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Hepburn Springs has long been regarded as a place for relaxation and healing, and after being regular visitors for over 25 years, Sandra and her husband Ian dreamed of having their own little piece of this magical region to call their own. Illoura, meaning beautiful or pleasant place, is now just that and they have opened the doors for visitors so that they too can experience that touch of magic that has visitors returning to this stunning region time and time again.

When it came time to make a very long-held dream come true to own a property in Hepburn Springs, couple Ian and Sandra carefully sought out a property that could offer the best of what they had experienced staying at other accommodation in the area.

“Personally, I was seeking a character property with charm”, says Sandra. “Ian wanted a garden, land and ‘projects’. We found it all and so much more at Illoura. It is the most divine cottage nestled perfectly in its environment.”

Doctor’s Gully is at the rear of the property and Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve is across the road. Beautiful ancient trees, creeks and native flora attract birds and wildlife to Illoura.

Ian and Sandra have meticulously renovated the cottage to offer a new kitchen and refurbished bathrooms in keeping with the style of the property. They installed new light fixtures, central heating, air conditioners, painted throughout, and resurfaced the driveway. Every piece in the cottage, from the furniture to the decorative items, has been carefully selected by Sandra to offer a welcoming, warm and charming place that guests can return to time and time again as a kind of sanctuary.

“Our hope is that this can be an escape for people to arrive to and feel nurtured, calm, happy and re-energised.”

There are touches of luxury throughout, with sparkling wine chilling in the refrigerator along with local mineral water, Koko Black chocolates by the bed, Molton Brown bath products, Tea2 Teas, Nespresso coffee and luxurious linens on carefully chosen, sumptuous beds. The kitchen has been considerately and fully stocked for those guests who wish to stay in and dine at home. There are beautiful spots on both front and back decks to sit with a tea, coffee or wine and relax with a book or magazine from the selection provided. There is an open fire in the lounge room that can be enjoyed whilst streaming music from your device to the Bluetooth soundbar or watching the smart TV with Netflix. Free wi-fi is also available. From the ensuite in the front bedroom, guests can see the garden through the shutter windows or hear the crackling wood fire burning in the lounge room.

“I totally fell in love with the sunlight that filters in through the windows twinkling on the floors and highlighting some of the beautiful decorative pieces I have excitedly collected. Decorating this gorgeous cottage is the most fun I have ever had!”

Illoura is nestled in the village of Hepburn Springs directly opposite the Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, which can be accessed over a charming little foot bridge. Some of the best shopping and dining in the village can be found only a short stroll away including Found at Hepburn which offers a superb selection of vintage and antique furniture and wares. Right next door is Portal 108 for a funky range of clothing, gift and homewares. The famous Hepburn General Store (one of the last true general stores in the region) now offers cheese platters, wine to take home, breads, baked goods, lunch, ice cream and numerous other supplies, perfect for when you’ve forgotten to pack something. For breakfast, the Blue Bean Cafe is a local favourite which also serves lunch and dinner and offers regular live music. For dinner, some of the best restaurants in the region can be found all within walking distance including The Surly Goat, Frank and Connie’s and of course the award-winning Argus Dining Room.

Surrounded by hills and forests, lakes and streams and bubbling natural mineral water, the Hepburn Springs area has long been recognized for it’s mystical, healing properties. The name ‘Illoura’ is an Aboriginal word meaning beautiful or pleasant place and is often associated with places near water.

“There is magic in the region.” says Sandra. “We love it here. We will live here one day and when that day comes, we will be popping more than one champagne cork – guaranteed!”

By Bianca. W | Dayget