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A winery in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria
Visions of Victoria

Weekend getaways: Macedon Ranges

This region north of Melbourne has more than just natural beauty – the produce, day spas and boutique hotels are world-class

By James Wilkinson

According to advice from the Department of Health, Victorians are currently only allowed to travel for day trips only. From June 1, overnight stays will be allowed across regional Victoria, cultural venues will be permitted to reopen and restaurants and cafés can offer dine-in service. Some restrictions apply and physical distancing measures remain in place. Check with individual venues for specific opening details.

See and do

Explore the town of Daylesford, where alongside top restaurants and day spas you’ll find a top-notch collection of galleries, including Convent Gallery, Stony Creek Gallery, Clayfire Gallery, Red Pepper Gallery, Bokeh Gallery and Open Studios.

Take a stroll around the mineral springs reserves in Hepburn Springs or around Lake Daylesford, where you can sample the mineral waters straight from the source and don’t forget to bring along your water bottle.

The Macedon Ranges cool climate wine region has been gaining reputation of late for its sparkling wines. Cellar doors to stop by include Ellender Estate, Hanging Rock Winery and Passing Clouds.

Relax in the gardens at the Lavandula Swiss-Italian Lavender Farm, a top example of the region’s European heritage. Stop by the café for some antipasto if you’re peckish.

Eat and drink

Take a cooking class or enjoy the cuisine at Lake House Restaurant, where exec chef and owner Alla Wolf Tasker and head chef David Green serve delights often foraged from the property’s gardens. The à la carte menu includes smoked eel, rabbit cassoulet, kangaroo, and a red wine pear crème cassonade.

At Kazuki’s, find an intertwine of Japanese and French cuisine made with local produce under the influence of chef Kazuki Tsuya. Expect quail teriyaki, pork belly with Asian vegetables, and oysters four ways. Save room for the sticky black rice.

Set in a lavender field and overlooking a lake, Sault has a menu packed with shared plates, including zucchini flowers, scallops, caramel-smoked duck breast and suckling pig. You’ll also find high tea on Sundays.

For something more relaxed, also consider Breakfast and Beer, Wombat Hill House, Cliffy’s and the Larder.


For the past 30 years, hoteliers Alla and Allan Wolf-Tasker have been providing legendary accommodation for well-heeled travellers at Lake House, where boutique rooms, cuisine and world-class day spa treatments combine for an experience that’s rarely rivalled in regional Victoria.

It’s all about Art Deco at the Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat, where the property’s main building dates back to the 1930s. In true Peppers fashion, it’s stylish and elegant and full of country charm. Book a table at the Argus Dining Room and have a post-dinner wine in Tipperary Bar.

The self-contained option is an attractive one. Hideaways – such as Mount Olive and Holly Lodge – can be found through booking services such as Dayget Retreats.

Macedon Ranges: best day spas

Girl witn facial mask and cucumber on her eyes
Girl witn facial mask and cucumber on her eyes
Photograph: ALDRA

1. Salus Spa at Lake House
A leader in Australia, Salus Spa is renowned for its polishes, rituals and deep-tissue massages from the top therapists in town. Book the exotic milk bath ritual, which starts in a scrub and ends in a private milk bath.

2. Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa
Dating back to 1895, the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is the original spot and draws mineral waters directly from the source. Book a day spa treatment or relax in one of the venue’s pools or saunas.

3. Mineral Spa at Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat
Go for broke and book a day package, or for something different, try the soft pak float beds, where the bed floor recedes and you are floating on a hammock of warm water without getting wet.

4. Shizuka Ryokan
Dream you’ve just come off the slopes in Niseko and book at Geisha facial here in this Japanese guesthouse. Couples should go for a Yin and Yang package where face and body treatments and followed by simultaneous massages.


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