There’s a reason that Daylesford is known as a haven of relaxation. Eighty per cent of the country's mineral springs are in this region, which makes it perfect for spa treatments and for growing high-quality produce, which you can enjoy at one of Daylesford's top restaurants. The region is extremely popular with weekenders from Melbourne, and once you visit you'll soon realise why many of them decide to make the tree change.
If you have the cash to splash and you want the best of the best, there is one restaurant you must visit: Lake House, perched on the titular body of water. The multi-course menu changes all the time, depending on what is in season and what nearby Dairy Flat Farm, owned by the Wolf-Taskers and part of the Lake House mini-empire, is growing at the time. Everything is fresh and treated with the utmost respect, with a vegetable-forward menu that heroes local produce but is the opposite of ascetic.
For a breakfast of champions, Cliffy's Emporium is very popular with locals, and for good reason. The small café does all the breakfast favourites, often with a vegan twist. Cliffy Hauser's original 1950s general store is now a providore, offering local produce, smallgoods, the region's justly famous mineral water, preserves and specialty groceries.
Thirsty? Make sure you stop into Daylesford Cider, which makes traditional and not-so-traditional cider onsite from the onsite heritage apples. Owners Mackie and Clare are serious about cider, and they make numerous drops in both sparkling and still varieties. Many are traditional English ciders made using traditional methods, but there are also a few that are just for fun. Paddles are the most popular way to taste all the ciders on offer at the venue, which is also dog-friendly.
We can’t (and won’t) stop raving about Radio Springs Hotel. Don't resist the pull of sipping whisky in the bric-a-brac-filled dining room, and if you’re here on a Thursday, the kitchen takes a break from serving impressive pub fare and invites a Thai chef to create a feast.
You’re here to relax, so begin your getaway by visiting arguably the most famous spa in the region, Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa.
Similarly, the best time to take in art is when you’ve got the mental space – so head to the Convent Gallery and spend time with work from all manner of historical periods and styles.
Luxury can be found at Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat; a grand ’30s guesthouse transformed into a mineral spa and hotel. You could also stay here and not leave for days: there are open-air mineral pools, fine dining at the Argus Dining Room and huge, elegant rooms.
If you only do one thing... For a simple slice of tranquillity, pick up some picnic goods at the gourmet food shops on the main street and head to the pristine Lake Daylesford. You can take a walk around the lake or make a meal of your picnic on a bench. Keep an eye out for birdlife.