Travelling with your pooch is great. They’re generally pretty happy just to be where you are, and they’re usually not too fussy when it comes to the standard of accommodation. But that shouldn’t be a problem for either of you in gorgeous Daylesford in regional Victoria. This area has long been a favoured weekend getaway destination for work-weary Melbournians in need of some R&R, and there are plenty of beautiful accommodation options that are also pet-friendly.
Daylesford is about 120km north-west of Melbourne, in the centre of the Victorian gold fields region. Originally a gold mining town, today Daylesford has a charming historic feel to it. There are many wonderful 19th century buildings in the town centre and country homes and cottages dotted about the place – a good proportion of which have been transformed into B&Bs. The setting is absolutely idyllic. With the mineral springs that surface across the region, Daylesford is well known as a spa town and there are no end of day spas and retreats offering a wide range of rejuvenating treatments. There are plenty of excellent cafes and restaurants, and we’re told that the acclaimed Jimmy’s Bar on Vincent Street allows dogs in their courtyard (just let them know you’re there and they’ll let you in the back). Thanks to Sue from The Hide – a sprawling 44 acre dog-friendly accommodation option near Mt Franklin – for that tip.
We also contacted Daylesford Getaways for some more ideas on dog-friendly places to stay. Try these:
Harts Lane – For those who like to think outside the box. Recently renovated modernist pad with high ceilings and quality European-style finishes throughout. Unfenced.
Absolute – An exquisitely refurbished miner’s cottage close to Daylesford town, combining all the historic charm of yesteryear with with mod-cons. Fully-fenced.
Hisha – Located just outside Daylesford township, this brand new architecturally-designed retreat won’t fail to impress. Fenced deck and verandah.
The Coach House – For those that really want to push the boat out, literally. The historic, five bedroom Coach House is located right on Lake Daylesford. Fully-fenced.
The Lodge at Clunes – We couldn’t resist including this newly renovated option in nearby Clunes – one of the Victorian gold field’s best preserved historic townships. The stunning décor and a five minute stroll into town make this property well worth the extra drive. Fully-fenced.
Once you’re all settled in, time to get out with your dog and explore the magnificent surrounds.
Lake Daylesford – Firstly take a stroll around the magnificent Lake Daylesford – the focal point of any visit to the area. Officially dogs are permitted here on lead, though it’s a rule the locals seem happy to break most of the time. Any time of the year it’s seriously stunning. There are picnic areas and recreational facilities available.
Jubilee Lake – Again, a great spot for a sunny stroll, although not as manicured as Lake Daylesford. Dogs are permitted on lead around Lake Jubilee. It’s a two kilometre drive from town.
Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens – This is a must. Visit the gorgeous Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens for amazing views across Daylesford. Dogs are welcome on lead and there’s a café here in the former gardener’s cottage that’s dog friendly.
Mt Franklin Reserve – Fabulous for bush-walking, Mt Franklin Reserve and the Hepburn Regional Park is a pristine bushland setting. As you would expect there’s lot of wildlife here, so dogs should be on lead at all times.
Victoria Park off-leash area – Victoria Park is not too far from Lake Daylesford and you can give your dog a good run here off lead.
And finally, Daylesford may be all about massages and manicures but there’s a bit of a gap in the market for canine customers. We thought we might be able to track down a doggie day spa, but to no avail. Ballarat seems to be the closest option for some pooch-pampering. Try the Hair Off The Dog Styling Boutique (0437 561 238) – but it is a bit of a drive there and back.
Enjoy your dog day afternoon in Daylesford and happy travels!
All photographs supplied by Daylesford Gateways.