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Things to do in Daylesford: Where to Eat, Drink, Sleep & Explore

From spa retreats and retail therapy, to fine dining and nature-filled wonder, these are the best things to do in Daylesford for a dreamy weekend getaway.

Sault Restaurant
Sault Restaurant

Victoria’s famous spa sanctuary Daylesford is an oasis of calm where luxurious spa retreats, fields of lavender and charming boutique cottages are set amongst acres of fairytale rural landscapes.

Just an hour from Melbourne, this quaint country town is the type of place you can escape to all year round. A place where you can soak away all your troubles in warm, mineral-rich waters and devour some of regional Victoria's most delectable fare.

We’ve put together an essential checklist of things to do in Daylesford and rounded up where to eat, drink, stay and explore. 

Things to do in Daylesford: Eat

A trip to Daylesford wouldn't be complete without sampling the region's delicious local fare. And this town is known for it — its reputation as a foodie hub continues to grow at rapid speed. Discover an array of fantastic cafés, restaurants and fine dining institutions, from the fanciest restaurant in town to the trusted café the locals swear by. Here are our go-to stops for foodie indulgence. 

Kadota

Kadota may be one of Daylesford’s newest restaurants, but it’s already won a flurry of acclaim and national interest. Japanese-trained owner and chef Aaron Schembri has an impressive CV, having worked at a three Michelin star restaurant in Osaka along with stints at the Press Club and Saxe back home. With Kadota he and his wife have created a calming, timber-filled venue that champions slow and restorative dining. The seven-course menu changes with the seasons, with inclusions such as fresh sashimi, shio koji braised free-range pork dumplings and scallop ceviche.

1 Camp Street, Daylesford

Farmer’s Arms Hotel

This historic gastro pub – open since 1857 – is a must-visit while you’re in town. Behind the ivory-trailed brick façade and arched leadlight windows are a pillar of the community and some of Daylesford’s finest bistro cooking. The Farmer’s Arms serves an ever-changing menu, sourcing local produce for dishes such as venison and wild mushroom ragu, roast pork belly with apple cranberry relish, and rustic rhubarb and pear cobbler. Glowing with country charm and hospitality, cosy up in their cushioned booths with a glass of wine to feel like a proper local.

2 East Street, Daylesford

Sault Restaurant

Behind a fanciful fountain in a stunning two-storey country house, visitors are destined for romance at Sault Restaurant. The surrounding lavender-specked landscapes are simply breathtaking,  but just wait until you see the menu, you’ll be even more smitten. Indulge your culinary senses with three or four courses of regionally sourced and seasonally inspired creations. This may well be the region's most impressive restaurant.

2349 Ballan Daylesford Road, Sailors Falls

Lake House Daylesford

A drop-off at Lake House Daylesford is an absolute must. There are myriads of ways to spend time here, including a visit to their award-winning spa (more on this later) or staying overnight in one of their stunning suites.  But for food lovers, it's all about dining at the much-loved Lake House Restaurant. Look forward to a Chef-Hatted menu (this renowned dining spot has been awarded two) of seasonal fare paired with an internationally acclaimed wine list, all served in the prettiest of sunlit settings. 

4 King Street, Daylesford

Cliffy's Emporium

A welcome change from the white tablecloths of the Lake House, Cliffy's Emporium is a laid-back local gem, and quite possibly the cutest café in town. A lovingly preserved 1950s general store, this rustic outpost was Daylesford's go-to for fresh produce, groceries and farm supplies. 

Fast forward to today and it still maintains its vintage charm, with the same rusty corrugated iron and distressed timber panels it was blessed with 60 years ago. Farmers still drop in with fresh fruit and veg, and shelves are packed with a delicious selection of local culinary offerings. 

Doubling up as a trendy café, stop here for breakfast and order the ‘Cliffy’s Benedict’ — and yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds. Don't forget to stock up on locally-made bread, pies, cakes and other goodies from the deli on your way out.

30 Raglan Street, Daylesford

Things to do in Daylesford: Drink

Daylesford has its fair share of pubs and bars, but if something more decadent takes your fancy, we’ve got the locales perfect for you. From vineyard tours to rustic café hangouts, these are the top spots to raise a glass – and coffee cup.

Bar Merenda

With an old-worldly charm, Bar Merenda is the perfect spot for a tasty aperitif. A casual neighbourhood wine bar-cum-eatery, the constantly changing menu sits somewhere between bistro and tapas, written by hand on a hanging chalkboard. The food keeps things local, championing seasonal produce from around the area to create simple yet satiating dishes like olive focaccia, winter veggies with buffalo mozzarella and Osso Bucco Milanese. For the wine, they venture a little further showcasing drops from Piemonte, Tuscany and Sicily alongside Victorian producers such as Young Gun of Wine. These guys also do an epic negroni – have one for us, will you?

Shop 3/22/24 Howe Street, Daylesford 

Bad Habits Cafe, Photography by Pauline Morrissey
Bad Habits Cafe, Photography by Pauline Morrissey
Bad Habits Cafe

Housed within Daylesford's iconic Convent Gallery, Bad Habits Cafe's sunlit Mediterranean-like space has a relaxed, welcoming vibe that sets the scene for an early morning coffee pit stop, or an early evening glass of wine. Soak up the ambience (as well the Shiraz) before exploring the onsite galleries and surrounding gardens. The high atrium ceiling fills the room with so much lovely light, and the art-filled walls provide a little teaser of what’s to come.

7 Daly Street, Daylesford

Passing Clouds

If your wish is to while away the hours at a local winery, head on over to the cellar door at Passing Clouds. Located just a five-minute drive from Daylesford, you can sample their most recently released wines, including their chardonnay and Pinot Noir blends — made from grapes they proudly grow onsite. Whilst here grab yourself a glass of wine, head out onto their large deck to soak up the sun, and watch the clouds, indeed pass by.

30 Roddas Lane, Musk

Cafe La Trattoria

The minute you smell the fragrant scent of fresh lavender, you’ll know you’ve arrived at Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm. Located a short 15-minute drive from the heart of Daylesford, there’s an abundance to explore here, but their onsite eatery, Cafe La Trattoria is an absolute must. 

Take shade outside beneath the shady trees, hole up inside the rustic café, or (our personal favourite) outside amongst the vines — there are plenty of spots to choose from. The café offers a delicious menu, from breakfast right through to afternoon tea. But the real draw card here has to be their famous lavender Champagne. We won't judge you for ordering two glasses.

350 Hepburn-Newstead Road, Shepherds Flat

Things to do in Daylesford: Stay

Keen to make a weekend of it? The choices in Daylesford are truly endless. Of course, you have your pick of luxurious five-star luxury hotels, but the beauty of Daylesford is that it's so intimate. The town itself is eclectic and humble, so we think it's only fitting to choose a place to stay that shares the same sentiment. With that in mind, we’ve found the perfect retreats that are just as delightful as the town they dwell in.

Poet's Lodge

Stylish and wholesome, Poet's Lodge provides busy couples with the ultimate country escape. Made up of three different accommodation offerings, including the Main HouseGarden Loft and Old Jacks Cottage, Poet's Lodge has the perfect couples retreat for everyone. Across each dwelling, you can expect cosy yet bright interiors, beautiful natural surrounds and all the creature comforts of home. For romantic stays for two, the Garden Loft and Old Jacks Cottage are your best bet. Both provide an intimate setting for a romantic sojourn and come complete with opulent cast iron baths. If you want to make it a group couple's getaway with your closest friends, then book the four-bedroom Main House with its roaring fireplace and quaint communal spaces.

62 Raglan Street, Daylesford

Wentworth House (Photo credit: Marnie Hawson)
Wentworth House (Photo credit: Marnie Hawson)
Wentworth House

Wentworth House oozes charm, style and luxury. The interior features a perfectly curated collection of chic and rustic pieces and personal touches. With room for six, it’s the perfect spot for a little group getaway. Explore town during the day, and by night, get settled by the open fire and grab a glass – or two – of Champagne. Wentworth House has cosy country retreat written all over it.

38 King Street, Daylesford

Milk and Honey

Sitting on an elevated site surrounded by rolling countryside, Milk and Honey is a quaint two-bedroom property located in the centre of Daylesford. A winding leafy stairway will guide you indoors, where you'll find an eclectic mix of Indian and Asian antiques scattered throughout. There’s a worldly feel to each room, to add its cosiness, and outside there's a wrap-around verandah where you can relax with a cuppa and soak up the scenery, or watch the colourful sunset at the end of the day. Pour yourself a glass of wine, light the fireplace then sit back and unwind after a day out exploring the town.

14 Hill Street, Daylesford

Acre of Roses

Just a 20-minute drive from Daylesford, you’ll stumble across Trentham  – an equally whimsical town. And here lies the hidden gem, Acre of Roses. This former miners' cottage has been transformed into a luxury wellness retreat with three bedrooms and an enchanting garden that surrounds. Aside from the magazine-worthy interiors and thoughtful touches, there’s also a micro-farm of heritage roses onsite and a rainwater-filled cedar hot tub. Crank up the heat and prepare for ultimate relaxation. 

5 Blue Mount Road, Trentham

St Remy

St Remy's sprawling home is perfect for a family gathering or girls' getaway. Consisting of three generous bedrooms, this property can sleep up to six guests, and comes with plenty of communal spaces to entertain. A beautiful hideaway that comes steeped in charm  – from the sky-blue front door to the apple trees in the garden, St Remy's is the epitome of rustic elegance. 

8 Hepburn Road, Daylesford

Things to do in Daylesford: Explore

As we mentioned, Daylesford has long been known as Victoria’s health and wellness hub, but let’s get one thing straight — there’s plenty of exploring and adventure to be had here, too. From historic art galleries to relaxing day spas, these are the spots to add to your weekend itinerary.

The Amazing Mill Markets

You could easily lose a day exploring the Mill Markets’ neverending mix of vintage collectables, retro fashion, antiques, home decor and jewellery. Each stallholder sells their own unique selection of items – which could range from rare records and glass art to Russian babushka dolls – and you’re guaranteed a great time meeting locals and learning about their passions. After picking up your newfound treasures, swing by the in-house Mill Café for a milkshake and pastry.

105 Central Springs Road, Daylesford

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa

Mineral and water therapy bathing is a century-old phenomenon that will leave you feeling thoroughly refreshed and rejuvenated. Once you’ve bathed to your hearts’ content, it’s time to really indulge with massages and facials. The Hepburn Bathhouse is considered the oldest of its kind in Australia (circa 1895!)

Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs 

Convent Gallery

Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, a visit to the Convent Gallery in Daylesford is a must. This three-level fine art mecca is set in a historic 19th-century mansion and boasts sweeping views of the countryside below. Inside, there are seven different galleries featuring work by over 100 local, national and international artists. The exhibition program also changes every eight weeks, so you can expect to see something different with each visit.

7 Daly Street, Daylesford

Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm

If you’ve ever dreamt of frolicking in a field surrounded by lavender, then a visit to Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, should score high on your wishlist. Home to Cafe La Trattoria mentioned above, this 100-acre property was once farmed by Swiss-Italians, and today features acres of sprawling gardens, a charming historic homestead and rows upon rows of lavender, that stretch as far as the eye can see. Take your time here and explore the farm at your leisure.

350 Hepburn-Newstead Road, Shepherds Flat

Found.

Daylesford combines a vibrant artistic community with a strong element of French provincial chic. The result? An eclectic town swarming with antiques and endless vintage shopping. Found. is one of our favourites. Situated on Vincent Street — the main shopping strip in town — you'll find quality, unique treasures that proudly show their age.

119 Vincent St, Daylesford

Salus Day Spa

After all that exploring, you’re going to need to fit in some zen time — you’re in Daylesford after all. With countless day spas to choose from, allow us to recommend our personal favourite: the award-winning Salus Day Spa. Tucked away in the lush gardens of the Lake House, treat yourself to a couple’s massage or soak in one of their tubs filled with hot mineral water, perched in a treehouse. Afterwards, you can sip on herbal tea and walk around the fern gully — just make sure to breathe in every last gasp of that garden-fresh Daylesford air, before making your way back to the city.

4 King Street, Daylesford

Loving our round-up of the best things to do in Daylesford and looking for more travel inspo in Victoria? Book a girls' weekend away or embark on one of these romantic getaways in Melbourne.