I have a soft spot for Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. It was the very first place Mez and I holidayed at when we first started seeing each other, seventeen years ago! My brother-in-law and sister-in-law were married there, at a beautiful Tuscan styled villa…very romantic!
Spa Country is an hour and a half drive north west from Melbourne, located at the foothills of the great dividing range…Mez had been working in Melbourne, and being school holidays we took advantage to visit family, and leave the kids with Mez’s mum (thanks Nanny!) and run away to the country.
Here’s what we packed in to our 48 hours…
On the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa website I found a deal for lunch, a massage and unlimited access to their ‘sanctuary retreat’. Starting with a light Ploughmans style lunch, we killed some time sampling mineral water straight from the source. There are several pumps set up, and you are welcome to try them all out. We noticed that several ‘grey nomads’ were filling up loads of water bottles; how thrifty! After our final pump, ‘Sulphur Springs’, we head back to the Bathhouse, where we have several hours of free time in the sanctuary retreat before finishing up with our massage. This is a private bathing area, with multiple baths of varying temperatures and mineral compositions, and you’re welcome to move between them as you please. At first I’m concerned that we’ll get bored, but floating around and chatting is so relaxing, time flies. We finish up with an hour massage, and it feels it’s over almost as soon as it’s begun; the mark of a great massage!
Hepburn Bathhouse & Pavilion Café
Mineral Springs Reserve Road
We ate very well! Local restaurants and cafes really champion their local produce, and with all those minerals in the water it’s no wonder everything tastes so alive. We had breakfast TWICE at Larder, it was that good! An interesting array of breakfast foodstuffs, and perhaps most importantly, excellent coffee. I could have happily spent an afternoon at The Belvedere Social, going through their menu and wine list! A very cool spot in the centre of town, serving the best of local. Dinner at The Farmers Arms is a must; its a beautiful old pub on the road in to Daylesford, the servings huge, the food is hearty and delicious.
57A Vincent St, Daylesford
The Belvedere Social
82b Vincent St Daylesford
The Farmers Arms
1 East Street
Spa country is surrounded by bush & forest, and it seems such a waste to me that it’s not better known for its walks. We did two, and the whole time we were walking we only came across wallabies and echidnas! Breakneck Gorge to The Blowhole took us a couple of hours, (just over 6kms return) and is an interesting mix of gorges, rocky outcrops and bushland interspersed with prickly pear cacti (leftovers from Swiss Italian migrants who settled in the area from 1850) We also did Breakneck Gorge to Golden Springs (4.5 kms returns) in an hour and a half.
We stayed at: