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Daylesford is quite the place to go from Melbourne. It has a wonderful streetscrape, lots of history and something I am particularly enraptured by, and that is, the soft glow on the historic buildings as the sun sets.
Like a lot of people I try and walk every day so it is great when you are on holidays and have some different scenery to explore. Here are some roughly half hour walks that fit the doctor's prescription for 30 minutes activity a day. Some also include food and coffee, one needs sustenance to walk after all!
Not everyone thinks to go to these gardens as they are not in the main part of town -- more of a hidden treasure. Ever since reading Kezia Lubaszky's article on the Wombat Gardens I have been dying to go there. You can read her article here. While you can read more about these remarkable gardens in Kezia's article my intention is to tell you a little bit about walking around them.
This is an unmade track which was once used for carts. I suggest you walk on the opposite side to any cars that might come round the corner, not that they are a common occurrence, but better to be safe. Along this track you have magnificent vistas of the surrounding area way down below. Near the carpark you will also find the Pioneer's Memorial Tower which is a breathless climb to the top and then a bit scary when you step out onto the railed area at the top. Guaranteed to get your heart pounding as part of this walk.
View from the top- Photo Wombat Gardens website
I think it would be pretty hard to come here as a tourist and not have lunch or afternoon tea at the Wombat Cafe which is a cosy cafe built in the old caretakers's cottage. It is reasonably priced and the fare is remarkable. They even have a bar devoted to making fresh juices. The cakes are decorated with flowers and look amazing. And I have to admit to my indulgence. They taste amazing as well.
The walk around the Lake is well-known but always worth doing if you are in town. Most people only do half this walk as they don't realise that it is a figure 8, rather than just a circle. It is called the 'Peace Mile' Walk and is a lap around the edge of Lake Daylesford which takes about thirty minutes or so. As the name suggests this is a peaceful walk with serene views over the water, abundant birdlife and the occasional jogger flashing past in his bright orange running shirt.
Along the way you can enjoy the view from the 'Boathouse Cafe' or browse the great selection of books at the 'BookBarn'. Sadly I was there at twilight when these had closed for the day but as you can see from the photos it was lovely and a peaceful and quiet time to go walking.
Jubilee Lake is the lesser known lake in Daylesford but is just a few minutes from the centre of town. While Daylesford Lake is beautiful and manicured and cared for Jubilee Lake is a little wild. There is a narrow dirt track going around the edge. I was there in autumn and there were some lovely trees shedding cloaks of yellow leaves. There is a lot of wildlife particularly water birds. Near the carpark is a 'holiday park' with cabins and a campground. The walk around the lake is about two kilometres. Sadly, I didn't make it as it started to get dark and because the path is slightly uneven I didn't want to navigate it in the dark. 'Body of Tourist found Floating in Lake' is not the kind of headline Daylesford probably wants for tourist promotions.
Image of Jubilee Lake. Source Visit Melbourne website