Daylesford's slow pace of life makes it a favourite getaway for Melburnians. Image: Shutterstock

Daylesford

Image: Daylesford's slow pace of life makes it a favourite getaway for Melburnians. Image: Shutterstock

Daylesford

Daylesford is a laid-back town nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range about 1.5 hours' drive from Melbourne. The town is a popular LGBT+ getaway due to its proximity to Melbourne, its top food and wine offerings, its high gay and lesbian population and the fact that it hosts Australia's largest regional pride celebration, the Chillout Festival.

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Daylesford
LGBT+ favourite rural town
Queer-Interest Trip
(143 ratings)

Daylesford is a laid-back town nestled in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range about 1.5 hours' drive from Melbourne. The town is a popular LGBT+ getaway due to its proximity to Melbourne, its top food and wine offerings, its high gay and lesbian population and the fact that it hosts Australia's largest regional pride celebration, the Chillout Festival.

Daylesford and the broader region of Hepburn Springs has long been known as a health and wellness destination because of the abundance of natural spring mineral spas - 80% of Australia's known mineral water springs can be found here[4]. Because of this, an increasing number of wellness retreats, B&Bs and food and wine offerings set up in the area. Like much of regional Victoria, Daylesford manages to achieve both a country laid-back vibe and a sophistication with great cafes and fine dining.

Its reputation as a gay mecca is cemented by its high gay population and the annual Chillout festival. In the 2016 census, Daylesford is the location outside of Sydney and Melbourne with the highest proportion of same-sex couples. 

By the mid 1990s, the Daylesford region was home to an increasing number of gay men and lesbian women so a group of residents got together and created a gay and lesbian business alliance, Springs Connections. The group met once a week to support local businesses and to encourage more gay and lesbian visitors to the area. The group soon expanded their focus beyond the business community to the broader LGBT+ community. With this in mind, they decided to host the region's first pride celebration in 1997. They decided on a name to capture the country feel of Daylesford - Chillout[5]. The region continues to have a thriving gay and lesbian community.