Victoria’s famous spa sanctuary, Daylesford is an oasis of calm where luxurious spa retreats, fields of lavender and charming boutique cottages sit amongst acres of fairytale rural landscapes.
Just an hour from Melbourne, this quaint country town is the type of place you can escape to all-year-round. A place where you can soak away all your troubles in warm, mineral-rich waters and devour some of regional Victoria's most delectable fare.
So get ready to experience the magic of Daylesford – we’ve put together an essential checklist of where to eat, drink, stay and explore. Prepare for the serenity that will ensue...
WHERE TO EAT
A trip to Daylesford wouldn't be complete without sampling the region's delicious local fare. And this town is known for it — its reputation as a foodie hub continues to grow at rapid speed. Discover an array of fantastic cafés, restaurants and fine dining institutions, from the fanciest restaurant in town, to the trusted café the locals swear by. Here are our go-to stops for foodie indulgence.
1. Lake House Restaurant
A drop off at Lake House Daylesford is an absolute must. There are myriads of ways to spend time here, including a visit to their award-winning spa (more on this later) or staying overnight in one of their stunning suites. But for food lovers, it's all about the dining at much-loved Lake House Restaurant. Look forward to a Chef-Hatted menu (this renowned dining spot has been awarded two) of seasonal fare paired with an internationally acclaimed wine list, all served in the prettiest of sunlit settings.
4 King Street, Daylesford
A welcome change from the white tablecloths of the Lake House, Cliffy's Emporium is a laid-back local gem, and quite possibly the cutest café in town. A lovingly preserved 1950s general store, this rustic outpost was Daylesford's go-to for fresh produce, groceries and farm supplies.
Fast forward to today and it still maintains its vintage charm, with the same rusty corrugated iron and distressed timber panels it was blessed with 60 years ago. Farmers still drop in with fresh fruit and veg, and shelves are packed with a delicious selection of local culinary offerings.
Doubling up as a trendy café, stop here for breakfast and order the ‘Cliffy’s Benedict’ — and yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. Don't forget to stock up on locally-made bread, pies, cakes and other goodies from the deli on your way out.
30 Raglan Street, Daylesford, Victoria, 3460
3. Sault Restaurant
Behind a fanciful fountain in a stunning two-storey country house, visitors are destined for romance at Sault Restaurant. The surrounding lavender-specked landscapes are simply breathtaking, but just wait until you see the menu, you’ll be even more smitten. Indulge your culinary senses with three or four courses of regionally sourced and seasonally inspired creations. This may well be the region's most impressive restaurant.
2349 Ballan Daylesford Road, Sailors Falls
WHERE TO DRINK
Daylesford has its fair share of pubs and bars, but if something more decadent takes your fancy, we’ve got the locales perfect for you. From vineyard tours to rustic café hangouts, these are the top spots to raise a glass – and coffee cup.
1. Bad Habits Cafe
Housed within Daylesford's iconic Convent Gallery, Bad Habits Cafe's sunlit Mediterranean-like space has a relaxed, welcoming vibe that sets the scene for an early morning coffee pit stop, or an early evening glass of wine. Soak up the ambience (as well the Shiraz) before exploring the onsite galleries and surrounding gardens. The high atrium ceiling fills the room with so much lovely light, and the art-filled walls provide a little teaser of what’s to come.
7 Daly Street, Daylesford
2. Passing Clouds
If your wish is to while away the hours at a local winery, head on over to the cellar door at Passing Clouds. Located just a five-minute drive from Daylesford, you can sample their most recently released wines, including their chardonnay and Pinot Noir blends — made from grapes they proudly grow onsite. Whilst here grab yourself a glass of wine, head out onto their large deck to soak up the sun, and watch the the clouds, indeed pass by.
30 Roddas Lane, Musk
3. Cafe La Trattoria
The minute you smell the fragrant scent of fresh lavender, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm. Located a short 15-minute drive from the heart of Daylesford, there’s an abundance to explore here, but their onsite eatery, Cafe La Trattoria is an absolute must.
Take shade outside beneath the shady trees, hole up inside the rustic café, or (our personal favourite) outside amongst the vines — there are plenty of spots to choose from. The café offers a delicious menu, from breakfast right through to afternoon tea. But the real draw card here has to be their famous lavender Champagne. We won't judge you for ordering two glasses.
350 Hepburn-Newstead Road, Shepherds Flat
WHERE TO STAY
Keen to make a weekend of it? The choices in Daylesford are truly endless. Of course you have your pick of luxurious five-star luxury hotels, but the beauty of Dalyesford is that it's so intimate. The town itself is eclectic and humble, so we think it's only fitting to choose a place to stay that shares the same sentiment. With that in mind, we’ve found the perfect retreats that are just as delightful as the town they dwell in.
1. Milk & Honey
Sitting on an elevated site surrounded by rolling countryside, Milk and Honey is a quaint two-bedroom property located in the centre of Daylesford. A winding leafy stairway will guide you indoors, where you'll find an eclectic mix of Indian and Asian antiques scattered throughout. There’s a worldly feel to each room, to add its cosiness, and outside there's a wrap-around verandah where you can relax with a cuppa and soak up the scenery, or watch the colourful sunset at the end of the day. Pour yourself a glass of wine, light the fireplace then sit back and unwind after a day out exploring the town.
14 Hill St, Daylesford
2. Acre of Roses
Just a 20-minute drive from Daylesford, you’ll stumble across Trentham – an equally whimsical town. And here lies the hidden gem, Acre of Roses. This former miners' cottage has been transformed into a luxury wellness retreat with three bedrooms and an enchanting garden that surrounds. Aside from the magazine-worthy interiors and thoughtful touches, there’s also a micro-farm of heritage roses onsite and a rainwater-filled cedar hot tub. Crank up the heat and prepare for ultimate relaxation.
5 Blue Mount Road, Trentham
3. St Remy
St Remy's sprawling home is perfect for a family gathering or girls' getaway. Consisting of three generous bedrooms, this property can sleep up to six guests, and comes with plenty of communal spaces to entertain. A beautiful hideaway that comes steeped in charm – from the sky-blue front door to the apple trees in the garden, St Remy's is the epitome of rustic elegance.
8 Hepburn Road , Daylesford Victoria
WHERE TO EXPLORE
As we mentioned, Daylesford has long been known as Victoria’s health and wellness hub, but let’s get one thing straight — there’s plenty of exploring and adventure to be had here, too. From historic art galleries to relaxing day spas, these are the spots to add to your weekend itinerary.
1. Convent Gallery
Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, a visit to the Convent Gallery in Daylesford is a must. This three-level fine art mecca is set in a historic 19th century mansion and boasts sweeping views of the countryside below. Inside, there are seven different galleries featuring work by over 100 local, national and international artists. The exhibition program also changes every eight weeks, so you can expect to see something different with each visit.
7 Daly Street, Daylesford, Victoria
2. Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
If you’ve ever dreamt of frolicking in a field surrounded by lavender, then a visit to Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, should score high on your wishlist. Home to Cafe La Trattoria mentioned above, this 100-acre property was once farmed by Swiss-Italians, and today features acres of sprawling gardens, a charming historic homestead and rows upon rows of lavender, that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take your time here and explore the farm at your leisure.
350 Hepburn-Newstead Road, Shepherds Flat
Daylesford combines a vibrant artistic community with a strong element of French provincial chic. The result? An eclectic town swarming with antiques and endless vintage shopping. Found is one of our favourites. Situated on Vincent Street — the main shopping strip in town — you'll find quality, unique treasures that proudly show their age.
119 Vincent St, Daylesford VIC
4. Salus Day Spa
After all that exploring, you’re going to need to fit in some zen time — you’re in Daylesford after all. With countless day spas to choose from, allow us to recommend our personal favourite: the award-winning Salus Day Spa. Tucked away in the lush gardens of the Lake House, treat yourself to a couple’s massage or soak in one of their tubs filled with hot mineral water, perched in a treehouse. Afterwards, you can sip on herbal tea and walk around the fern gully — just make sure to breathe in every last gasp of that garden-fresh Daylesford air, before making your way back to the city.
4 King Street, Daylesford, Victoria