Welcome to Spa Country! This area of regional Victoria is a delicious destination for a bit of rest and relaxation. Here are some things to do in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, whether you’re away on a group trip with friends or a romantic couples weekend.
If you’re Melbourne-based (or visiting) and you quite fancy leaving the city, a Daylesford weekend away may just be the answer your soul is searching for.
Particularly if you’re all coupled up, or looking to relax with a group of girlfriends, with some wine, gossip, or general R&R.
The towns of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs are a short drive away from Melbourne (around 1 hour, 30 minutes), making them a perfect weekend escape from the city.
What is Daylesford known for?
Daylesford is located in the heart of Victoria’s Spa Country. These are, as the name suggests, areas that are rich in mineral springs and have an abundance of bathhouses and day spas to soak in and enjoy.
The region is home to some beautiful towns, top-notch restaurants, gorgeous vistas and stunning nature. What more could you ask for?
When is the best time to visit Daylesford & Hepburn Springs?
Daylesford or Hepburn Springs are quite lovely in autumn (March-May). The weather is warm and you’ll see red, orange and gold foliage just about everywhere.
You can have a marvellous time during this season eating, drinking wine, taking photos, relaxing and exploring the area.
However, spring is really nice as well. Plus, the middle of winter is not an awful time to soak in spas!
I’d probably avoid the area in summer, however it might be nice to journey to when there are less crowds.
Spa Country makes an excellent destination, whatever the time of year – rain, hail and shine.
So long as you’re committed to unwinding and relaxing, with plenty of good food and bevvies onside, you’re in for a lovely time.
Here are some things to do in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Where to Stay in Daylesford
As a group, we spent the night in a family room at Central Springs Inn.
For couples, I thoroughly recommend Old Chilli B&B. Beautiful rooms, an amazing breakfast and there’s alpacas and a friendly dog called Archie! Not to mention a giant bathtub to relax in.
Or, base yourself right in town at Hotel Frangos.
If you’re up for something particularly fancy, consider staying at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel, where you’ll be utterly pampered.
Or for sustainable accommodation options, consider Bohemia, a 15 minute walk to Lake Daylesford.
Things to do in Daylesford & Hepburn Springs
1. Have a soak at the Hepburn Bathhouse
It’s worth making the trip out to this region for the Hepburn Bathhouse alone. It’s certainly one of my favourite things to do in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs.
Hepburn Springs is home to the only mineral spring bathing experience in Australia, making it a must for spa lovers visiting Victoria.
There have been facilities on this site since 1895 – obviously they’ve been refurbished since then!
The spa comprises of two sections.
General Bathing: is available in the two mineral pools within The Bathhouse.
The Sanctuary: There are several more pools (and steam rooms) inside this area, my favourite of which was the Salt and Magnesium Pool.
It’s fun to drift in, while you have a yarn with a friend.
Entry price gets you access to the pools for a period of two hours.
If you have upgraded, you’ll be provided with a towel, robe and locker for the duration of your time within The Sanctuary.
The Bathhouse has a range of wellness treatments on offer, if you’re looking for some extra pampering during your weekend in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. If you ask me, it’s one of the best things to do in Daylesford for couples – who doesn’t love a sexy soak?
Do make sure you walk further along carpark, from the entrance of the Bathhouse. You’ll find a tap where you can fill a bottle up with mineral spring water – straight from the source!
2. Visit the Convent Gallery in Daylesford
One of the top Daylesford attractions, this site consists of a museum, gallery spaces, a gift shop, a beautiful chapel and cafe, with gorgeous gardens to explore.
Head to the museum to discover the history of the convent’s original inhabitants, the Presentation Sisters & Holy Cross Boarders. Catch the works of local, national and international artists at the Gallery. Wander the gardens or grab breakfast, Devonshire or High Tea at the cafe.
3. Stroll through Daylesford’s main streets
Wondering what to do in Daylesford itself?
Spread the tourist dollar around by shopping your way through Daylesford’s rather eclectic collection of boutique and antique shops and bookstores.
If you adore clothing and other stuff made out of Alpaca wool and think jumpers made out of this material feel like wearing a cloud (guilty), head to Alpaca Passion, although be warned – you’ll never feel the same way about sheep’s wool again.
Manteau Noir and Eclectic Notions are both delightful to have a rummage through as far as vintage and local goods go.
And there are plenty of secondhand bookstores and antique shops to browse in for extended periods of time.
As far as food on the run goes, I nabbed an early-morning, very delicious ham and cheese croissant from Daylesford Bakery.
I also have it on good authority that the coffee from Larder is worth a sip (don’t drink the stuff myself, sadly).
You’ll find more tips on where to eat in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs later on in this guide.
4. & explore Hepburn Springs
It’s well worth having a poke around Hepburn Springs, too.
It’s much smaller than Daylesford, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in… well, cuteness.
The General Store is well-worth checking out, if not to just admire its vintage façade.
If you’re after a meal or light snack after soaking in the spa, Hepburn Springs has you covered.
Check out Portal 108 while you’re there too, for some boutique clothes and goods. I could have spent a lot of money there.
5. Drop into the Daylesford Sunday Markets
These markets are held every Sunday from 8am – 2pm at the Daylesford Historic Railway Station.
There’s all kinds of goodies on offer. Books, bric-a-brac, local produce and clothing.
You’ll find plenty of parking and you can even bring your furriest friend (on-lead).
6. Poke around Lavandula Swiss-Italian Farm
Located around a five minute and quite scenic drive from Hepburn Springs, is Lavandula Swiss-Italian Farm.
This lavender farm has been around since the 1850s – you can tour the old farmhouse from this era, that’s still standing in great condition, today.
There’s a wonderful cafe selling woodfire pizza and all sorts of treats, including lavender scones.
As a working farm, there’s also animals everywhere, some of which are quite happy and willing to amble over for a pat.
I was most amused to see emus housed in a paddock with a highland cow, sheep and alpacas.
The lavender is best seen from November, over the summer, but it’s a pleasant place to visit anytime of the year (although to note, the farm is often closed during winter).
I highly advise getting there early, around 10.30 when the place opens. It can get quite crowded, otherwise!
It’s a great place to visit with families, or friends.
7. Laze away the afternoon at the Daylesford Cider Co
I can’t think of many activities that bring more pleasure than spending a lazy Sunday afternoon sipping cider in the (very) warm autumn sun.
You can do just this at Daylesford Cider Co, located an easy 3 kilometres out of the town centre.
There’s plenty of grass around to spread yourself out upon if the weather’s fine.
If not, the very cosy tavern will provide you with warmth and ambience in equal amounts.
If you’re fretting at the thought of not being able to sample all the delicious sounding drinks on the menu – well, don’t worry because you definitely can.
You can order a tasting paddle featuring the farm’s ciders, made from their English-heritage listed apples grown organically in the region.
Pair this up with delicious pizza fresh from the wood-fire oven and some live entertainment to boot.
And if the weather is looking to be a-ok – don’t forget to pack your picnic blanket!
8. Sniff, swirl and sip wine at Passing Clouds Winery
Wine more your thing? Drop into the cellar door of Passing Clouds Winery, located seven minutes from Daylesford in the village of Musk.
During the summer months, there is a ‘Caravino’ on site, which sells house-made picnic boxes alongside takeaway bottles or glasses of wine.
9. Visit Hanging Rock
If you’re looking for things to do near Daylesford, then head to this marvellous and magical place.
Hanging Rock is the magnificant result of an ancient volcanic eruption.
It is a significant cultural landmark for the the Woi Wurrung (Wurundjeri), the Djaara and the Taungurung peoples and is a popular destination today for events and nature walks.
After paying a fee to enter, you’re free to explore the area and even take a picnic by Hanging Rock – if you dare.
10. Take a Llama Trek
And in what may be the best thing to do in Daylesford, Hepburn Springs – hell, the entire region – you can take a 5 kilometre walk with a llama around Hanging Rock.
Need I say anymore?
11. Stroll around Lake Daylesford
If the weather’s nice, it wouldn’t hurt to head to Lake Daylesford.
You can rent paddleboats, have a BBQ or picnic or simply walk the circumference of the lake, which takes around 45 minutes.
If you’re in the area and fancy a special treat, settle in for a meal at renowned restaurant Lake House.
Best places to eat in Daylesford & Hepburn Springs
If you’re looking for somewhere to dine in Daylesford, Koula is where you want to head.
I now daydream regularly about their pumpkin gnocchi and the cafe is as funky on the interior as it is on the exterior.
Wombat Hill House has a beautiful indoor and outdoor setting.
The food is great and if you fancy, you can purchase a stuffed toy wombat to take home as a keepsake.
Cliffy’s Emporium is quite popular for lunch and equally as fun to poke around in.
Many head to the Farmers Arms for dinner, but I found the food to be a bit underwhelming, for the price. The decor inside is quite lovely, however.
For a special treat, book yourself a table at Sault restaurant in Daylesford.
The venue uses seasonal produce (often grown in their kitchen gardens) to make their delectable meals.
The place is also photographic as hell, located next to a dam and featuring rows of lavender fields.
Daylesford in a day
Making a quick day trip to Daylesford? This is what I recommend prioritising:
- Grab a coffee from Larder.
- Drop into the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa for a quick soak
- Head to Lavandula Swiss-Italian Farm for a wander, lunch or scones
- Wander through the Convent Gallery and poke your head into Cliffy’s Emporium
- Enjoy ciders in the sun and woodfire pizza at Daylesford Cider Co
There you have it – some of the best things to do in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. It’s a beautiful region of the state, one I find myself coming to again and again, because there’s always something new to discover. Definitely add it to your list.
Have you been to Daylesford and Hepburn Springs? What was your impression of these two Victorian towns?
Please note: I was hosted by Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa and Daylesford Cider Co in exchange for an honest review.
Please note, most of these experiences take place on the country of the Dja Dja Wurrung People. We acknowledge them as the Traditional Owners of these lands and pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.