Luxury Escapes Guide to Daylesford & Hepburn Springs
Natural mineral springs, cosy country pubs, award-winning wineries and rejuvenating day spas — this region will lift you up and sweep you miles away from everyday life.
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Discover Daylesford & Hepburn Springs
Things to see and do
Mineral bathing at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa
Known as the 'spa capital’ of the country, Hepburn Springs is home to the greatest concentration of naturally occurring mineral springs in Australia. The Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is one of the oldest in the region, providing traditional social bathing since 1895. Enjoy a relaxing bathe in waters sourced directly from the natural springs and heated to approximately 34 degrees Celsius then jump into a warmer, invigorating spa bath to stimulate your blood flow. Spa treatments, water therapy and even private steam rituals are available, so take your time to achieve the ultimate relaxation.
Train, wine and dine at Passing Clouds Winery
The Macedon Ranges boasts the coolest grape-growing climate of any wine region on mainland Australia, making it an outstanding producer of sparkling wines, pinot noir and chardonnay. Add to this an abundance of fresh local produce and you’ll have the perfect combination for a wine and dine experience. Take it up a notch with Passing Clouds’ Train + Wine + Dine experience — every Sunday you can hop on a heritage train from Daylesford Station and reach Passing Clouds in less than 20 minutes. Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious four-course set lunch crafted with local ingredients, paired to perfection with selected wines from their Macedon and Bendigo vineyards, then let the train take you back into town when you are ready. Bookings essential.
Choose one of many nature walks
Daylesford’s natural scenery will leave you breathless: surrounded by thousands of hectares of state forest, the town hides beauty around every corner and offers infinite opportunities to embrace and explore the great outdoors. Wander around Daylesford’s National Trust-Listed Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens bejeweled with ancient pine and cedar trees. Take a romantic walk around Lake Daylesford on the ‘Peace Mile Walking Track’, taking you around the lake in under 40 minutes, then head for the forest to see the 32-metre Trentham Falls – one of the longest single-drop waterfalls in Victoria. For those seeking a more vigorous walk, we suggest the 6km round trip walk from Tipperary Springs to Bryce’s Flat.
Ride a horse to the historic Swiss Mountain Hotel
Want to explore the beautiful countryside by horseback? You’re in luck, Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides offers different experiences for every occasion. Whether you want a short two-hour ride in the countryside, a five-hour ride through the bush (with a stop at the historic Swiss Mountain Hotel for lunch), or a ride through lush vineyards (with wine tasting and a meal at Captain’s Creek winery), the choice is yours. The best thing? No experience required.
Shop your heart out – and get lost amid thousands of books
Vincent Street is the beating heart of Daylesford. The vibrant main street, with its countless art galleries, design shops and quirky boutiques, is the perfect representation of the region’s creative community and artistic soul. Learn about the healing power of herbs and taste gin and spirits crafted with organically grown herbs at Herbal Lore. Indulge in some chocolate treats at the Daylesford Hot Chocolate Company then get lost amid thousands of books at The Paradise Bookshop – a book lover’s heaven with 14 rooms crammed with books, games, toys and comics.
Learn how to make the perfect loaf of sourdough bread
Dubbed by celebrity-Chef George Calombaris as ‘the best bakery in the world', the historic Redbeard Bakery is found just between Daylesford and Woodend in picturesque Trentham. Famous for its sourdough bread baked in a huge, wood-fired Scotch oven dating back to the 19th century, the bakery is a destination within itself. Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the café, buy a loaf of fresh bread or take a fascinating behind-the-scenes tour with an expert guide. If you have the time, book in to one of their incredible masterclasses, where you’ll learn the secrets behind the perfect loaf of sourdough bread.
Celebrate the LGBTIQ community at ChillOut Festival
Daylesford is not only the most romantic town in Victoria, but also the state’s gay capital and proud host of the annual ChillOut Festival – Australia’s largest and longest-running regional pride festival. Join thousands of people celebrating life and the LGBTIQ community every year, transforming the streets of Daylesford with fabulous parties, wellbeing activities, curated arts events and a street parade featuring tributes to global icons – all in support of queer pride. This colourful event is typically held in March every year, but you can keep an eye on the festival’s website for updates.
Join a meat masterclass with the Jonai family
The Jonai family left their regular life in Melbourne in 2011 to embrace rural life on a 69-acre farm outside Daylesford, where today they raise heritage breed large black pigs. The family’s best-known product is the Spanish-style jamon – claimed to be the best in the nation – but they also offer a range of workshops focusing on the art and craft of butchery, meat literacy, regenerative farming and more. If you’re keen to learn the secrets of the fam, join them for one of their masterclasses.
Top places to eat and drink
Wombat Hill House Café
Famed-chef Alla Wolf-Tasker (also the proud owner of Lake House) welcomes you to this charming café and kitchen garden, nestled in one of Daylesford’s most beautiful locations amid the manicured botanical gardens, right in the centre of town. top by for a coffee and a snack after a walk around the gardens or take a seat for an unforgettable high tea with sparkling wine, cakes, sandwiches, scones and all the trimmings.
Beppe Kitchen & Bar
Brought to you by the team behind the beloved Cliffy’s Emporium, Beppe Kitchen & Bar pays homage to the strong Italian migrant community, showcasing the most celebrated Italian recipes in a traditional trattoria-style space. Located on the leafy corner of Raglan and Wombat Streets, this buzzing restaurant is a firm local favourite. Come hungry, homemade delicacies are on the menu here: tagliatelle carbonara, gnocchi with sugo, chicken cacciatore and wood-fired pizzas.
The Surly Goat
Located down a side street in Hepburn, this bustling little gem committed to smart, contemporary food crafted with seasonal produce that’s all locally sourced. The menu here showcases a selection of dishes, complemented by a small yet dynamic wine list with a focus on passionate local and international producers. Our tip? Order a portion of beef croquettes with seeded mustard and enjoy the laidback vibes and excellent service. Bookings are essential, as this is one of the busiest places in town.
Farmers Arms Hotel
Daylesford’s pub scene is pretty impressive: the town loves a country pub with plush couches, roaring fireplaces and good beers on tap, and the Farmers Arms Hotel is one of the best you can find. Cosy and inviting, serving some of the most delicious food in Daylesford, the oldest pub in town is a pillar of the local community. On the menu you’ll find traditional pub classics like fish and chips as well as the pub’s ultra-crispy roast pork belly, served with mash and red wine jus, paired with a local pinot noir, of course.
Find a little slice of France in the heart of Daylesford at the chic Bistro Terroir, winner of the AGFG Readers’ Choice 2020 — Regional. This sophisticated neighbourhood restaurant is where you can savour chef Matthew Carnell’s decadent French food in a beautiful bistro-inspired space, served by an excellent front-of-house team. Expect to taste classics such as steak frites with café de Paris butter and shoestring fries, tomato tarte tatin, traditional soup de poisson, macarons and other delicacies, all paired with a carefully selected wine list.
Argus Dining Room
The elegant and chic Argus Dining Room delivers considered Australian fare with an emphasis on regional produce. Each dish on the menu is designed to be shared and has been carefully crafted with home-grown food and outstanding produce from the primary producers in the regions — including Angelica Organic Farm in Glenlyon and Holy Goat Cheese in Sutton Grange. Think roasted chicken with smoked eggplant and zataar, pumpkin gnocchi with kale and beurre noisette and seared kangaroo carpaccio. Pair your favourite dish with Victorian and regional wines from a carefully curated wine list.
Back in the 1950s, Cliffy’s Emporium was the most popular general store in Daylesford, stocked with the most extraordinary range of produce and groceries. Old timber shelves were overflowing with local products, preserves and delicacies – and today, well it’s much the same. The shelves are still stocked with local produce and fresh fruit and vegetables are available every day, but Cliffy’s Emporium has expanded to become one of the region’s most popular cafés, serving up boozy brunches with bloody Marys, breakfast negronis and mimosas under the grapevine-covered verandah.
Enjoy a degustation dinner at the hatted Sault restaurant
Set in a French-style country house, located on a spectacular, 125-acre estate surrounded by clipped rows of lavender and perfectly kept vineyards, this hatted restaurant headed by Hugh Maxwell is the epitome of fine regional dining. Embark on a culinary journey with the restaurant’s three-, four- or seven-course degustation dinner: expect to taste exquisite modern dishes inspired by the seasons and the region’s produce, complemented by locally grown herbs, fresh vegetables and an impressive list of matched wines.
Bliss out with the Ultimate Indulgence spa package at the Lake House Spa
Treat your body and soul to a deluxe treatment at the hotel’s state-of-the-art spa, a serene haven surrounded by waterfall-fed streams. With nine treatment room and an extensive spa menu including facials, body treatments, exclusive packages and couple’s treatments, this is the perfect way to end or start your escape in Daylesford. Want to truly bliss out? Book the Ultimate Indulgence spa package. This 180-minute wellness journey is a multi-sensory experience that starts with aromatherapy and a full body hot stone massage, followed by a 75-minute facial and an indulgent Elemis frangipani and salt scrub, ending with a rejuvenating hydro storm shower.
Fly high over Daylesford in a hot air balloon
There’s nothing more breathtaking than witnessing the sunrise from a hot air balloon floating high in the sky. Daylesford, with its spectacular scenery of rolling hills, green forests and vineyards would have to be one of the most idyllic places in the country for such an experience. Rug up (it gets cold in the morning) and embark on a unique five-star experience with Daylesford Ballooning, which includes a memorable one-hour flight over the region followed by a decadent champagne breakfast, with private pick-up and drop-off from Daylesford included.