Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges
One of regional Victoria’s not-so-secret gems is Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges. An hour and a half from Melbourne, Daylesford, with its famous mineral waters, is well known as spa country. But this region and its quaint collection of historical towns is overflowing with offerings that will appeal to wellness travellers seeking all kinds of experiences. Here are five reasons why you’ll want to head to Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges for your next wellness adventure.
1. The unique landscape
The region’s expansive green paddocks are punctuated by bushy hills, extraordinary forests and volcanic rock formations. While away an afternoon watching the clouds go by in one of the region’s botanic gardens or climb to the top of Hanging Rock. Interested in indigenous history? This culturally sensitive site is a remarkable rock formation resulting from a volcanic event some 6 million years ago. The summit track is just under an hour round trip (although you’ll want to set aside some extra time to explore the craggy rock formations and take in the spectacular view) or you can walk around the base in about 30min.
For some quiet green time, join Wild Mindfulness for their tour of Wombat State Forest on the first Sunday of every month. Immerse yourself in some of Australia’s most spectacular nature while experiencing mindful nature engagement activities to deepen your connection with the forest.
"While away an afternoon watching the clouds go by in one of the region’s botanic gardens or climb to the top of Hanging Rock."
2. The historic towns and sites
Macedon Ranges is located on the Country of the Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Peoples. In addition to Hanging Rock, other places of cultural significance include Mount Macedon (Geboor), Yelka Park and Mount William (Wil-im-ee Moor-ring). And as a pathway to the goldfields in Bendigo, the Macedon Ranges region is also steeped in historic settler significance. Explore the charming architecture of the towns or head to the Kyneton Museum to learn more about the area’s interesting past.
Midway between Woodend and Daylesford lies the endearing township of Trentham. Its connectivity to both the Macedon Ranges and spa country makes it the perfect base for exploring the region. We love Acre of Roses – a micro flower farm with luxury wellness accommodation. This adults-only sanctuary offers a unique wellness bend to your stay. Soak in the natural rainwater heated cedar hot tub or learn how to make rose water kefir from rose petals harvested from the farm.
3. The weekend markets
Who doesn’t enjoy a quiet meander through markets? Grab fresh seasonal produce direct from the growers at one of the many farmers markets. Explore the offerings of established and emerging artists, craftspeople and designers at the Castlemaine Artists’ Market. The Gisborne Olde Time Market promises to have something for everyone with over 250 stalls featuring a broad range of fresh produce and local artisan wares. Our pick is the Lancefield & District Farmers’ Market. Held on the fourth Saturday of the month and one of the most successful farmers’ markets in Victoria, we love the diversity of produce and it’s a great excuse to stop off in this gorgeous tiny town.
"To embrace your creativity, The Old Auction House hosts a number of weekend craft experiences."
4. The wellness experiences
Hepburn Springs is a must visit location for some serious pampering. Enjoy a soak session in The Mineral Springs’ indoor/outdoor mineral water therapy zone. Move between the heated and cool mineral water spa pools to invigorate the circulatory system or hang in the sauna and steam room to aid natural detoxification. Follow up with a treatment from their extensive spa menu before heading to nearby Lake House for an unforgettable lunch.
To embrace your creativity, The Old Auction House hosts a number of weekend craft experiences including mindful macrame and Kokedama building. Or, if you’re interested in learning how to ferment your own foods and drinks, you can’t go past a workshop with Sharon Flynn and The Fermentary in Daylesford.
Want to connect with your inner zen? Warrior One Yoga host a 2 night retreat in Daylesford. After engaging in the daily yoga practices, enjoying the plant-based breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared by private chef Shakti Fresh and staying at the stunning Lewellyn House, you’re sure to leave feeling rested and restored. Or to experience farm life in absolute style, Dairy Flat Lodge is a unique retreat set on 38 acres of productive farmland that offers an opportunity to experience country living with the comforts of a hotel.
5. The nourishment
With its fertile volcanic soil, Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges is home to some of the state’s best produce and they have an abundance of incredible dining experiences to prove it. Enjoy locally grown seasonal produce in cellar door eateries, cosy gastropubs and applauded restaurants across the entire region. Keen for that quintessential country pub experience? You can’t go past cosying up by the fireplace as you feast on the seasonal menu at Trentham’s Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Image credits: Visit Victoria, Dairy Flat Lodge, The Old Auction House