I know it sounds silly but I didn’t know Daylesford had a lake until around my 3rd visit. Getting to a workshop too early another participant suggested a coffee at the lake. “What lake? “ I asked. Next thing I was sitting over the water at the Boathouse drinking coffee watching ducks on the lake with Wombat Forest in the background. Wow!
So if you don’t want to appear like a ninny as I do then check it out on your first visit. This is THE lake that people drive to visit Daylesford for. Accommodation and dining in the town is at a premium if it has lake views and if you look around you can understand why. Photos from the past showed the path around the lake lit at night and I would suggest this be looked at reinstating again.
The first Boathouse Cafe burnt down but a new one has risen from the ashes. Not that you need eat or drink to enjoy the lake – that’s just my way of getting maximum enjoyment from an attraction. If you don’t want to spend at the cafe and are better prepared than I ever am there are many seats around the lake (make sure you bring some bread for the ducks) as well as barbecue areas including one under a chinese pergola.
A walk around the lake takes around 40 minutes, even less if you like to keep your blood pressure high. The track can get a bit bumpy and the elevation steep but most people would get around it comfortably. Although not promoted well the lake extends across the other side of the bridge and is worth a further 10 minute walk. This is where the more expensive accommodation exists and although maybe not intended has a feeling of exclusivity. So make sure you do take it in.
Lake Daylesford started out as a gold mine until the gold ran out and it became a Chinese market selling fresh vegetables to the local market. After some time it was flooded and used for recreation as evidenced by the swimming area and change rooms at the far end. Swimming is no longer recommended due to the depth and cold currents with several fatalities in recent decades. Please take serious note of the signs.
A safer way to enjoy the water is to hire a paddleboat or canoe from the boathouse and stay above the water. Curious note – don’t take your mobile phone out on the water as many,many people have dropped them into the water and watched their demise as the sink into the murky depths. .
Bleaky St, Daylesford VIC 3460 Open on Everyday