A weekend away with your pup probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Daylesford and the surrounding region, best known for the luxurious combination of spas and fine dining. However, while the region isn’t the most dog-friendly one, there’s still plenty of dog-friendly options around Daylesford in Victoria, from things to do to dining and accommodation.
Dog-Friendly Sightseeing Around Daylesford
If you’re visiting Daylesford and the surrounding region with your dog, fill your days with the following options…
1. Walk Around Lake Daylesford
Top of the list for a dog-friendly visit to Daylesford is to go for a walk around Lake Daylesford. Situated right next to the centre of Daylesford, there’s an easy walking track that loops all the way around the lake, with a total distance of 2.8km.
Allow about an hour to complete the full lap, or else just walk a section of the path. There’s three carparks available, at Foreshore, Fulcher Street and Wombat Flat, or walk from the town centre. Along the way there’s plenty of signs to direct you to the next point of interest and ensure you don’t get lost. Just don’t forget to leash your dog.
2. Sample the Local Mineral Springs
The Daylesford area is famous for its mineral springs, and while heading to a local spa for treatments is not a dog-friendly option, sampling the local springs is still possible.
While walking around Lake Daylesford, it’s a short detour down to the historic Central Springs Reserve, with a pump for the mineral water. There’s also mineral water pumps at Wombat Flat Mineral Spring.
In Hepburn Springs, head to Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, which features a number of different tasting springs and where dogs are permitted on leash. Read the tasting notes and compare the taste of Locarno, Soda, Sulphur and Wyuna Springs. Feel free to bottle your own.
But, what about your dog? The general advice is that dogs shouldn’t drink water high in minerals, especially if it is carbonated. However, a little taste is fine. Note that the water from these springs is untreated, although it is tested regularly, so there is a small risk for both humans and dogs.
3. Head to Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens
On the hill above Daylesford is one of the region’s historic botanic gardens, Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens. The gardens are small, but are a great spot for a stroll or picnic. There’s even a short scenic drive that loops around the hill. The gardens are also home to the dog-friendly Wombat Hill Cafe.
There’s a wide number of other gardens in the region, some of which are also dog-friendly. Another beautiful garden to check out is Forest Glade at Mount Macedon.
4. Visit Trentham Falls
Trentham Falls is one of the longest single-drop waterfalls in Victoria, plunging 32m over beautiful basalt columns. The Falls Reserve is located just outside the town of Trentham, and it’s well worth stopping and making the short walk to the top of the falls. Dogs are permitted to join you on leash.
Note that the older walking track to the bottom of the falls is currently closed, due to previous rockfalls around the falls.
5. Hike in Hepburn Regional Park
Hepburn Regional Park is located around the townships of Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs, and because it’s a regional park rather than a national park, on-leash dogs are generally allowed. There’s a couple of short walking trails starting right at Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.
For a longer hike for energetic dogs, consider walking the Tipperary Track, a 15km trail that leads all the way from Lake Daylesford to Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.
6. Visit Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm
Well-behaved dogs on a leash are welcome to join you on a visit to the Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm, 10 minutes north of Daylesford. Open from Friday to Tuesday, the farm is at its best during the summer months, when the lavender is in bloom, but open year round. For a small entry fee, explore the 100 acres of farm grounds, with its European-style gardens and stone cottages.
Come lunch time, dine at La Trattoria (no bookings currently taken) or bring along your own picnic to enjoy within the grounds.
7. Visit Overwrought Sculpture Garden & Gallery
Head 10 minutes west of Daylesford to Blampied and Overwrought. The beautifully landscaped garden is full with their unique metal garden sculptures, and on-leash dogs are welcome to join you for a wander around, perhaps to pick out something for your garden at home.
8. Visit a Farmers Market
Each weekend there’s at least a couple of farmers markets held in Daylesford and the surrounding country towns.
The Daylesford Sunday Market is on every Sunday, from 8am to 1pm, at Daylesford Railways Station on Raglan Street. Alternatively, check out the Trentham Farmers’ Market on the 3rd Saturday of the month, or the Woodend Farmers’ Market on the 1st Saturday of the month.
Well-behaved dogs on a leash are generally permitted, although sometimes rules do change.
Dog-Friendly Dining Around Daylesford
There’s no shortage of dog-friendly cafes and pubs around Daylesford, whether you’re looking for someone for lunch or to just enjoy a coffee or cider.
Wombat Hill House at the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens in the centre of Daylesford is open from Friday to Tuesday from 9am to 3:30pm. With a simple, fresh seasonal menu that focuses on local produce, the semi-enclosed outdoor area is dog-friendly – just ask to let your pup in by the separate gate.
While walking around the lake, stop off for lunch at the highly regarded Boathouse Daylesford. Well-behaved dogs are welcome at selected tables in the garden, although not on the deck.
Alternatively, for something simpler, the nearby Splinters Cafe is quite dog-friendly. Choose between the tables scattered outside the front or the back deck, accessible down the side. While the food options are basic, the location is superb.
Another recommendation close to Daylesford is Daylesford Cider, located a few kilometres east of Daylesford. The cellar door is open daily for tastings, including a cider tasting paddle. The restaurant is open for lunch from Friday to Monday, with bookings recommended. Select to sit in the dog-friendly Courtyard area, which is protected from the rain but not heated, so rug up during winter days.
During your evening, your best bet is to find a pub with a beer garden. One top choice is the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham, a rustic-style country pub with an amazing beer garden. The restaurant is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday. The Farmer’s Arms in Daylesford also welcomes dogs in its beer garden for lunch and dinner.
Dog-Friendly Accommodation Around Daylesford
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Two of the holiday cottages listed by Daylesford Country Cottages are pet-friendly: Bidwell Cottage in the centre of Daylesford, not far from the lake, plus Bonnie Brae Cottage in Hepburn Springs. Both cottages permit pets inside, plus have a secure garden. Did I mention they also have a woodburner stove, with free firewood supplied?
Alternatively, 5 minutes drive south of Daylesford is Hollow Log Estate. A delightfully dog-friendly place to stay, choose between the Stoney Studio (sleeping two plus one dog or two small dogs) or the larger Cottage (which can sleep up to four).
Onsite is a secure 1/2 acre dog exercise area, plus the Cottage has an enclosed balcony. Naturally both have an indoor fireplace and it’s the ideal starting point for dog-friendly walks into the nearby Wombat State Forest.
In Hepburn, check whether Spring Creek Hepburn is available. This cottage that sleeps up to four adults is delightfully pet-friendly. Pets are allowed inside (plus on the beds if you pay for the “furry friend linen” package), the yard is fully secure, and there’s dog-friendly walks on your doorstep. Facilities for your dog include futon beds, blankets, treats and more.
If you have your own caravan or tent, head to the Daylesford Holiday Park, located not far from Lake Daylesford. Dogs are allowed year-round on both caravan and camping sites, plus inside their new pet-friendly cabin. The Bark Royal is a studio cabin that can sleep up to two, plus up to two small dogs are allowed inside.
If you’re happy with basic facilities, one of the closest options is the Mt Franklin Reserve, located just over 10 minutes drive north of Daylesford. Located in an extinct volcano crater, this shady campsite only has limited facilities, but is free of charge and on-leash dogs are permitted.