory, the Town Hall and historic Post Office are a few of our favourite buildings. If you are interested in discovering more about the history of the town, you can also visit the Daylesford Historical Society Museum.
4. Spend an Afternoon Wine Tasting
The Macedon Ranges contains some of the finest boutique wineries in the country. The altitude and climate provide perfect conditions for excellent sparkling wine, chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon.
A range of wineries offer intimate cellar door tastings, and wines are often on a small scale. Passing Clouds, Guildford Vineyard & Cellar, Hanging Rock Winery, Gisborne Peak Winery and Granite Hills are not to be missed, whilst Kyneton Ridge Estate, and Captain’s Creek Organic Wines specialise in exceptional cool climate wines.
If you are looking at planning a winery tour but can’t decide on a ‘nominated driver’, the highly regarded Daylesford Wine Tours offer region wide boutique cellar door tours 7 days a week, customised specifically to your tastes.
5. Indulge Your Taste Buds
Spa Country is also known for its fine restaurants. Daylesford is home to numerous award-winning restaurants, bakeries and cafes. A range of fine dining and more casual options are available, with many restaurants serving locally grown produce. Local favourites include The Boathouse Restaurant, Sakana, Frank & Connie’s, The Surly Goat and the Lakehouse. When venturing just outside of Daylesford; Du Fermier (Trentham), Swiss Mountain Hotel (Blampied), Farmers Arms (Creswick), Quigley & Clark (Clunes) and Talbot Provedore & Eatery (Talbot) are well worth the trip.
The Chocolate Mill is also a must-see for those who are looking for culinary delights. Here you can see the chocolatiers at work, indulge in a rich hot chocolate and cake in the cafe, and sift through the various sweets on offer, including truffles, nougat, and Turkish delight.
6. Treat Yourself and Go Shopping
If you feel like a day of shopping, Daylesford will not disappoint. Walk along Vincent Street or Howe Street and you will come across a variety of home wares and gift shops, bookshops, clothing stores, antique shops and vintage items to suit all tastes.
You’ll find a few hidden gems in the side streets and the the enormous Mill Market full of vintage delights a not far from the main roads.
You could easily stock up on a range of treasures for yourself, your friends and your family simply by spending the day wandering through the Daylesford shops.
7. Have a Day Out With the Family
There is no shortage of family-friendly activities in Daylesford. You can enjoy a picnic at Lake Daylesford for a picturesque and relaxing family outing, or if you prefer a bush setting with a few more recreational options you could go out to Lake Jubilee. The Wombat Hill Gardens are also a great place for kids to play, with a lookout tower and plenty of areas to explore.
Horse riding is a very popular activity for families and is offered at Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides and Boomerang Holiday Ranch. There is also an 18-hole outdoor miniature golf course available at Daylesford Mini Golf. The golf course has an Australian theme and is a great option for all ages.
For a fun day out with the kids, don’t miss Maze House located just outside of Daylesford at Newlyn North. Make your way through the 25-year-old hedge maze, test your skills in the carnival fun garden and then relax in the garden cafe.
8. Relax at a Day Spa or Wellness Centre
With so many options to indulge and rejuvenate, Daylesford is the ultimate place to pamper yourself. There are numerous natural therapy businesses in the area, offering a variety of massage and spa treatments.
Facials, aromatherapy, homoeopathy and reiki services are all offered, making Daylesford perfect for a romantic holiday with your loved one, or for a weekend away with friends. Our favourites include Daylesford Massage Healing Centre, Eko Spa and Daylesford Day Spa.
9. Spend Some Time at the Local Markets
The Daylesford Sunday markets are located at the historic Daylesford Spa Country Railway Station and open every Sunday – rain, hail or shine. Featuring fresh produce, handicrafts and second-hand collectibles, you are bound to find something at this bustling marketplace. Visitors generally start arriving at about 10am, and there is ample free parking available. The market is child and pet-friendly, and kids will love the heritage train rides which run through the forest.
There are markets, including farmer’s markets, in most of the villages in the region on different weekends. Our What’s On page lists all the markets for the current month.
The Mill Markets, Australia’s largest indoor antique market, is also a must-see. Jam-packed full of clothes, furniture, books, art and collectibles, this is an unforgettable experience for any antique hunter.
10. Explore the Art
Head over to The Convent Gallery for an afternoon of art and history. The Convent Gallery includes exhibition spaces, function rooms, a museum, a chapel and exquisite garden with scenic views over Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Located on Wombat Hill, the Gallery was originally built as the residence for the Gold Commissioner in the 1860’s. It was purchased by the Catholic Church 20 yeas later, then was converted into a residence for the Holy Cross Convent and became a boarding school for girls. After many years of neglect, it was purchased by artist Tina Banitska who had a dream of transforming the beautiful building into a place for the community to enjoy. Her dream has certainly become a reality.