Try our handcrafted shortlist for your hot tips
Located just a lazy hour’s drive from the Melbourne CBD, Victoria’s lush spa country awaits. With 72 mineral springs and 30 spas, it’s naturally a hub of retreats, wellness centres, luxury accommodation and B&Bs, all surrounded by gorgeous forest vistas, tranquil lakes and pristine gardens. And it’s not just nature that provides such an idyllic setting for your romantic getaway – Daylesford is bursting with lively locals and day-trippers along Vincent Street, the town’s main thoroughfare. Cafes, restaurants, bars, interesting boutique stores and gallery spaces make for a perfectly-paced town centre.
If you need to escape the frenetic pace of daily life in order to focus on your loved one, start with the Peace Mile Walk around Lake Daylesford and breathe in deeply that sweet country air. If you’re early enough, you’ll catch the eerily beautiful mist kissing the calm surface of the lake before quietly stealing away.
No trip to Daylesford is complete without stopping by the Convent Gallery, nested high above the Wombat Hill botanical gardens. Previously known as Blarney Castle, the majestic 19th century mansion now houses an impressive collection of art works, a restaurant, a bar, function spaces and a good old-fashioned penthouse. Even if art doesn’t really inspire you, the grand ye olde architecture and the breathtaking surrounds will leave you suitably blissed-out.
Daylesford boasts not one, but two gorgeous lakes, and you really must experience them first hand. There are a number of ways you can accomplish that. If you’re not game to swim, hire a canoe, paddle bike or a kayak and glide across Lake Daylesford or her little sister, Lake Jubilee. When you’re done, soak up the serenity and explore the bushland by embarking on one of many available walking tracks in the area.
Food for thought
Like most towns with a substantial permanent population in addition to a healthy tourist trade, Daylesford offers fine dining as well as casual walk-in options, and plenty in between. For award-winning fare with exquisite views right on to Lake Daylesford, Lakehouse restaurant offers a night to remember.
Boasting two chef’s hats, the Lakehouse is focussed on fresh, seasonal, local produce and exceptional hospitality. For beautiful pub food with a touch of sophistication, The Farmers Arms Hotel offers generous meals and an excellent beer selection in a cosy setting, all for a reasonable price.
Breakfast and Beer is a quintessentially Daylesford kind of place, the sort of venue that you imagine could only be dreamed up by a food obsessive tree-changer who was trapped inside white office walls for a seriously long time. It’s quirky, it’s interesting, and you can taste the passion in the sumptuous and creative menu. If you and your loved one prefer a social atmosphere over quiet intimacy, then this is the place for you.
Where I lay my head is home
There are almost too many options for accommodation in Daylesford, which means there is something to suit every budget and décor preference. Since we have romance on the brain, the following picks are more focussed on mood, sophistication and perhaps even a Jacuzzi.
Leading the pack in amenity, class and pampering is Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat. They offer four different hotel-style rooms, most with a private spa, stunning treetop vistas, and, wait for it… a luxury wellness centre replete with qualified masseurs and beauty therapists. Bliss!
If seclusion is your thing, you’re in luck, because Daylesford and next-door neighbour Hepburn Springs do a roaring trade in self-contained villas. At the higher end, Kudos Villas offer gorgeous open plan stays with every conceivable indulgence, and Double Nut Chalets are slightly more conventional and set in quaint cottage gardens. Both are completely private and come with large, inviting spas and al fresco spaces. Closer to the action is Balconies Daylesford, in prime position on Lake Daylesford. Balconies is classed as a B&B, but manages to create the look and feel of a modern country hotel. With an indoor pool and spa, expansive gardens and proximity to the lake, it’s a perfect spot to launch from during your visit. All you need is love!
Perfect for a day or weekend road trip, let Europcar help you take in the sights of Daylesford at your leisure – hire a car today and start winding-down!