The sleepy town of Daylesford in Victoria is to Melbourne what the Blue Mountains are to Sydney. Situated one-and-a-half hour’s drive northwest of Melbourne, it’s where stressed-out city dwellers go on the weekend for a little bit of R&R.

And if you need to relax this is the place to do it. The town is the centre of what’s known as Victoria’s Spa Country, a region which is home to countless luxury day spas and health retreats.

The area is also famous for its natural mineral water springs which are said to be excellent for your health. Old public water pumps can be found around the place which produce fresh drinkable mineral water.

Daylesford is full of historic houses, caf? antique shops, quaint B&Bs and luxury lakeside properties. There’s a thriving art scene and several galleries, including the impressive, sprawling Convent which features seven individual art spaces. All of this is set amongst rolling green hills, lush gardens, leafy trees and idyllic lakes.

Daylesford is also renowned for being gay and lesbian-friendly. Every year on the weekend after Mardi Gras the Chill Out Festival is held, calling itself a post-Mardi Gras recovery party. The four-day shindig attracts thousands of punters, mostly from Melbourne and Sydney, and claims to be the biggest gay and lesbian festival held in rural Australia.

The town hosts a series of events at festival time, including a street parade, and this year there was a dance party at the Daylesford Town Hall.

The most lavish place to stay in town is Lake House, situated on the shores of Lake Daylesford. The rooms are luxurious and most come with views over the picturesque lake and gardens. Rooms start in price from $139 per person, or you can opt for one of their more expensive spa packages which incorporate treatments at the hotel’s day spa.

The next most extravagant property is Peppers Springs Retreat, located 10 minutes from Daylesford in Hepburn Springs. At the large art deco hotel, which also has an impressive day spa, prices start at $111 per person for a standard room.

There’s a lot of accommodation on offer -“ for a comprehensive list go to the Daylesford website.

Sydney Star Observer travelled to Daylesford courtesy of Tourism Victoria.

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