50 towns in 50 days: Daylesford never fails to impress

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DAYLESFORD is known around Victoria as a tourist town and scenic retreat and with world class food, hospitality and culture - it never fails to impress.

Home to some of Australia's best day spas and guesthouses, the town is a significant driver of tourism for the Ballarat region.

Harvest Cafe staff member Kim Dobson said the town was busiest on weekends and public holidays but is a great place to live all year round.

"We get a lot of different types of people here in Daylesford with locals and visitors ranging from well established and fancy to alternative people and hippies," she said.

"It is a great place to live because it suits so many people and has a lot to do."

Dobson said visitors should sample the top quality restaurants and cafes, visit the bazaars and galleries and climb to the top of the Wombat Gardens tower for a panoramic view.

"We get a lot of visitors who come for the spas or galleries and end up enjoying the whole town and its eccentric lifestyle," she said.

"There is a bit of a stereotype of what kind of people come here but in reality the town is welcoming of all kinds."

She said like many restaurants and hotels in Daylesford, Harvest Cafe sold good local produce, with homemade and organic menu options.

The basics

Municipality: Hepburn Shire

Population: 2565

First settled: 1852

Main Industries: Tourism, hospitality, retail  

Claim to fame: Home to regional Australia’s largest gay and lesbian event, the ChillOut Festival

Five fast facts

1. In 1855 Victoria’s Governor Hotham changed the area’s name from Wombat to Daylesford after a small village in Worcester, England

2. There are more than 60 mineral springs in the Daylesford area.  

3. Many of Daylesford’s most historic buildings - The Royal Hotel, the Commercial Hotel, the Belvedere, and other buildings in Vincent Street - attest to its boom period, which was brought to a halt by the First World War

4. The Convent Gallery is housed in the former Holy Cross Convent, bought by the Catholic Church in the 1880s.

5. Daylesford’s spa resorts declined in the 1930s, but have become a drawcard for domestic and international tourism since the redevelopment in the 1970s.

Five things to do

1. Watch Daylesford play in the Central Highland Football League at Victoria Park

2. Join the Lavandula's Lavender Harvest Festival in mid-January or Autumn Harvest Festival in early May.

3. Enjoy regional dining at its best at the Lake House restaurant

4. Pick up a bargain at the Daylesford Mill Market on Central Spring Road

5. Have a coffee and enjoy the beautiful scenery at the Daylesford lake precinct

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