Sit back in your chair for a moment and picture it in your mind. It could be the perfect holiday, your richly deserved reward for all your hard work this year. Spend your days being pampered in the spa, and your afternoons in natural mineral springs. Welcome to Daylesford, Victoria.
This former gold-mining town was established in 1852, with the unfortunate name of Wombat Flat. Fortunately, the future of the town’s tourism industry was saved by a quick name-change to Daylesford. Conveniently located just to the northwest of Melbourne, the Daylesford area is home to more than 80% of the natural mineral springs in Victoria. There are 65 natural springs in the immediate vicinity of Daylesford and nearby Hepburn Springs.
Daylesford survived the end of the gold rush in Victoria, and the end of the predominance of the railroads in Australia, to be “rediscovered” in the 1970’s and 1980’s as a natural health destination. Building on the natural springs in the area, Daylesford is now known far and wide as an outstanding holiday location, with plenty of pet-friendly and family-friendly options around. Holiday accommodation is easy to find here, as many of the local hotels combine top-shelf holiday accommodation with spas on site but for complete flexibility check out the range of self catering apartments or holiday villas.
The Daylesford area has plenty to do and see after your spa and mineral springs visits are taken care of. At the top of the list is the Daylesford Spa Country Railway. The Railway, run completely by volunteers, celebrates the days when Daylesford was a major junction point for regional rail lines. On Sundays, holidaymakers can still take a 25-minute ride (each way) to the Bullarto terminus (still an active train station, and the highest-altitude station in Victoria). Take the time to see the old train station and the turntable in the yard.
After your train ride, perhaps you’d like to add in some more modern, and definitely more active, transportation. Victorian Quad Bike Tours adds adrenaline to your holiday with a training session on modern four-wheeled ATVs, and then takes you through the Wombat State Forest on a 90-minute thrill ride. Be warned – winter holidaymakers can get quite muddy during the ride, so bring along weather-appropriate gear. You won’t be too far away from your holiday rental home, so getting cleaned up in time for the next attraction is no problem.
If you’re in Daylesford for rest and relaxation, a nice glass (or even a bottle!) of wine can help to set the tone for your evening. The Daylesford region is very welcoming to oenophiles, with four vineyards within 10 minutes of town. Visit Passing Clouds, Sailors Falls Estates, Ellender Estate, and Fontanella Vineyards to satisfy your bacchanalian desires. If you’re serious about wine, you’ll also find holiday villas on offer to rent.
One main factor for the success of the wineries in the Daylesford area is the climate. It is cool enough for even Italian varietals to grow and prosper. You will find temperatures ranging from a high of 26° to 28° Celsius in December through February, with nighttime temperatures dropping to a low of 3.5° to 4° Celsius in June through August. Contrast this with London’s typical mid-30’s during the summer months, and a Daylesford summer holiday begins to look rather inviting.
It may seem that Daylesford is too far away for convenient travel, but there are myriad options to choose from. Nearly every airline operating out of London has a flight to Melbourne. Carriers are leaving from Heathrow, London City Airport, Stansted, and Gatwick with multiple flight times per day. One would be simply spoiled for choice of carrier and departure times. The most difficult part of the trip would, in fact, be in the decision of when to fly and where to stay. After you’ve done the booking for your flight and for your holiday home in Daylesford, all the hard work is done. After arrival in Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, Daylesford is only 80 minutes northwest by car. Hiring a rental car is strongly recommended. There is no train service, and hiring a car will ensure that you have full flexibility in exploring the area around Daylesford. There is limited bus service between some of the smaller towns (for example, between Daylesford and Hepburn Springs), but the buses don’t run every day.
Many of us often think about how wonderful it would be to temporarily escape from the hustle of our daily grind, just for a while, and to really relax and reenergize. Here’s your chance – Daylesford, Victoria, Australia.