Lake Daylesford Loop
Directions - Located a short distance from the centre of Daylesford, take Ballan-Daylesford Rd south until you see the signs for Lake Daylesford. Take the right turn onto Bleakey St and then right onto Leggatt St where you'll find the car park. The trail head is located outside the Boathouse.
The Hike - Daylesford is a place I love visiting and with another family Christmas planned here in 2019, I was very happy to return. Caris' aunt and uncle were hosting the family at their lovely house in Daylesford so immediately I started thinking about some hiking activities I could do on the trip. Having previously done the Tipperary Track and Werribee Gorge on previous visits, I was hoping to get out on one day and take in something similar. One walk I hadn't really thought about writing about for the website was the lovely loop circuit around Lake Daylesford. On my previous visit before our Three Capes trip I enjoyed a lengthy walk around town and took in a section of the loop in really cool misty conditions (see bottom of page for photos). Given it was summer I wasn't expecting the same conditions but was still keen to check out the full loop.
With warm and sunny conditions forecast over the entire trip, I figured a sunset walk would be the best time to take in the loop and with it being right after the summer solstice, the sunset was late in the day. This was perfect as I could have dinner with the family and then escape on my own for a relaxing walk as a night cap. Unfortunately I didn't time it quite correctly and with a touch under 3km to get through while taking many photos, I didn't finish in the light. What you are seeing in this post is a combination of walks from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Arriving at the car park for the beautiful Boathouse Restaurant, you are kind of in the middle of the lake and it makes for a great starting point. Finding the information board, I headed off in a clockwise direction as that's how I started the Tipperary Track and it just feels more natural. Following the path you pass several houses that overlook the lake that were being used as holiday homes when I passed. This is by far the most popular area for visitors as not far along you reach the tiniest of beaches with a grassed area that is perfect for sun baking or a picnic.
A very picturesque part of the lake, it's right in front of one of the most beautiful public toilets I've seen and the spillway that created the lake. The public conveniences used to be a changing room for when there was a swimming pool and dive tower and with swimming allowed in the lake, I guess it still serves the same purpose. Using the bridge over the spillway I noticed a lot of padlocks on the wires, a trend that was popular a while ago when couples would attach a padlock and write their names on it. It became famous with the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris and has been copied all over the world (the origins date back to WWI in Spain). It created a cool feature to photograph in the fading light and was a good excuse to stop and admire the spillway. Built in 1929 to create the lake for recreational purposes, the water level was unsurprisingly below the top of the concrete structure on my visit. This little corner of the lake is a really cool spot with a little jetty constructed for people to use as another entry point to the water. Rounding the edge of the lake you start heading uphill on the track and into a more natural area of forest. From the elevated position you can look back at the change rooms, beach and houses along the shore and also start to see further to the north to the opposite side of the lake.