Daylesford, a sleepy town in Victoria about two hours north of Melbourne, has over the last few years gained a reputation as one of the most gay-friendly places in Australia.
History of Daylesford
Daylesford’s European history starts in 1848 when the area was settled by an Irish immigrant, and then it really took off a few years later in 1851 when gold was discovered in the area.
During that period there was a big influx of Swiss and Italians to the area, and that heritage is still celebrated today.
Today it has settled back to about 2,500 residents and it attracts tourists to its natural spring mineral spas. It has over 80 per cent of Australia’s effervescent mineral water reserves. It also has quaint bed and breakfasts, restaurants and galleries.
What to see
What to do
The area has many outstanding restaurants. The Lake House has two chef’s hats. Kazuki’s, a Japanese restaurant, and Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat also have a hat each.
Think about doing a wine tour so you can visit some of the many vineyards in the area and sample their produce.
When to go
Of particular interest to LGBT people is the Chillout Festival, which happens every March and is timed to happen straight after Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. That means lots of people head to Daylesford to chill out. The festival features dance parties, exhibitions, a street parade and a fair. It’s also the start of Autumn, so the trees have started to erupt in all the golds and reds that season brings.
Late October sees the Swiss + Italian Festa, which celebrates the Swiss and Italian heritage of the area.
Where to stay in Daylesford
Daylesford offers all the usual types of accommodation including hotels and motels, but we suggest staying in one of the many cosy bed and breakfast places or guest houses, where you can really experience the charm and friendliness of the area. Other choices could be one of the modern studios or a self-contained spa cottage. Planetdwellers can organise it all for you.