Charlene Macaulay spend an indulgent weekend in Daylesford and couldn’t beleive she was just an hour away from home.

When booking a weekend away, three things spring to mind: location, relaxation and good food.

Daylesford ticks all those boxes, and more.

The town, renowned for its mineral springs and just an easy 70-minute drive from Melbourne’s CBD, offers luxurious accommodation, boutique stores, art galleries and, of course, spa treatments galore.

We check in at Ruby’s Amethyst Cottage, a split-level property of rustic charm and within walking distance of the main street and Lake Daylesford.

The property, which includes a large-jetted spa and wood fire, is full of thoughtful little touches.

The heater is on and the place is nice and warm when we arrive on a winter’s day.

There’s an umbrella by the door, blankets on each of the couches and the bed, and a small ‘welcome pack’ in the kitchen, including a bottle of shiraz, coffee, tea, muesli, milk and biscuits.

Fine dining

Heading out, there’s nothing better than a walk along the main strip of Vincent Street, where you’re treated to a range of boutique stores, homewares, art galleries and antiques shops.

Slightly farther out, there are plenty of day spas around Daylesford and neighbouring Hepburn Springs for anyone looking to soak in the area’s mineral springs, get a massage or be pampered with a facial.

We tried out a couples’ massage at The Mineral Spa at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel, which has its own relaxation room to wait in before the massage and to enjoy a cup of tea afterwards.

The soothing treatment was reasonably priced – massages can cost a premium out this way – and I’d definitely come back.

daylesford devonshire tea

DEVONSHIRE TEA ON VINCENT STREET. PICTURE: CHARLENE MACAULAY

 
If you’re not keen on cooking while away, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the many brea

kfast, lunch and dinner options in the region.

The historic Boathouse Cafe, which was destroyed by fire in 2012, was reopened last year and now boasts a new, contemporary fit-out – complete with a rowing boat suspended from the ceiling – a great breakfast menu and good views of the lake.

Bocconcini, a European-style delicatessen cafe, is also a good breakfast option, boasting a hipster vibe that wouldn’t be out of place in Brunswick.

For something fancy come dinner time, you can’t go past the Lake House restaurant. Under the direction of executive chef Alla Wolf Tasker and head chef David Green, it offers seasonal food over two to four tasty courses.

Another option is Sault Restaurant, which, under Spanish head chef Santiago Nine-Fernandez, boasts a tapas-style menu. In particular, the Kennedy and Wilson dark chocolate mousse, with liquorice ice-cream, black sesame praline, pistachio and cocoa was a delight.

For a quick getaway, you can’t beat Daylesford.