Part two of the Seven best things to Do in Daylesford:
5.Head to the spa
I don’t think you can come to Daylesford and not have some kind of spa treatment. There are many on offer but I decided to go with the classic – Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa. This is actually the first spa I ever went to circa 20 years ago and I was entranced. Where had spas been all my life? Since that critical visit I have visited many spas of different forms and shapes in many places. I was quite excited at heading back to the place where it all started…..
My first piece of advice is make sure you book and book a good couple of weeks ahead. I had remembered this from those long ago visits so booked my Day Retreat package. This gave me two hours in the bathhouse and sanctuary mineral water pools and rooms, a one hour massage or facial, a lunch platter and a take home gift. At $AUD235 for a Tuesday this was great value. Whilst I was there I heard a few people turn up without bookings and there was a considerable wait.
As I have already mentioned it was school holidays which wasn’t ideal. It was busy in the bathhouse and sanctuary! A complete first world problem but there is something about busy baths – so much nicer when they aren’t so busy. I also had recollections of lounge chairs for easy reading but there weren’t any of these. Well there were a couple outside in the 7 degree weather but as you may have expected they were quite empty.
Onwards and upwards I made sure I visited everything on offer. Steam room, salt pool (this was my favourite – so nice and warm and not super salty), hammam room, spa couch (kind of weird metal contraption in a big spa pool that was actually very comfortable) and different temperature pools. I was then keen on a rest before doing the same thing again and managed to figure out I could head to the treatment area where they did have cushions etc and read my kindle for a water break.
Water break over I hit a couple more rooms and then into the slightly odd mixed sex change rooms. They have organized this well considering it is mixed sense but you wouldn’t want to be a body conscious 14 year old girl in here. Every facility you could need is on offer but the combined thing is a bit odd.
Warm and dry I then headed down to the Pavillion restaurant. Lunch was part of my deal and I had a very tasty platter with meats, cheeses and dips. My free beverage was an exciting lemon squash. Then it was back to the spa and time for the treatment rooms. Wow did I have a great massage! I had said that I had neck and shoulder issues and my guy (dreadful but I didn’t catch his name) was brilliant! It was wonderfully painful – not so painful I screamed but that good pain where you know you are going to feel like jelly afterwards.
I was then escorted back to the relaxation area for tea and my parting gift – a sort of potpourri for the bath thing. Quite nice but I’m not much of a bath girl. Anyway I had arrived at 11 and was leaving at nearly 4pm ridiculously clean so it was a very enjoyable and fantastic value day.
6.Visit the Convent Gallery
The Convent Gallery is a mix of Gallery, shop and café. It is located up the hill in the main part of Daylesford and it is very well signed. The building and the grounds are beautiful. Once inside the first thing you will see is the café. This is a stunning space. I came for lunch and enjoyed roasted mushrooms and saganaki cheese. My eyes were then unfortunately larger than my stomach so I ordered the scones I had seen brought out to others. They were sensational! Warm, fluffy, tall! I made it through one and a bit and then felt rather full for about 24 hours.
Next up was a wander through the lovely gallery and a quick visit to the shop.
7.Get in the car
The area around Daylesford is stunning. Sweeping views, gorgeous landscapes – it is a lovely place to get in the car and just drive in whichever direction you feel like going. I popped into Castlemaine. I was surprised to find it is quite a large town – and the place to go if you feel like DIY, a bakery or Asian food. I think these three types of retailers make up about 60% of the main town real estate! It is a charming town with lots of lovely old for Australia architecture. I also drove up the hill to the Old Castlemaine Jail. I had read they did not do tours so I just stopped and took a few photos. However on my return to Melbourne I was informed that they do actually do tours you just need to give them a call.
After Castelmaine I headed to Hepburn and past one of my favourite places in the area and perhaps the one best suited to Instagram Lavendula. This is a stunning lavender farm with a café and activities. Unfortunately in winter it is only open on weekends and I was there during the week. This is definitely a place you want to visit if it is open.
Don’t forget to read Part One of the Seven Best Things to do in Dayelsford Here
Visiting Australia? Check out all my posts on Australia here
Also published on Medium.