Sunday, April 25, 2010
Spa Country musings
How does someone get up in the morning and think - "I'm going to make a fish today, with colorbond metal sheeting and rivets!" That seems to be what happened to one of the artists at the Pantechnicon Gallery in Daylesford, and he's just about to finish the fish, hoping to sell it to a restaurant in Melbourne. Creativity is alive and well in the mineral springs country! We''ve always loved Daylesford, even before it became touristy and fashionable, and it is still a favourite destination for a country drive. Now, in autumn, the cooler weather brings out the warm yellows and reds of deciduous trees, and Daylesford's surrounds are well worth exploring with the camera. The town, settled in the mid-1800s with the gold rush, has two pretty lakes, Lake Daylesford and Lake Jubilee. Both are havens for birds, frogs, dragonflies and sundry wildlife. Wombat Hill Gardens are well worth a visit in any season and offer great views over the township and surrounding countryside. It is situated just above the Convent Gallery, a former nunnery turned into a centre for art which also doubles as a wedding venue, and has ongoing exhibitions of local artists' works. Daylesford is a hub for art and artists, food and foodies, and quirky shops and galleries add to the slightly bohemian ambiance. Day spas abound, and just down the road is Hepburn Springs, heart of the mineral spa country, with its many B&Bs and spa dating back to the late 1800's. While not as lively as Daylesford, it is not (yet) spoiled by tourism, and on weekdays it is a surprisingly quiet place. Some shops and galleries have started up, notably the "Wolf at the Door" Gallery, but just enough to explore for an hour after lunch. Peppers is a nice place to have lunch, a 1930's style resort next door to an Italianate villa complete with Mediterranean garden. A few kilometers out of town is Lavandula, a rambling property turned into a lavender farm. While the townships are interesting, it is the surrounding countryside which is surely an inspiration for many of the resident artists. Forests and waterfalls, enormous old trees, deep rich soil, bubbling springs, and teeming wildlife add to the attraction of this area. And I'm sure there's still gold in them hills!!