Daylesford is a spa town located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, within the Shire of Hepburn, Victoria, Australia, approximately 115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. First established in 1852 as a gold-mining town, today Daylesford has a population of 2,565 as of the 2011 census. As one of Australia’s few spa towns, Daylesford is a notable tourist destination. The town’s numerous spas, restaurants and galleries are popular alongside the many gardens and country-house-conversion styled bed and breakfasts.
The broader area around the town, including Hepburn Springs to the north, is known for its natural spring mineral spas and is the location of over 80 per cent of Australia's effervescent mineral water reserve. The Daylesford wine region is fast becoming known as Australia's best Pinot growing region, boasting continuous gold medals and 95 point plus wines. At 616 metres above sea level, it has a cooler, wetter climate than Melbourne. Summer (January–February) temperatures range from 10 to 37 °C, while July temperatures are cold, ranging from about 1–2 °C to 9 °C. Annual precipitation, occasionally falling as snow, averages about 870 mm but has ranged from 445 mm to over 1,350 mm per year.
With 65 mineral springs, the Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region accounts for more than 80 per cent of Australia’s known mineral water springs. As a result, the region has a number of spa developments including Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, Mineral Spa at Peppers Springs Retreat and Salus Spa, Lake House. The town is also known for hosting a number of annual events, including the ChillOut Festival held during the Victorian Labour Day long weekend in March each year, the largest gay and lesbian festival in rural and regional Australia; the Harvest Week Festival; the Lavandula's Festivals; and the Hepburn Springs Swiss Italian Festival celebrating the town's Swiss-Italian heritage.
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