Everything to see, eat and do in Daylesford

lavender fields in daylesford

Mary O'Brien and Jessica Taylor Yates

Posted October 21, 2022

Famous for its mineral springs, galleries and gardens, the quaint regional town of Daylesford is the perfect place to relax and unwind while exploring the delights of the region. 

Looking for a weekend getaway in regional Victoria where you can enjoy fine wine, soak in mineral springs, enjoy luscious greenery and antique finds? 

Situated just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, the town of Daylesford is the perfect getaway for those looking to indulge in the senses. Located at the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, Daylesford and nearby Hepburn Springs are filled with plenty of activities, restaurants, natural experiences, and artistic finds.  

Although originally established as a gold-mining town during the Rush in 1852, these days, Daylesford is known for its burgeoning art scene, antique bazaars, rich gastronomy, scenic views and of course, for housing over 80 per cent of Australia’s mineral springs. 

At only 25 minutes from the RACV Goldfields Resort, it’s the perfect spot for you to rest, unwind, and enjoy all this spa town has to offer. 


Mineral springs in Daylesford

Revitalise your senses at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa. Image: Getty. 

Things to do in Daylesford

Explore the great outdoors 

Daylesford is known for its picturesque gardens, springs, lakeside views and scenic bike trails. On a sunny day, head outside and explore: 

Lavandula farm 

The Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm has a lovely rustic setting just 10 minutes from Daylesford. The 1850s stone buildings now house a cafe and gift shop, while the farm is planted with lavender. 

The European-style gardens are also worth a stroll, as well as the veggie gardens that supply the cafe.  

Wombat Hill Gardens

It’s beautiful to wander around these gardens, designed in the 1860s on top of an extinct volcano by Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller (who also established Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens).  

When the town is busy, it’s the perfect place to escape and take in the beautiful view during a picnic or drop into Wombat Hill House Cafe for tea and scones. 

Lake Daylesford 

It’s no wonder Daylesford is known as one of the prettiest towns in Victoria, with such a lovely lake as its central focal point. Ideal for a Sunday afternoon stroll; it takes about 45 minutes to leisurely whirl around.

Alternatively, Lake Daylesford is a great place for kids to ride their bikes, enjoy the playground and scenery. You can even bring a picnic, or use the barbecues provided.  

Goldfields bike trail

Looping through Creswick Regional Park, head down RACV’s 4.5km mountain bike trail that starts at the Goldfields Resort and links up to the Goldfields Track.  

In the nearby forest, there are more than 100km of bike trails to suit all levels, and the popular 23km Wombat Loop is well signposted. 

Wombat State Forest 

Home to native Australian wildlife such as koalas, echidnas, kangaroos and, of course, wombats, The Wombat State Forest between Daylesford and Woodend covers an impressive 70,000 hectares. 

It’s a lovely place to smell the eucalyptus, enjoy the wattle and get back to nature, where you can walk, cycle or even ride horses in the forest.  


Water at Lake Daylesford

Take in the views of the majestic Lake Daylesford. Image: Getty.

Enjoy art for art’s sake in Daylesford

Daylesford has become a major tourist hub which is well known for its alternative lifestyle and diverse artistic communities. Take in the town’s commitment to creative art and culture at:  

Convent Gallery

The Convent Gallery has an impressive three levels of artworks and is considered one of the best historical experiences in regional Victoria. Built as a private residence in the 1860s, it was later a convent for almost a century. Since then, artist Tina Banitska transformed the building into seven galleries for both Australian and international artists. 

As well as the art, inside guests can enjoy a bar and cafe as they take in the roving exhibitions. 

Bromley & Co 

Artist David Bromley and wife Yuge have galleries in Melbourne and Sydney, but Daylesford is known as their favourite getaway. A simple entrance leads into a large warehouse filled with artistic works. Look out for larger-than-life paintings, clothing, prints and sculptures. 


Home to exhibitions, workshops, and artist residents, the new ArtHouse at RACV Goldfields Resort in Creswick is a space for artists, visitors, guests and the local community to engage in the creative arts and support the local artist scene in the region. 



Horse riding is a popular pastime in Daylesford. Image: Alamy. 

Activities to do in Daylesford

If you prefer to get out an explore when on a getaway, there’s plenty to keep you busy, from relaxing in bubbling water to exploring the local area:  

Springs and Spas

There are 65 mineral springs in the Daylesford-Hepburn region, making it the biggest spa region in Australia.  

People come for traditional wellness bathing in Hepburn Springs’ mineral-rich waters during all seasons of the year. As one of the most famous outdoor springs in Victoria, the indoor Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa opened in 1895, and at just a four-minute drive from Daylesford, is still popular with those looking to relax, revive and unwind in the mineral-rich waters. 

For a real pamper session, it’s hard to resist a dedicated spa treatment. RACV Members save at the nearby Daylesford Day Spa.   

Go antiquing at the markets and bazaars

More of an indoor bazaar than outdoor-style market, come for a vintage find at The Amazing Mill Markets in Daylesford as your rummage through stalls of jewellery, kitchenware, collectables, clothing, furniture and more. You can take a break from fossicking at the café, as you debate whether you really need a vintage jukebox that will take up a whole wall of your living room (spoiler alert: you do).  

Vincent Street, the main hub of Daylesford, is also full of antique stores, from those selling one-of-a-kind furniture or art pieces to the Brick Lane Bazaar, where you can rummage through indoor stalls, finding anything from brand new earrings to a collectable road sign from the 1950s.  

Cruise down Vincent Street

Considered the main street of Daylesford, here you will find bars, restaurants, mini art galleries, clothing shops and treasure troves of antiques.

Make sure to pop into the Paradise Bookshop, featuring 14 rooms of books, games, records, and toys of times gone by, or have a wonder through Found, run by a mother-daughter duo who have collected unique pieces and created an eclectic collection.   

All aboard the Daylesford Spa Country Railway

As one of Victoria’s great heritage railways for kids, the Daylesford Spa Country Railway is a heritage train ride that begins at the 1882 Daylesford railway station, passing through the scenic views of the Central Highlands forest and countryside.  

The team also run The Daylesford Sunday Market at the station, with rotating stall holders and a Farmers’ Market. Dogs welcome. 


Heritage Railway Daylesford

The Daylesford Spa Country Railway is fun for all ages. Image: Alamy. 

Eat, drink, and enjoy Daylesford

Where you dine can make or break a holiday, and luckily, Daylesford has a range of culinary delights to put your tastebuds into overdrive. The Goldfields are a foodie’s paradise, with plenty of gastronomic locations to keep you satisfied from morning to night: 

Cliffy’s Emporium 

Start your day with a farmer’s brunch at Cliffy’s Emporium, a café that prides itself on their use of locally sourced produce in their dishes and attached general store. Brimming with 1950s character and charm as a nod to when it first began, diners can enjoy dishes including Cliffy’s famous Turkish eggs, a home-style breakfast to keep you full all day, and daily specials in this cosy country abode.

The charming little café is usually overflowing with visitors inside and out, so bookings are recommended. 

The Boathouse Restaurant Daylesford

For lunch, head to The Boathouse Restaurant, featuring exquisite views of Lake Daylesford and a light-filled interior that allows the sun’s rays to shine in while you dine. Bookings are required for both lunch and dinner with a minimum spend, with dishes curated by revered Dutch chef Nixson. 

winespeake cellar + deli

Looking for a mid-afternoon vino and cheese session? Look no further than ‘winespeake cellar + deli,’ a corner delicatessen on the edge of Vincent St pairing wine, cheese, and grazing boards to enjoy at bar seating overlooking the town alongside an impressive in-store deli featuring charcuterie items, desserts, oils, and a French pantry. 

Don’t be fooled by the ordering of a single cheese, either – the servings are generous and the staff extraordinarily knowledgeable, so consider choosing an item and allowing them to pair for you. 

The Chocolate Mill

Mmm, chocolate. Standing for over 20 years, The Chocolate Mill is Daylesford’s home for chocolate lovers worldwide.

Stocking fair-trade European chocolate that can be store bought or enjoyed in numerous dishes at the Hot Chocolate Café, the sustainable Mill is an enjoyable stop for travellers and families alike. 

RACV Members save 10% on chocolate purchases at The Chocolate Mill.


The Boathouse has panoramic views of Lake Daylesford. Image: Alamy.

The Boathouse has panoramic views of Lake Daylesford. Image: Alamy. 

Day trips from Daylesford

If you’re in the Highlands for a while, take a day trip around the magnificent highlights of the Macedon Ranges and have a picnic at Hanging Rock; head to a local winery or cellar door; or have a French dining experience in nearby Trentham or artist’s walk in Castlemaine. 

You can even add on a day trip or experience in nearby Ballarat, from panning for gold at Sovereign Hill to enjoying the wildlife park and local nightlife. RACV Members save on tickets at Sovereign Hill and other top attractions across Victoria.