Family Fun in Daylesford: 24 Free and Fabulous Activities for Kids!

Family Fun in Daylesford: 24 Free and Fabulous Activities for Kids!

Here's a range of family-friendly activities and ideas when in Daylesford (some free, some fabulous).

Guest author: Sandra Broman

1. FREE. Go for a swim in any of the many lakes

Lake Jubilee and Lake Daylesford are the easiest to get to, but there are many cute water holes and creeks you can explore for a private dip.

There is a small, shallow, sandy beach area at each lake, suitable for all ages as the beaches are shallow. However, please remember the lakes themselves are deep, so practice water safety! Additionally, Daylesford Trading Co typically sells floaty toys, which can be helpful if you or your kids aren't strong swimmers.

At Lake Jubilee you might also be able to hire paddle boats and canoes. For added amusement, there are peacocks strutting their stuff very noisily which can also be fun.

2. FREE. Go fishing!

The Department of Fisheries stocks Lake Jubilee four times a year with rainbow trout, tench, and redfin. Bring a rod and try your luck at catching dinner!

A little-known fact is that this lake is one of five premium fishing lakes in Victoria. 

Some Lake Jubilee tips:

  • License: If you'd like to go fishing at the lake, you'll need to buy a fishing license from the newsagent on Vincent Street in Daylesford.

  • Cast away from the water lilies: Otherwise, it's goodbye to your fishing tackle... I had a great lure, but it got snagged.

  • Catch yabbies any month with the letter 'R' in it. But if you get a female with eggs, please release her in peace.

If you're looking for something simpler try organised fishing experience, visit Tuki Trout Farm, just outside of Daylesford.

3. FREE. Visit Daylesford Railway Station.

If you have a young Thomas the Tank Engine fan in the family, there is an actual turntable for trains at the Daylesford Railway Station, which is super exciting.

However, please note that it's not free on Sundays, when the vintage trains offer short trips with dressed-up volunteers. Choo-choo!

4. FREE. Climb the Pioneer Memorial Tower.

This at the top of the Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, which is in the center of Daylesford.

5. FREE. Find wildlife in the bush.

Daylesford boasts a vast array of wildlife, which is easiest to spot during dawn and dusk. Look out for wombats, kangaroos, wallabies, various bird species (including the impressive Powerful Owl), koalas, possums, and many others.

Learn to recognize the various poo and other tracks so even if you don’t see a particular animal, you will know it has been through. Major scratching at tree trunks can mean look up, koalas live here.

Piles of square poo means wombat territory, a small regurgitated parcel of bones and bits could very well mean a giant owl had a midnight feast in the tree canopy above your head.

Snakes are active during the warmer months but not in the colder seasons. If you're concerned, simply avoid warm areas or stick to clear paths where you can easily spot any snakes. Being aware of your surroundings is always beneficial. Each season brings changes to the bush, including new scents, flowers, and animal activity.

To keep small children entertained, play games such as spotting the first yellow flower, ant, or lizard, with the winner receiving a lolly. Daylesford Trading Co offers a wide selection of intriguing lolly varieties not typically found in supermarkets, including Strawberry Cloud and Kind Hearts, catering to both traditional and unconventional tastes.

For an adventurous after dark event, drive into the forest on some gravel track and park. Wind down windows and sit quietly and listen to the bush. It might not be as exciting as Jurassic Park, but there is plenty to hear.

Enjoy a takeaway dinner in the car simultaneously for a complete outing. However, exercise caution when driving home, as kangaroos and other wildlife are prone to unexpectedly crossing the road, potentially causing dangerous situations. Even if the speed limit is 100 km/h, it's advisable to drive no faster than 70 km/h, especially in icy conditions.

6. Go horse trail riding at Boomerang Ranch.

Loved by kids and locals. Some amazing trails and adventures await. 

7. Strike GOLD!

You can search for gold with a pan in the creeks or with a detector in the forest if you have access to one.

You need a recreational mining license, it can be bought online from for $27 and it lasts for 10 years. Children under 18 do not need one if they are accompanied by an adult with a license.

There are fossicking rules, read about them on the same website. There are gemstones such as zircons and garnets to be found here as well.

Even if you find no gold you WILL find an adventure. Look out for mine shafts (could fall in) and make sure you tell someone roughly where you are going so they know where to search. Just in case you get really adventurous and get lost.

8. FREE. Playground alert!

There is a playground and skatepark at the corner of Duke Street and Stanbridge Street in Daylesford. That playground is also good for bigger kids as the equipment is a bit bigger. There is a playground at both Lake Daylesford and Lake Jubilee as well.

9. FREE. Daylesford Skatepark Mine Hike

Just behind the Daylesford Skatepark lies the beginning of the shortest and most centrally located hiking trail.

There are several paths to choose from, offering plenty of animals, muddy puddles, and frogspawn in season.

Be careful of mines. The horizontal ones are okay; it’s the vertical ones you have to avoid ias they can be quite dangerous. Explaining how to find the mines is challenging; however, a good rule of thumb is if you see a pile of dirt, there will likely be a corresponding hole.

The bigger the pile, the deeper the shaft. The most intriguing mine is situated right on the path, near a creek, within a gorge. Further details are difficult to convey; you'll simply have to venture there and see for yourself.

10. Visit Lavandula Lavender Farm

Just outside Daylesford if your children like animals, there is a Highland cow, a donkey, emus, guinea fowl, geese, bantams, sheep and alpacas.

11. FREE. The swimming pool in Daylesford

This is free, open warm season only.

12. FREE. Visit the crater at Mt Franklin

It’s something else… Quite magical. Good for the child who likes natural wonders like meteors, volcanoes and such.

13. FREE. The pool/water hole at The Poolway in Hepburn Springs

This is an Aboriginal sacred site. It holds deep cultural significance, reserved for Women’s business, healing and as a birthing place.

It is a little hard to find, tucked away into the gorge down some steep stairs which is good as it remains a bit of a secret not many know about.

It has really interesting history, was once a six laned pool where competitions were held but these days swimming is strictly forbidden as the council could not get public liability insurance and it is not the safest of places. It is certainly worth a visit regardless because of the history.

14. FREE. Descend the very long stairs at Sailor’s Falls

It's a surprisingly high waterfall, best in wetter seasons but fabulous landscape at any time. Being so wet, it differs from all around it and is full of water play opportunities. A creek, a spring, some paths high and low. Fun times.

Not for prams though, those stairs are a serious challenge! Good for the child with long enough legs for the stairs.

15. FREE. Daylesford Library Story Time and Baby Rhyme Time

No need to be a member of the local library if you are just visiting. Programs run every week except for during school holidays. Check website for times. Good for the literary child.

16. FREE. The old lock-up behind the old Police station on Camp St.

This is a tiny building; you can peer through the bars but not go in unless you are on a guided walking tour as they have the all-important keys.

The lockup is from 1858 and is one of only five remaining such buildings in Victoria. You can see some interesting graffiti through the bars. Good for the naughty child.

17. Chocolate Mill.

This is a small chocolate factory, watch chocolate being made, then eat some. Delicious. Good for the chocolatey child.

18. The Convent Gallery.

This is a fabulous building, now used as a gallery but has a long history as residence, boarding school, convent.

When visiting with children, don’t miss going down the stairs way down to the creepy music room, or take the stairs up to see the cells the nuns used to live in, preserved. Up at the very top is a tiny infirmary, as high as can be.

A good destination for the curious child who likes stairs and interesting spaces.

19. FREE. See the ducks on Lake Daylesford

A word about ducks and swans and other birds around the lakes. Please don’t feed them bread or other such un-duck-like stuff.

They do adore slugs, insects, greenery, worms etc but that they can find all that on their own. Quack quack! In spring you can watch the ducklings hatch and swim in long lines behind their mothers. Good for the nature child.

20. Drive to Blackwood (yes, not exactly Daylesford but worth a trip).

There is a bushwalk loop there which is really exciting at Garden of St Erth.

There are mine openings to knock your head on. Giant ferns to get lost under, mining history echoing through the gorge. As it will take a little effort, recommend for 12 and up. Or not, what do I know! Your 9 year old might love it too.

Number 26 is up to you, go exploring with no purpose other than finding what’s around the corner. Maybe it’s an ice-cream, maybe it’s a little lizard. Nobody knows.

21. FREE. Visit the Hepburn Blowhole.

Timing is everything with the blowhole, go after rains. It could be a non-existent blowhole otherwise, but things get very whooshy after a decent wet spell.

You can go for a dip here too if you are lucky enough to catch a window where it is simultaneously wet enough and warm enough. Possible! Spring recommended.

22. FREE. Loddon Falls.

Big kids only is best, very dangerous for littlies. This is a well-kept secret and I hesitate to mention it as I don’t want to ruin it but I think this location will never be popular given the challenges of getting there.

I promise you an astonishing visit if you can be bothered with a bit of a walk and a little awkward scramble over rocks. It has the potential for being very snakey in summer but the pay off is a dip in hidden pristine water. It’s a marvel, visit! Also, snakes can swim. Just putting it out there.

There are other waterfalls which are easy to drive to, look at and leave such as Trentham Falls but where’s the adventure? At Loddon, of course!

Though Trentham Falls is expecting some large rockfalls in the near future, so the excitement could be there as well. It has been fenced off so you are safe but it would be fun to see nature in action from a little distance if you are lucky enough to be there when it happens.

23. FREE. A fail-safe way to see kangaroos, if you have not yet found some.

At the close of day there’s a mob of roos gathering at the 18th hole at Hepburn Springs Golf Club. I have been many times and they have always shown up. Please remember these are wild animals, don’t approach as they might object and have claws and things to object with.

24. Visit Daylesford Trading Co.

We may be biased but we think we have a range of fun toys, games and treats to please the children without breaking the bank.

A general note about snakes:

In case you are a visitor from afar you might wonder what all these snakes are about. First, let me say there are very few things which can hurt you here.

There are no crocodiles, for instance, which I find ever such a relief to know. Our snakes are primarily Eastern Brown Snake, Red Bellied Black Snake, Copperhead Snake and Taipans.

I would be surprised if you see any as they are pretty shy. It is just good to be aware. If you are hiking in the warm months, stick to paths preferably with pale gravel on so you can see them. Our spiders are small, slow and mostly harmless unlike some other states I could mention.

You can swim in the knowledge that there are no sharks. There are none of the big animals, no buffalo, no tigers, nothing like that whatsoever. There may be the odd tick or leech, but I have yet to see one and I spend loads of time outdoors.

Basically just a few snakes, assume they are dangerous and you can’t go wrong. Trying to be reassuring here, I want you to go out and discover the fabulous region.

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