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Daylesford Travel Guide: 120 reviews and 272 photos

Daylesford Township

Daylesford is a bustling little tourist town in the Victorian Goldfields region, (pop approx 3500), nestled in hills about 40 kms north east of Ballarat (and approximately 100 kms or 1 1/4 hours by car from Melbourne). The town was founded after the discovery of gold in 1854, and around 2000 swiss Italians also arrived to settle (hence the more Italian architecture of certain buildings in town and in its twin town, Hepburn Springs, which is also unusual for this style of architecture rather than English, which is more the norm.)
However, the town's main claim to fame is built on its large base of natural attractions like mineral water. The largest concentration of natural mineral springs in Australia is found here - 80% of all the Australian mineral water springs are right here in this region.

This is the pleasant view you get when entering the town from the Ballarat/Creswick side. It's especially pretty in the Spring and autumn with all the colours.
Hopefully this country town skyline can still be preserved for a long time to come, even though there is much new development in the form of holiday apartments and units on a fairly grand scale taking taking place often quite close to the town centre.

Tourist mecca

Due to the increasing popularity of the Springs and people flocking there (especially Melbourne day & weekend visitors wanting a pleasant time in beautiful country surroundings), in 15 years the place has gone from what I'd call a normal Australian country town to the trendy/new age tourist mecca it is today, home to all types of accommodation - including over 700 B & Bs and self contained cottages! Would have to be the highest concentration of Bed and Breakfast accommodation in Australia, I'm sure!
The town population doubles on weekends, so popular has the town become.
Shops are interesting and varied, and more than 50 different kinds of alternative therapies are available, including numerous different styles of massage, several day spa centres, new age bookshops, plus tarot card reading, crystals, specialty and boutique stores with beautiful window displays, etc.

On Tv holiday programmes especially, Daylesford has been marketed as the Gay Tourism centre of Australia.
This isn't due to any extra special activitity in the town (though the Chillout festival sure helps and attracts thousands) but rather because of the accepting nature of the town.... and all the retreats possible probably help too, especially appealling to city people.
To walk in the town on a weekday you can sometimes see some quite unusually dressed locals (quite flamboyant considering it's a country town)
Each March, Daylesford is home to the 4 day Gay & Lesbian festival, Chillout, which has a huge parade and scores of events and attracts more than 15,000 people to the town over the weekend. It's been rated as one of the best 10 Gay festivals in the world.

Daylesford Visitor Information Centre is a great place to be to find out what's happening and finding more of the hidden gems of the region....check out my accommodation tips where I'll briefly profile some of the interesting (and sometimes amazing) properties I visited when I used to volunteer for Daylesford Tourism years ago.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Bustling yet relaxed town with great atmosphere
  • Cons:Open all weekends but quite a lot of restaurants are closed on Mon/Tuesdays
  • In a nutshell:A great place to go to 'get away from it all' and rejuvenate the spirit
  • Last visit to Daylesford: Apr 2015
  • Intro Updated Apr 29, 2015
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