A WEEKEND IN DAYLESFORD
During my visit to Melbourne I decided to take a little quiet time and venture North West for some rest and relaxation. Just a stone’s throw from Melbourne’s CBD or one and half hours’ drive I discovered a little piece of countryside bliss. Daylesford sits in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and is best known as a spa town with its natural mineral springs and also for its galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Here is my guide to the town.
Where to Eat
I love a good café. In town my two favourite cafès were Larder and Cliffy’s Emporium. Both had great menu choices, friendly atmospheres and top notch hot chocolates. Cliffy’s is a historic store, originally opening as a corner shop in 1955, it has seen a few different lives since then, becoming the café it is today in 2001. A great spot for breakfast or for an afternoon grazing board with local beer and wine on offer. Larder is in the middle of the hustle and bustle of town, and inside the café isn’t much different, teaming with tourists and locals alike. If you are in a group, I would definitely recommend arriving a little earlier as there may be a wait. We enjoyed delicious sandwiches and burgers, which are made with local produce and as previously mentioned, great hot chocolate.
Find Cliffy’s Emporium here: 30 Raglan St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Find Larder Cafe here: 57A Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Great for an easy Italian option for breakfast, lunch or dinner Koukla is the best in town. Woodfired pizzas and more hearty meals, this is the place you come for some comfort food.
Find it here: 82 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
For dinner, we were after a more casual option and we found there were many great pubs in town. Our favourite was The Farmers Arms Hotel, which was down to earth, cosy and the atmosphere made us feel like locals.
Find it here: 1 East St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Things to See and Do
My number one pick for Daylesford would be to visit Lavandula Swiss Italian Lavender Farm. Set on a beautiful historic property which was originally built in the 1850’s, the Lavender farm was restored in the late 1980’s providing a lovely rural setting to have a wander through. Needless to say, the lavender is the real star of the show (try to visit in January or February to see the crops at their best) but we also enjoyed wandering around seeing the farm animals, including two emu’s and a stop for coffee at the Café La Trattoria where you can sit under trees, which at this time of year had a stunning bright yellow colouring to their trunks.
Find it here: 350 Hepburn-Newstead Rd, Shepherds Flat VIC 3461
Housing Australia’s greatest concentration of natural mineral springs, awarding it the perfect place to heal and soothe the body. Unwind and spoil yourself at Salus Spa located at the Lake House. My favourites from the treatment menu were the Salus Detox Wrap and the Frangipani & Milk Ritual.
Find it here: 4 King St, Daylesford VIC 3460
For a café alternative for lunch, we packed a picnic and drove up to Mount Franklin. Now a dormant volcanic crater, it is a spectacle from the highway with its high-density formation of pine trees covering it in it’s entirely. After a short drive up and around we came to a large clearing where many campers were staying, and we enjoyed a quiet picnic of some of the towns local produce. A great option if the weather is playing nice!
Find it here: Mount Franklin VIC 3461
Finally, take a relaxing walk around Lake Daylesford. The walk around takes about 30 minutes and makes for a pleasant and picturesque afternoon activity. There are little jetty’s along the way which you can stop and paddle your feet in the water. This is another great option for a picnic.
Daylesford houses an eclectic mix of boutiques and antique stores. Here are a few to keep an eye out for. eCasa is located on the main high street and specialises in homewares and cute trinkets, a great store for buying a gift. Bokeh is also on the main high street and has a stunning range of designer homewares with a Nordic aesthetic. This store had so many beautiful pieces, I had to create some self-control not to spend a fortune. For the art lovers Michael Parker Gallery has two locations in town, both with beautiful artworks and sculptures, it is well worth a look. Daylesford is well known for its antique shops, and there were some amazing ones in town. I could have easily spent hours wandering through looking at all of the vintage, retro and antique items collected in each of them, they were like an Aladdin’s cave of treasure. The best were The Mills Market, this one is warehouse sized so leave yourself some reasonable browsing time. It has everything from antiques, vintage clothing to more modern wonders. Brick Lane Bazaar, which is on the main high street had some really amazing retro pieces. Finally, Curious Antiques which was a little treasure trove opposite Koukla.
Find them here:
eCasa 89 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Bokeh 66 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Michael Parker Gallery Michael Parker Gallery
The Mills Market 105 Central Springs Rd, Daylesford VIC 3460
Brick Lane Bazaar 34 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Curious Antiques 91 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC 3460
Where to Stay
We had a lovely time glamping with Cosy Tents. Find out about our stay here.