Spotlight on... Daylesford and Macedon Ranges
Posted on Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Welcome to Victoria’s Spa Country. The region may have once drawn a crowd for its elusive gold nuggets, but these days it’s a Mecca for people seeking total relaxation.
It’s not hard to achieve when you can choose from more than 100 natural therapies and treatments – all within a five-kilometre radius of Daylesford – and immerse yourself in mineral springs. Daylesford and its neighbouring town, Hepburn Springs, boast Australia’s largest concentration of naturally occurring mineral springs, which have long been found to have healing properties.
It’s no surprise the area has become something of a haven, particularly for couples seeking solace, friends in search of some pampering and families after some time out. Everything from body wraps and massages, to facials and hydrotherapy can be enjoyed.
However, this region is so much more than a retreat destination. The historic towns within it are rapidly gaining recognition for their outstanding dining options, which are maximising the local produce. Some of the restaurant industry’s top awards have been bestowed on venues in the area, like the Lake House in Daylesford, which continues to hold a special place in Victoria’s regional dining scene.
The food and wine options continue in the Macedon Ranges, with Kyneton in particular home to some of regional Victoria’s best restaurants, including Source Dining, the Royal George Hotel and Mr Carsisi. The community atmosphere of these historic towns makes them feel more like villages, such as Woodend, which creates a great backdrop to their heritage pubs and contemporary cafes, all proving increasingly popular. A must-do is the Holgate Brewhouse in Woodend for its brilliant boutique beer.
Those seeking more adventure from their getaway will be happy here too, with a wide range of bushwalks and scenery to explore, including Hanging Rock – famous for its starring role in the fictional Australian classic novel and film, Picnic at Hanging Rock.
The vineyards of the Macedon Ranges shouldn’t be missed either – their cool-climate location, standout wines and stunning surrounds combine to create something special. More than 50 wineries can be found here, with their key varietals including pinot noir and chardonnay. Just an hour from Melbourne’s CBD, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to Mount Macedon and all its glory.
AN INSIDER'S GUIDE TO DAYLESFORD AND MACEDON RANGES
We asked three of our property owners to share their top tips for visiting Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges during the warmer months.
Fiona Campion, The Coach House
"There's a new operator adjacent to the iconic Boathouse in Daylesford who is offering paddle boats and paddleboards – a great new way to have fun on the lake. Combined with swimming and canoeing, this new venture means the lake offers many options to enjoy the cool water without the sand. The lake is spring fed and the surrounds offer plenty of shade to cool off between dips – two very distinct advantages over the beach!"
Theresa Albioli, The Houses Daylesford
“Summer is equally as good as winter for endless spa enjoyment, so make the most of the many naturally occurring mineral springs in the region with some indulgent treatments and natural therapies. While you’re here, visit the Sunday markets near the historic Daylesford Station, wander around The Amazing Mill Markets (Australia’s largest indoor antique markets), and drop in to The Convent Gallery for amazing views of the town and surrounding countryside.”
Tonia Todman, The Stables at Highbank
"Kyneton in summer is serene and relaxing, offering delightful picnic possibilities, amazing dining at awarded restaurants and cafes, lovely gentle river walks, acclaimed cycle trails and close proximity to the Daylesford spas, galleries and boating on Lake Daylesford. Plus, you can choose from the many internationally recognised wines produced here in the cool climate granite belt that is Heathcote, Macedon and Kyneton. And all this is just an hour from Melbourne – amazing!"
OUR ACCOMMODATION PICKS
Mews Cottages, New Gisborne
Nestled in the foothills of Mount Macedon is this gorgeous collection of cottage-style escapes, just 45 minutes from Melbourne and the perfect base for exploring the wineries, restaurants, galleries and hiking trails of the Macedon Ranges. What we love about Mews Cottages is their inimitable style. They are all sumptuously furnished with a French provincial feel, and wonderfully provisioned. Complete with English-style box hedges, sunny courtyards and a beautiful tree-lined avenue setting, this is a charming yet contemporary getaway in this historic village.
Piccadilly House, Daylesford
Dating back to around 1860, Piccadilly House is one of Daylesford's oldest homes, but it has been lovingly maintained and appointed with a stunning combination of antique, vintage and modern interior adornments. With original polished floorboards, sash windows, heritage fireplaces and a great hallway stretching from front to back, the home evokes a wonderful sense of the past. It also offers plenty of space for up to 10 people, complete with five beautifully appointed bedrooms. All this is just a block from the heart of town, which offers great dining options, galleries and more.
Tarrangower Country House, Guildford
Tarrangower Country House, 20 minutes from Daylesford, will instantly instil a sense of calm and relaxation. Step inside and the rooms feel light and bright, and have been lavished with love to create airy spaces with a careful eye to design, comfort and attention to detail. Step out the back and the surprises continue. There’s a swimming pool, outdoor spa and hidden garden nooks. Walk to the top of the hill for amazing views of the surrounding mountains and forest.
The Coach House, Daylesford
A legacy from Daylesford’s gold rush past, the iconic Coach House sits right on the shore of Lake Daylesford. Recent renovations have preserved the building’s historic features while seamlessly updating the interior for modern living and comfort. Grand cast-iron terraces on the front and back of the house lay claim to some of the best views in town, looking out across the tree-lined lake. Surrounding this remarkable home is 1800 square metres of established European gardens that make for picturesque picnicking.
The Garden House, Daylesford
The Garden House, with its exquisite cloistered formal gardens, sitting atop Wombat Hill, is the ultimate destination for a relaxing break. Meandering covert paths, densely vegetated grounds, a passive, cascading fountain and rustic wood-fired pizza oven ensure a memorable getaway. Inside, immerse yourself in the contemporary furnished interiors and unwind in the sumptuous king beds. Ideally located within a short walk to the town centre, The Garden House is a fantastic option for those looking to unwind in a beautiful and convenient setting.
The Stables at Highbank, Kyneton
When Tonia Todman refashioned this old stable and blacksmith in Kyneton, the result was truly exquisite. To describe the style as simply ‘French Provincial’ does not do justice to The Stable’s tasteful blend of colonial bluestone architecture with Tonia's love of antiques, clawfoot baths, divine fabrics and dramatic yet inviting interior compositions. This two-bedroom gem offers sumptuous style with carefully camouflaged modern comforts and indulgent toiletries. Guests can also expect fresh flowers (notably, Tonia's famed David Austen roses), pots of herbs, elegant bowls of fruit and voluminous brekkie provisions.