A Bookish Escape – Daylesford, Australia

Hello there, If you’re from my part of the world winter is almost over! Which means goodbye to sniffly noses and cold toes. Hello Spring! But before we farewell the cold months, I wanted to share about some of my winter adventures. Read on if you like weekends away, bookstores and books! (That’s all of us right?)

The thing I really enjoy about winter is drinking hot chocolate and curling up with a good book. It’s even better if you can share that book with someone. The Mister and I recently had a weekend escape which was lovely! We didn’t really escape the winter cold per sae. Rather we found a charming country town drank hot drinks, curled up by the fire and read books together. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Our escape was to the Australian country town of Daylesford, a cute country town with good cafes and one of my absolute favourite bookshops.

Paradise Books. The name of the bookshop pretty well sums it up doesn’t it? It’s a book lovers haven and well worth checking out if you’re in the area. Read on for more information about this bookish haven and the other bookish delights from our time away.

Paradise Books

This bookshop may have played a part in my suggested the location of Daylesford to Mister as the destination for our getaway. I mean, actually it was a pretty significant part really. I first visited this bookshop around five years ago and was enchanted by its rabbit warren like hallways and cozy reading nooks. I knew that this bookshop is one I would always enjoy coming back to.

The signage from the outside of the shop is a delight, and as a cat lover draws me in straight away! Cats and books, they were made for one another.

The charm and quirkiness of this bookshop is apparent from the outset with this cute little statue to greet you as you make your way inside. Once in, a plethora of tall shelves greet you. In the front rooms are the new releases, while throughout the long hallways, back rooms and upstairs are a series of second-hand books and comics.

We took our time meandering through the store, and both the Mister and I came away with a book each (only two I know!). Book shopping is lots of fun and a great opportunity to spend time together, share a few laughs all on a budget.

If you’re making your way to Daylesford Paradise Books is definitely worth checking out during your stay. The cozy environment of the shop was a welcome reprieve from the cold weather outside. Finding both new and old editions of books is always a joy.

Doesn’t this look like the perfect reading nook?

Book lovers this store is calling you!

Other things to do in Daylesford

Shopping: If you haven’t had enough shopping for bookish treasures, stop by one of the number of antique and second hand stores in town. The Amazing Mill Market is by far the largest antiques collection. You’ll find a variety of second hand books as well as furniture, knick knacks and other treasures here. Brick Lane Bazaar is another fantastic shop to check out. The store has a rockabilly vibe and sells a wide variety of memorabilia, clothing and vintage items.

Art: Daylesford has a lively art scene with many local artists displaying their talent through a galleries, cafés and shops throughout town. We visited The Convent Daylesford which was wonderful.

Once a home to nuns living in rural Victoria in the 1890s The Convent is now home for many beautiful artworks. The gallery was established by its founder Tina Banitska in 1988-1990s in order to restore The Convent and re-open it as a gallery. The gallery is gorgeous and pays its respects to the religious heritage of the building.

A historical display has been thoughtfully set up for visitors to learn about the Holy Cross sisters who inhabited the convent and their work. The upstairs room has been left in a semi-derilect state as a reminder of the past. The history of this place feels the most tangible there, amongst the flaking plaster.

The Mister took this photo in what was originally the Infirmary of The Convent. It’s been left in near original condition as a reminder of the age of the building.

If history isn’t for you (or even if it is)… There’s a nice cafe in the atrium of the convent which has a lovely conservatory feel with soaring glass windows. The Mister was very excited when his coffee size was offered to him as: “medium, large or bucket?”

Speaking of coffee Daylesford Cafés: We didn’t actually get to many cafes! There was lots on offer though. We enjoyed The Convent café, as well as Pastry Kings bakery which had a nice vanilla slice.

If you’ve been to Daylesford, which cafés would you recommend? Second question, how do you pick a café when you’re out? What do you look for?

One of mine and the Misters favourite things to do together is Walking. We end up having such great conversations. It’s good to get into creation, enjoy nature and the company of each other.

Daylesford has a lot walking tracks to suit lots of different fitness levels. We checked out a portion of the Goldfields Track and did a lap of Lake Daylesford. Aside from being a little rainy it was a lovely walk. There’s a bridge on Lake Daylesford where people have embraced the tradition that you see these days around the world. Locking a lock on a bridge with their loved one. Have you ever done this? We didn’t happen to have a lock with us, but we enjoyed reading some of the sweetly engraved locks that others had left behind.

Lake Daylesford.

Now we come to what Daylesford is predominantly known for! Spas and Mineral Springs. This is what most people think of when coming to Daylesford and the surrounding area. We actually didn’t go to any spas centres, as our accomodation had a spa already. I hear Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is nice.

The Daylesford area is full of mineral springs which you can find pumps for around the place. The water is regularly tested for safety, but its generally better to drink the locally processed mineral water you can buy in town.

What did we read?

A lot of our getaway was spent reading, which was really nice! I found it very relaxing to take this time away slowly. To not rush around and try to do everything (there was a lot of things we could have done!) but rather just hang out and be quiet for a while. With one another.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find reading alongside someone really nice. Me reading my book, them reading theirs. Every now and again you look up and chat about what’s happening in the worlds you’re both lost in. It’s just nice.

Now let’s chat what books we read while we were away!

I read:

Reading by the fire in winter? I think so.
  1. The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff. I received this book in my Relove Print July Subscription and have been looking forward to getting into it. I won’t do a full review here, but let me just say… The ending of this book. Wow.
  2. A Crown of Coral and Pearl (ARC Copy) by Mara Rutherford. This book is one I received as an Advanced Review Copy from Harlequin Australia & MIRA HQ Publishing. I really enjoyed it! Fantastic characters and an interesting world. Want to read the full review? Check it out here.
  3. The Binding by Bridget Collins. I bought this book a while ago, and I’ve been chipping away at it. The premise is interesting but it just didn’t grip me as I read. The cover is gorgeous though!

The Mister Read:

  1. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I read this one a while ago, and it’s been on the Mister’s to be read list for a while now. He enjoyed it and says: “An Immersive read, without any kind of plot“. It may seem a harsh comment, but on deeper conversation about this book we think it’s more of a reflection on the nature of character driven narrative as opposed to plot driven. On a whole he enjoyed the book.
  2. Illuminae Files 0_1 by Jay Kristoff and Aimee Kaufmann. After my raving about this book The Mister didn’t have much of a choice about reading this one. My glee at watching him read the book was barely contained. If you read my full review of Illuminae Files you will know what I’m talking about. His current impressions of Illuminae Files are: “I really enjoy the format”

Holiday Book Haul?

While some people might bring home tea towels, magnets or clothes as souvenirs (nothin’ wrong with that!) on my travels I usually bring home at least one book or bookmark. This time the Mister and I picked a book each from Paradise Books in Daylesford.

I picked: an anthology of H.G Wells stories including: The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The Food of The Gods and The War of the Worlds.

The Mister picked: cthulhu Mythos tales by H.P Lovecraft.

It’s funny we both picked anthologies when we were in totally different areas of the bookshop. Our authors both go by similar initials and draw on fantastical elements. My copy is second hand whereas the Misters is new. We’re both excited to read these stories!

Homeward bound

All holidays come to an end. So did ours! It was lovely to get away for a few days, see some sights, relax, read and most importantly have some quality time together.

We came home and enjoyed catching up with friends and seeing what mischief our house/cat sitter had gotten up to (Check out the photo at the end of the post).

I hope you enjoyed todays post! It was a lot of fun! I really enjoy travelling. Have you got a favourite bookstore? Do you prefer a lake or beach holiday? Tell me about it by commenting on this post. Hopefully I can get to visit some of them.

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Do you have social media? For more bookish content in your week you can find me @stephhuddlestonwriting on Instagram or Facebook.

Happy reading!

Can you spot our house sitter’s prank? I feel like I’m still finding these little Dinos around the place!

Hi! I'm Steph, a freelance writer for hire based in Australia. I'm an avid reader and love all things bookish! My blog is all about the written word.

5 thoughts on “A Bookish Escape – Daylesford, Australia

  1. Steph, that sounds like a wonderful getaway. Here in Virginia (the state of) it’s still summer hot, so enjoying hot drinks in comfy chairs on chilly days sure sounds great. Plus, what a fantabulous bookshop!!!! Thank you for transporting us there for a photo look-see. Cheers! ☕️📚😎📚☕️

    Like

    • Thanks for commenting Virginia! I have been missing warm summer days, so I suppose we’re all a bit wistful about the weather 😂 Today is the first day of spring in Australia so the heat won’t be far off. I’m glad you enjoyed the bookshop, it was certainly a highlight of the trip! 🤩 Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. His impressions of Illuminae had me laughing. I’m curious as to if he’ll enjoy it or not by the end of it. I love your trip though! Nothing like escaping your local town/city for a different setting here and then, and to visit such wonderful places (the bookstore looks amazing!). Thank you for sharing, Steph! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading Lashaan! Haha yes I’m unsure what the final verdict will be on Illuminae files 😂 I must tell him to visit your blog as he does quite enjoy graphic novels/comics (Watchmen has been a recent favourite). We’ve got more travels planned so there may be more bookstore features on the blog in the coming months. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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