Hepburn Springs & Daylesford: The Perfect Winter Escape

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If you are looking for the perfect Aussie winter escape then you don’t need to look much further than the beautiful country towns of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford in Victoria. Located just one and a half hours from Melbourne, it is an easy drive to paradise: think open fires, lovely local wines, restaurants that offer incredible winter seasonal delights and of course, delicious spa time.
There is much to explore in this gorgeous area but here are some of my favourites, and I hope you take the opportunity to indulge yourself as soon as possible!

1. Eat
There are so many amazing places to eat in Daylesford, Hepburn Springs and the surrounding area that there are too many to list – so here are 4 of my favourites.

  • Passing Clouds Winery: delicious rustic paddock-to-plate food prepared by David Wilcox, a chef hat winner and all round nice man.  Plus great wine to indulge in – as one does!
  • Radio Springs Hotel:  Beautiful Ken takes care of my Divas every time we go there with great service, sublime music and divine food – what more can a girl want?  Sunday night is good country fare and great music.  Thursday night is Thai night!
  • Koukla:  Great cafe for brekky and lunch – good hearty food and good coffee, plus free wi-fi and an open fire in winter.   And the staff are a good bunch.
  • The Grande Hotel:  an absolute must.  This is a Hepburn Springs’ favourite of mine.  The food is fab, I love the owner and his team plus the wine list is  extremely good.  It feels like a step back in time and there are live shows some nights so check the schedule before you arrive and see if there is one that tickles your fancy.

2. Sleep
I personally only stay in one place when we are here (and when I come for my own visits) because I love the wonderful owner and what she sets out to achieve for her guests. But I have added one more as everyone loves a choice!

  • 65Main Hepburn Springs:  Sssshhh, my favourite place to stay and proprietor Chris’s mission in life is to take maximum care of her guests.  She has an absolute passion for this area that is totally infectious and will happily share her knowledge with you.  Take the whole house for a group of friends/family or book a room just for you.   You won’t be disappointed as this is like coming to stay at your country home.
  • The Lake House:  If you have a hefty budget and want to treat yourself to absolute luxury then this is for you.  Located on Lake Daylesford, Alla Wolf-Tasker has worked tirelessly to build a hotel experience that delivers in spades, and is so wonderful you may choose to spend the whole stay indoors!

3. Shop

  • Frances Pilley:  Located in the main street of Daylesford, this lovely boutique has an eclectic choice of gorgeous candles, gifts, hammam towels, cards and too many other things to mention.  Whether you want to spoil yourself or someone you love with a gorgeous treat, you will definitely find something to suit here.
  • Boutique Black:  Just of the main street of town, this divine lingerie establishment houses labels from overseas that you are unable to source elsewhere.  Also stocks beautiful leisure wear.  And the icing on the cake?  If you want some fab photography of you looking particularly gorgeous then you can also enquire about that here…..
  • Red Pepper Gallery:  Also in the main street of Daylesford, this Gallery offers so much in the way of beautiful art, furniture and sculpture.  Every time I come here I am tempted to buy something and the only thing that stops me is baggage allowance, although they will ship for you (and the fact that I travel so much if I shopped everywhere I would be bankrupt).  However, there are some beautiful lamps that will be purchased soon…..

4. Pamper
There are a myriad of massage places, both big and small, local and well known brands. I have two that I love and have had a wonderful experience in both. Also supporting the smaller operators and local passionate people is the only way to go.

  • Eko Spa:  Tucked away in a side street, just behind Kazuki’s restaurant  in Daylesford, is this gorgeous little place offering a delightful array of massage and beauty options.  This intimate little spa is not for the masses and Emma and her team will ensure you are looked after from start to finish.  So if small but perfectly formed is your idea of spa heaven, then this is your place to be.
  • The Massage Healing Centre:   In Daylesford, this place is all about fab massages that will certainly hit the spot no matter what it is you are looking for!  The environment is serene and will have you floating out with soothed muscles and a smile on your face.

5. See
You could easily spend a week here and not see everything, so I try to ensure I have a blend of must-sees and then discover new ones I haven’t found before. My must-sees include a mix of art, artisanal produce and extraordinary countryside.

  • The Convent Gallery: Words cannot express how much this gallery delivers on every front.  Great, eclectic art, an incredible history, a delightful chapel, delicious food and a fab gift shop.  One stop enjoyment for an afternoon and then why not finish in the bar if it is serving drinks???  Tina, who is the owner of The Convent is passionate about every part of her business and you can tell by the total experience.
  • The Blow Hole: Located on the outskirts of Hepburn Springs, this beautiful, man-made relic from the gold mining era is worth a visit.  Cascading water, glorious gum trees, the odd Kangaroo and total solitude helps you commune with nature and just be in the moment.
  • The Chocolate Mill:  Just because you love chocolate and you will experience some delicious options when you get here, I promise!  Chocoholics rejoice!
  • Stony Creek Gallery:  Fabulous Michael Parker’s own gallery that also houses his incredible sculpture garden.  Another one where the wallet wants to escape and ensure you leave with something to keep as a memory of this beautiful region.  Michael’s art is so diverse it will mesmerise you for hours.  Make sure this one is on your list of visits if you love art.

Of course this doesn’t include the tarot readers, the other incredible art galleries, the amazing Ayurvedic and yoga practitioners or the opportunity to just chill out. There are so many options that I don’t have space to share them all. So come and explore yourself or join me on my Girls’ Getaway in August 2017 to ensure you experience this magical destination.

Talk to you again soon.

Chief Diva, Andrea xx

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