Staring at the Melbourne skyline as you make your descent onto the Tullamarine runway is nice but it’s even nicer to jump onto the highway and leave it all behind. Houses are quickly replaced by open fields and just over an hour later the countryside begins to get pretty. Very pretty.
Golden yellow, green and burnt red crops resemble a colourful patchwork blanket.
If smoke is puffing out of the chimney at historic pub The Farmers Arms on the outskirts of town make sure you hit those brakes. When it comes to food and wine, though, you can stay a week and still not dine at every one of the top-notch cafes, restaurants and pubs in and around Daylesford. I’ve visited many times and still haven’t eaten at the famous Lakehouse Restaurant.
A paddleboat ride on Lake Daylesford is a must. It’s a nice walk around the lake and its many willow trees, too. In autumn every tree in sight is alight with scorching reds, oranges and yellows.
Daylesford’s main street is pretty as a picture and lined with boutique shops and eateries. A quaint arcade houses an old-fashioned cinema and a few doors up is the colourful and eclectic Upstairs at Alpha. Just out of town are the Mill Markets, open seven days, where you can get lost browsing everything vintage and delightfully kitsch.
And then there’s the day spas that lure city slickers from the horrible hook turns of Melbourne en masse, and the natural mineral springs of neighbouring Hepburn Springs.
Fine food, vintage shopping, wine, fresh produce, attractive architecture and just 90 minutes from Melbourne. Make Daylesford part of your next holiday south of the border.