Cormac Hanrahan
Daylesford & the Macedon RangesHead to the region that’s long been considered a special place of healing, and one of Victoria’s most loved destinations for a long weekend to indulge and rejuvenate.
Travel through the charming villages dotted around Victoria's Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region and celebrate the enriching effects of water, from the luxury spas, the decadent food and wine, the lush environment, the thriving arts and crafts community, and the holistic therapies. Travel just an hour north-west of Melbourne to an area boasting the greatest concentration of naturally occurring mineral springs in Australia. Daylesford and Hepburn Springs were built up around these springs and you're spoiled for choice of spa and wellness centres, each using the water's mineral properties differently to ensure maximum relaxation and wellbeing. Head to these towns for the added indulgences of restaurants serving sumptuous local food and wines, luxury accommodation, and shops and galleries displaying unique local wares. Impressive mansions, striking landscapes and some of Victoria's finest gardens combine to create the old-world ambience of the nearby Macedon Ranges. Tour Mount Macedon's heritage gardens, explore the 19th-century streetscapes of Woodend and Kyneton lined with art and craft galleries and vintage emporiums, or visit the legendary Hanging Rock, the haunting backdrop to The Picnic at Hanging Rock book and film. The Macedon Ranges is also a cool-climate wine region known for producing outstanding sparkling wine, pinot noir and chardonnay. Visit the cellar doors of over 40 wineries and spend time chatting to winemakers. Find excellent shiraz and cabernet in the wineries around Sunbury. You'll also discover an abundance of local produce, with even the smallest regional towns offering award-winning restaurants, provedores stocked with the best local preserves, farm gates selling the freshest seasonal fruits and vegetables, cheeses and meats. Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges region is just an hour north-west of Melbourne along the Western Freeway or the Calder Freeway.
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Things to do
Wander through Hanging Rock Makers Market
Hanging Rock Market is a quality art, crafts and gourmet food market set at the beautiful Hanging Rock Reserve. Now you can enjoy more than a picnic at Hanging Rock, Craft Markets Australia host this special craft and produce market at this well-known tourism icon. Visitors can expect to find an excellent variety of both local and regional stalls offering quality Australian made products, delicious gourmet foods and fresh homegrown produce. The Macedon Ranges are less than an hour's drive from Melbourne along the Calder Freeway and only half that time from Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport. Hanging Rock is easily accessed from the A79 Calder Freeway which passes by on the eastern side of Woodend or via Mt Macedon or from the M31 Hume Highway by turning off at Kilmore and travelling through Lancefield, or alter-natively from Wallan via Romsey. There is ample parking, great public amenities and easy walking.
Rejuvenate at Hepburn Springs
Relax and come back to life in the enriching natural waters of Hepburn Springs. Savour the bounty of the early Swiss Italian migrants, revel in the outdoor lifestyle, and discover a vibrant community of artists, healers, gardeners, writers and musicians. Hepburn Springs is located amid the largest concentration of mineral springs in Australia, which are full of health-giving minerals. Fill a bottle from the old-fashioned pumps and pipes in Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Reserve to get a taste of the different mineral formulations. Experience the healing effects of the waters at a local spa and wellness centre. The lavishly refurbished Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, established in 1895, offers hydrotherapy, massage and beauty therapy. Stay a little longer and keep your wellness retreat going with visits to The Mineral Spa and the Shizuka Ryokan Japanese Country spa. Hepburn Springs was established by Swiss Italian migrants during Victoria's 1850s gold rush and their legacy can still be felt at the cafes and restaurants along Main Road. Surrounding vineyards and farms are laden with fresh produce and fine wines – the perfect holiday souvenirs. Time your visit to coincide with festivals at Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm celebrating the local harvest and regional heritage. Pick up gifts and local arts and crafts in one of Hepburn Springs' unique shops and small galleries. Take some time to discover the splendid gold rush architecture visible in the many public buildings along the Historic Village Walk. Walkthrough Hepburn Regional Park in spring and see colourful wildflowers and the wide range of animals and birds that inhabit the area. Serious hikers can set out along the 16-kilometre Tipperary Track and explore natural wonders such as Sailors Falls, Mount Franklin, the Blowhole and the Hepburn Pool. A round of golf on Hepburn Springs' 18-hole golf course is another great way to spend the day. Hepburn Springs is just over one hour from Melbourne on the Western Freeway and Midland Highway, and just three kilometres from Daylesford.
Enjoy an afternoon at Hanging Rock Winery
Hanging Rock Winery has been creating wines of distinction for over 30 years and is rated as a coveted 5 Star Winery by James Halliday for being an ‘Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of exemplary quality and typicity’. It’s the largest in the Macedon Ranges, with their cellar door boasting an extensive award-winning range that showcases their own estate wines and others made from premium grapes from the best regions in Victoria. While you’re there, treat yourself to an extra bottle or two, along with a gourmet picnic box and grab a spot on their deck or lawns – it’s the perfect place to while away the afternoon, taking in the iconic backdrop of their vineyard, Hanging Rock and Mount Macedon. Passion and expertise have resulted in an exciting and extensive range of wines which they hope will bring you as much joy as it does them. You may even go home with some of their estate-grown, grass-fed, two-year-old Hanging Rock Beef. Visit between October and February to experience Art in the Vines - Sculpture Exhibition & Trail. Wander a trail of discovery, glass-in-hand, exploring the works of renowned local, national and international artists.
Dine at the Lake House
The Lake House team deliver beautiful, cutting edge, seasonal food matched with an internationally acclaimed wine list. Culinary Director Alla Wolf-Tasker, Head Chef Brendan Walsh and teamwork from the ground up producing virtually everything on-site, from house-baked bread to an extensive charcuterie range. Regular guests tell of their favourite season and dishes. Butter poached pheasant with chestnuts and Farrow in autumn or spring lamb, asparagus and morels. The duck with orange braised witlof; the golden roasted free-range chicken of summer with corn and yabbies, or the truffled Pecorino tart with artichokes Barigoule, eel, Murray Cod and trout; rabbit and hare, speak of local waterways and fields. Wild damsons, Winter Nealis pears, quinces and yellow crab apples feature in fabulous desserts and are made into delicious preserves for enhancing leaner seasons. Each seasonal menu takes you on a trip down country lanes, through orchards and across the region's farm paddocks. During the day, the sunlit restaurant offers magnificent views and guests can witness the local kookaburra family fly around nearby. Two Chefs Hats - The Good Food Guide, Top 50 - Financial Review Top 100 Restaurants and Hall of Fame - Australian Wine List of the Year.
Visit the Convent 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 1860s as the private residence for the Gold Commissioner, the building was purchased by the Catholic Church in the 1880s and was a convent and boarding school for nearly 100 years. Left in disrepair, the site was purchased by artist Tina Banitska in 1989. Uniting history, spirituality, art and culture all under one roof, The Convent houses seven galleries featuring work by over 100 local, national and international artists. Featuring fine art, sculpture, limited edition prints, ceramics, glassware and textiles, the exhibition program, changing every eight weeks, showcases a diverse array of traditional and contemporary artwork. The Convent retail areas specialise in jewellery, fashion and accessories, produce and unique gifts. The sunlit Mediterranean cafe produces world-class fare in a relaxing and art-filled environment. Leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and get inspired as you enjoy the tranquillity of Daylesford's natural beauty.
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