With Australia’s greatest concentration of natural mineral springs and a long tradition as a spa town, Daylesford is deservedly Melburnians’ favourite destination for a spot of hilly hedonism.
But this town runs deeper than its famous water. It also has wonderful walks, artisan studios, cosy cafes and stylish homewares stores, as I discover, heading 115 kilometres north-west for the day.
With its wall of teas, tonics and tinctures, Daylesford Apothecary oozes holistic charm. The “magical and medicinal” herbal pharmacy has been open only a year, but naturopath owner Bree Melotte’s bespoke teas, bath socks and body lotions have a devoted following. I’m already anticipating the serenity of my Sleep Bath Soak.
It’s time for my appointment at Daylesford Day Spa and a mini half-hour hydrating Jurlique facial with soothing calendula … swoon. This small, intimate spa in a heritage building at the top of town has been a gateway to pampering for 15 years. I head for the high street, best face forward.
For 20 years eCasa has been Daylesford’s No. 1 homewares destination, with a carefully curated stock of fine linens, china, divine soft furnishings and furniture from the best European manufacturers. Owner JoAnne Stephenson also scours local auction houses for beautiful vintage pieces to blend with the new. Let’s just call it quality gift central.
Moving next door, I seek a little indulgence at Sweet Decadence at Locantro. Chocolatier Pia Geljon explains that all the ganache-based confectionery is hand-cut and hand-decorated using a technique shared by successive owners during the past 30 years.
After taking the 2.7-kilometre stroll around Daylesford Lake, I pull up alongside some crumb-seeking geese at the Bookbarn@Daylesford. Owner Andrew West came to inspect the property on the lake’s edge 11 years ago and never left. With a glass of red, a toasted bagel and book in hand, it is easy to see why.
Time for one last stop, at Sister George Studio Gallery, a real visual feast and testament to the many creative talents of Sandra Broman. The Swedish-born artist produces fabulous hats, paints large-scale original works and makes greeting cards, as well as stocking plates and special wares from Denmark and Sweden. It’s like nowhere else you’ve ever been.
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