A Victorian Loop: Pt 3 – Daylesford and Lancefield

by Steven Chater from Trip Plan Australia. Check out Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner that will help you make the most of your next road trip through regional and outback Australia.

As I write this blog post I read of the devastating bushfires along the Great Ocean Road at Wye River and Separation Creek. Having driven through only a couple of months ago I can easily recall the beauty of the area and my thoughts are for the residents who have lost their homes.

Bushfires were on our minds back in October when we departed Port Campbell to drive north through central Victoria. We were closely monitoring the CFA’s social media bulletins as a fire had escaped a ‘controlled burn’ and had destroyed four homes just near the town of Lancefield, right where we were heading! However a friend was a major influencer behind a Megafauna Festival being run along side the annual Lancefield Agricultural Show and we wanted to show our support by attending if at all possible.

The drive north from Port Campbell took us through some beautiful countryside, particularly around the town of Camperdown. This was a volcanic area active between 10,000 and 30,000 years ago. The hundreds of crater lakes in the hills in the district were a result of geysers of hot steam and rock producing shallow craters. We were given the tip to drive through the caravan park (don’t be put off – it’s open to the public) to get a great view of two of the lakes and visit the local Botanic Gardens (first established way back in 1888-89).

Road trip planner Australia - Looking down to the crater lake, Lake Gnotuk

Looking down to the crater lake, Lake Gnotuk

Road trip planner Australia - Spring blossoms in the Botanic Gardens at Camperdown

Spring blossoms in the Botanic Gardens at Camperdown

North east from Camperdown is the fabulous city of Ballarat, however a great TV advertising campaign a couple of years ago had put the town of Daylesford on the map for us – we just had to spend a night there.

Daylesford’s history as a successful gold-mining town is obvious – the main street buildings are magnificent.

Road trip planner Australia - The 'Frangos & Frangos' building is on the left, then the imposing Town Hall

The ‘Frangos & Frangos’ building is on the left, then the imposing Town Hall

Road trip planner Australia - Post Office building, Daylesford

Post Office building, Daylesford

Road trip planner Australia - Main street buildings, Daylesford

Main street buildings, Daylesford

Today Daylesford is all about tourism, focussed on ‘relaxation and rejuvenation’, as it is the main town in an area known for its mineral spas. And it has some interesting shops and restaurants too.

Just out of Daylesford is Hepburn Springs. Its Mineral Spring Reserve has the historic Bathhouse, Spa and Pavilion – great atmosphere, but the freely available mineral water is an acquired taste!

Road trip planner Australia - A series of outlets in the Mineral Spring Reserve are available for you to fill your bottle, if you fancy!

A series of outlets in the Reserve are available for you to fill your bottle, if you fancy!

Road trip planner Australia - Hepburn Springs Pavilion

Hepburn Springs Pavilion

Fortunately for us, by the time we departed Daylesford the fire threat around Lancefield had been contained. So we were really looking forward to attending the Lancefield Agricultural Show scheduled for the coming Sunday. To get us in the mood we went to the regular markets in Creswick (just north of Ballarat, third Saturday of every month) – a pretty little town with a history in timber, and well worth a visit.

Road trip planner Australia - Rotunda in Creswick

Rotunda in Creswick

Given the circumstances, it was great that the Victorian Government agreed to cover the entry cost to the Lancefield show for everyone, so the donations at the gate went straight to the local community to aid recovery. It certainly brought the crowds out.

The best was on display …

Road trip planner Australia - … there was cattle judging Lancefield Agricultural Show

… there was cattle judging

Road trip planner Australia - … furry friends judging Lancefield Agricultural Show

… furry friends judging

Road trip planner Australia - … sheep judging Lancefield Agricultural Show

… sheep judging

And lots of other activities too …

Road trip planner Australia - Tractor Pull Lancefield Agricultural Show

Tractor Pull

Road trip planner Australia - Showbags Lancefield Agricultural Show

Showbags

If you happen to be passing through Lancefield, check out the final result of the chain saw sculpting that was transforming two huge cyprus pine stumps into lasting features for the showground. The sculptures were specially commissioned for the ‘Extinct’ Megafauna festival that was celebrating the history of giant Megafauna bones found at Lancefield Park.

Road trip planner Australia - chain saw sculpting Lancefield Agricultural Show

Chain saw sculpting

I’m pleased to report that the Megafauna Festival was a hit, especially with the kids, who had a great time digging up the ‘bones’ to rebuild a Diprotodon (Giant Wombat).

Road trip planner Australia - finding the 'bones' of the Diprotodon Lancefield Megafauna Festival

Finding the ‘bones’ of the Diprotodon

Keep a lookout in Trip Plan’s Events widget for local community annual shows that might be on where you are travelling. Locals always go the extra mile for the annual events and it’s usually an experience not to be missed.

The show was a great note on which to end our Victorian loop trip. The loop had taken us through the spectacular Yarra Ranges, to the Mornington Peninsular, across ‘The Bay’ to Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, and finally up to the Macedon Ranges. Each of the days of the loop brought us something interesting and new to discover and enjoy – definitely a recommended experience and a great driving holiday.

Design Your Own Road Trip!

The trip map and itinerary is available for you to use as a basis for your own trip at Trip Plan Australia. Go ahead and change the Towns in the Route section, and add and remove Via towns. Places, events and attractions in common will be retained in the revised Itinerary. Browse events on during your trip timeframe, and add/remove attractions and overnight stops to the itinerary to suit.

Road trip planner Australia - Victorian Big Loop - Black Spur Drive, Mornington Peninsular, Great Ocean Rd, Daylesford

Click to get an interactive map and itinerary to plan your own trip in Trip Plan’s free Itinerary Planner