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Unwind in Daylesford, Regional Melbourne, VIC

Lake Daylesford, Victoria, Australia Copyright Jacqui Martin
MAR10 - Convent, Daylesford MANDATORY CREDIT Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges
Tourism Victoria - Daylesford townscape
visionsofvictoria Bacchus Marsh in Daylesford

Unwind in Daylesford, Regional Melbourne, VIC

story by: Jo Wedlock

Next time you are thinking about taking a holiday to Melbourne, why not visit one of the best little Spa regions in the world – Daylesford.  The waters of Daylesford are famous for their relaxing properties. Whether you prefer to enjoy a mineral spa, a decadent meal of local produce or accommodation with a lake view, these thermal waters provide it all.

Daylesford is an easy hour from Melbourne Airport, away from the ‘bay’ and it is like stepping into a different country, not just a different part of this great city.  With a distinctly European flavour to the scenery, there is even a different microclimate here – often completely different from the city itself.

This little town provides getaways that are near on perfect.  Local Melbournites come here for everything from relaxing hen’s retreats to romantic weekends, arts and crafts fairs or for a spot of culture.  All of these tend to revolve around the therapeutic waters of the Daylesford spa area – anciently renowned for its healing and relaxing qualities.
Here are our top ‘must do’ things when visiting Daylesford:

Where to Stay
The Lake House is one of the most exclusive and luxurious properties in the Victoria regions. Family owned and managed by famous chef Alla Wolf Tasker and her artist husband, their daughter manages the hotel and resort.  Individual little luxury units are tucked up into the bush or nestled along the lake edge of this beautiful property.  Needless to say, with a famous chef as restaurateur, the food is divine and is one of the best breakfasts I have ever had!  There is a stunning walk around the lake that can take an hour or so, or you can hire a boat and venture out onto the waters. Whatever you chose, you can’t go wrong staying here.  If you are a cooking fan, each quarter the Lake House offers celebrity chef cooking programmes that you can participate in.

Relax in a Day Spa
While there are almost too many spas to count in this small village community, the Daylesford Day Spa is one of the best.  Alternatively, The Mineral Spa in Hepburn Springs is a destination day spa in the heart of Victoria’s spa country and only three minutes from Daylesford. It is designed as a sanctuary for relaxation with breathtaking views into the countryside.

The Convent Art Gallery
Australian Tourism Award Winner, the Convent Gallery in Daylesford offers a wide range of experiences. This 19th Century Victorian mansion was built in the 1860's as the private residence for the Gold Commissioner, the building was purchased by the Catholic Church in the 1880's and was a convent and boarding school for nearly 100 years. Left in disrepair, the site was purchased by artist Tina Banitska in 1989. Now meticulously restored to its original splendour it combines aspects of contemporary architecture and art into the fabric of the building as well as unforgettable views. Shop for jewellery, fashion and accessories in the Convent retail areas, indulge in world-class fare in the sunlit and art adorned Mediterranean cafe, have an intimate rendezvous or vibrant get together at the stylish lounge bar. You can even witness the fascinating process of cricket bat manufacture from start to finish in the Tinetti family ‘Cricket Willow’ facility.

The Hamlet of Shepherds Flat
Several hilly kilometres past Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, is Shepherds Flat, an institution in Australian cricket history and home to five generations of the Tinetti family. Following the 1902 MCG Test Match between Australia and England, English captain Archie MacLaren, surprised to learn that that Australia did not cultivate its own bat willow, sent cuttings to test umpire and Shepherds Flat local Robert Crockett. From the sole cutting that survived the journey grew thousands of willow trees at Shepherds Flat and the Crockett brand of bats became a household name amongst cricketers.

Here at Shepherds flat you can view the original Tinetti family cricket ground, explore the ‘museum’ memorabilia and watch a bat being made – a must do if you have any cricket fans or players in your family!

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