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>Daylesford in Dale's Ford

Lach Ryan

Located about one hour's drive (5 days by mule) from Melbourne is the township of Daylesford. Home to natural mineral springs, alternative lifestyles and local resident and petrol head Dale St Peters. Dale is a 4th generation Daylesfordonian, and runs his town tours with wife and second-cousin, Larelle. Despite his young age of 19, Dale has an in-depth knowledge of his home town, which he shares as he transports you around the local sights in the back of a 1992 Ford Fairmont.

Throughout the 23 minute tour you take in such landmarks as Champions Eatery, home to the first chippery in the hamlet, the Lakehouse complex comprising of both a house and a lake, and perhaps the highlight... Llama Passions. Local couple November, and her husband Marvin, own and operate this magnificent emporium of all things Llama. November's love for the llama extends through all she does. From her hand made crafts, to her prize winning breeds of Tibetan Whites, through to her marriage to Marvin, who himself is a Llama. The shops motto is "Fibre of the God's" which raises more questions than it answers!
Just when things look like winding down, Dale walks us across the road to the Royal Mail Hotel for a quick bite (The Royal is home to a rabid dog that nips the heels of all who enter through its doors) After receiving complimentary rabies shots with our entrees, we settle down to ordering from the specials menu. Dale suggests the Nachos, which he says are a local favorite. We go with the tip and are soon tucking in to golden piles of cheese type substance poured over pizza shapes and tomato sauce.
Finally, we find ourselves at the historic Hepburn Springs Bathhouse where our tour ends. Dale must depart as his shift at the IGA (26 Vincent Street) is about to start. We opt to try out the facilities and soon find ourselves in a variety of heated pools of water. However we are not alone! Joining us, it appears, are all men of Eastern European origin within a 20 km radius. Each one of them choosing to don thick blankets of body hair. The treatments are soothing and relaxing, the whole experience being more enjoyable than it sounds. A bit like Daylesford itself!