There is plenty to see and do in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges.

With more than 80% of the natural-occurring mineral springs in Australia concentrated here, wineries aplenty, distilleries, good food, history, art, horse riding and even the occasional ghost, there is plenty to explore and experience. While the serendipity of discovery is a wonderful thing – joining a tour and letting someone else do the work for you – can also be a wonderful thing.

If you enjoy a nice drop, and don’t want to drive, there’s Daylesford Wine Tours. These guys have a luxury bus that seats up to sixteen and offer a Classic Day Tour that visits up to five cellar doors including lunch, nibbles, tastings, meet the maker sessions and a pickup and drop off service from your accommodation. This 7-hour tour has unique access to smaller cellar doors that are generally not open to the public including Sailors Falls, Limestone Track and Mt Franklin wineries. The cost is $245 per person but you are likely to spend more as you taste some fabulous wines and take home some favourites.

On the Macedon Ranges side of the region, there is Cool Climate Tours. Brian Field provides tailored tours of wineries and other local attractions in the area for couples, or up to four people, in the comfort of a Mercedes Benz SUV. Brian is an ex-tour operator and knows his wine. He helps design your tour based on your favourite drop and what you want to see. Visitors rave about his knowledge. A full day, with winery visits, tastings and lunch with a glass of wine costs $200 per person. Accommodation or train station pick-ups can be arranged.

Back in Spa Country, there is Gold Nugget Discovery Tours, who run the Daylesford & Spa Country Discovery Tour. The Spa Country experience samples mineral water from hand-pumps and taps, each with its own distinctive taste. The springs in the region range from the well-known, like the historic springs at Hepburn Springs Reserve to hidden gems such as Deep Spring, which is the site for the regions’ oldest pump house, located near Eganstown.

The tour takes in Stoney Creek Art Gallery, on the outskirts of Daylesford, and RedBeard Bakery in Trentham, before stopping off at Trentham Falls, the longest single drop waterfall in Victoria. It’s then on to lunch at the eclectic Glenlyon General Store, before finishing at the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa for a rewarding one-hour soak. Priced at $214 per person, this day tour runs from April to October.

Duneira Estate Mount Macedon Tours. Photo by Visit Macedon Ranges
Duneira Estate Mount Macedon Tours. Photo by Visit Macedon Ranges

Mount Macedon Tours visit a selection of stunning gardens on Mount Macedon, including Duneira Estate, Cameron Lodge, Shepherd’s Bush and Viewfield. Tours run on a Thursday or Saturday and include a delicious lunch at Duneria’s Stables, and are priced at $220 per person.

Back in Daylesford, Alice’s Journeys Walking Tours are a fantastic option for history lovers. Your local guide will share secrets and stories while visiting key sites around town. Tours go for 1.5 hours and cover approximately two to three kilometres around the heart of Daylesford. Tours leave every Friday at 1.45pm and every Saturday at 9.45am, with adults priced at $29.50.

Set amongst the picturesque hills of the Mt. Prospect district, a short drive from Daylesford, you’ll find Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides. Wind your way along country roads and through native bushland on horseback, spotting wildlife along the way. A 2-hour ride is $120 per person with refreshments provided at the end. Alternatively, the 5-hour pub ride takes you through bushland to arrive at the historic Swiss Mountain Hotel for lunch. Main meal and drinks are included in the price of $280 per person, but riders can’t go too crazy as they need to be under .05 to ride back!

Back in the Macedon Ranges, Kyneton Paranormal offer tours of the spooky kind. For something a little different, join a paranormal investigation at the Victoria Hotel in Woodend. For $58, you start with dinner, then hear ghost stories from publican Emily, before being shown how to use paranormal investigation equipment to connect with the many spirits in this historic pub. These tours happen monthly on a Sunday evening. Kyneton Paranormal also run several other tours in historic buildings around the region.

So, maybe a tour is the cure for your next trip to Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges, allowing you to experience something new. I personally like the connection a tour gives you to the locals and getting the inside word on the must-visit locations and venues.

Hero Image: Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides. Photo by Anthony Evans

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. Photography by Derek Salwell
Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. Photo by Derek Salwell, Marie Claire 2014

About the author

Paul Matthews
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Paul has more than 25 years of marketing, tourism, business and stakeholder engagement experience in both private and public sector organisations.

He worked at Visit Victoria from 2017 to 2021 as the Head of Regional Tourism and Strategy. In 2021, he started his own business, the Visitor Economy Tourism Consultancy and has been working closely with Daylesford Macedon Tourism in the area of Industry Development.

Paul’s specialist areas of interest include Visitor Engagement, Destination Planning, Industry Development, Dark Tourism and Wellness. You can find more about Paul through his website or via LinkedIn.