Only a short 3-minute drive from Daylesford’s main street and located at the centre of Victoria’s spa and wellness region, Hepburn Springs has long been a favourite destination for those seeking pampering treatments at one of its many award-winning day spas. The village of Hepburn Springs has more to offer than just massage and day spas though so we’ve put together a list of six things to do on your next visit to Hepburn Springs.
1. Taste Mineral Water at Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve
A visit to Hepburn Springs would not be complete without taste testing some of the region’s famous mineral water and one of the best places to try it for yourself is at the historic Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve. Mineral water was discovered here during the gold rush of the 1850s and if it wasn’t for the foresight of the region’s Swiss Italian settlers who worked to protect the springs from mining it may have been lost forever. Be sure to try all of the springs as they each have a distinct flavour and bring along some bottles to fill and take home!
2. Learn about Permaculture at David Holmgren’s Melliodora
Visit one of the best documented and well-known permaculture demonstration sites in the world at Melliodora, Hepburn Springs. Owner and co-originator of the permaculture concept, David Holmgren welcomes visitors for day tours several times each year. Learn how David and his partner Su transformed what was once just a blackberry covered wasteland into a model of small-scale intensive permaculture featuring their passive solar home, mixed food gardens, orchards, dams and livestock as well as creek revegetation. The whole day guided tours are offered every month from October through to May and bookings are essential.
3. Experience Nature at its Finest
Hepburn Springs is located in the delightful bush surroundings of Hepburn Regional Park and there are plenty of opportunities to get out in nature. Join the Tipperary bushwalking track at Bryces Flat for a 30-minute walk to The Blowhole. The Blowhole was an artificial diversion tunnel built by gold miners in the 1870’s on Sailors Creek. When the creek is in full flow it is an impressive sight and worth a look. Continue on foot for another hour to Breakneck Gorge. The trail here is a little tricker and care should be taken but the views are worth it when Breakneck Gorge appears suddenly around a bend. It’s a great place to watch some birds in the tree-filled gorge below. Finish with a trip to Jacksons Lookout. Located at one of the highest points above Hepburn Springs, the lookout tower provides panoramic views across Hepburn Regional Park.
4. Shop at Portal 108
Starting as just a small jewellery stand in the front garden of owners Connie and Kyla’s home over twelve years ago, Portal 108 has evolved into a Hepburn institution. Now located next door in the old Hepburn Post Office, Portal 108 has grown into a full retail store. The range has expanded beyond jewellery and now features ladies clothing and footwear, bags and accessories, homewares and gifts. Every item in the store has been carefully curated by Connie and Kyla from some of the most exciting labels across Australia and around the world. Elm lifestyle clothing, EOS footwear, Kompanero Bags and Blue Q Socks are just some of the treats you will find at Portal 108 and the warm welcome and friendly service make this well worth a visit.
5. Sample some of the region’s best food at The Surly Goat
Don’t be put off by the name, there are no surly wait staff here (or goats!) and the food is second to none. Located off the main drag down a quiet tree lined street, which just happens to be spectacular in autumn, The Surly Goat is an intimate restaurant space offering lunch and dinner.
Owner and Chef David Willcox is a Hepburn Springs alumn formerly of The Argus Dining Room and winner of a coveted Chef’s Hat in 2015. A new venture for David, he likes to keep things simple here; smart contemporary food making use of the regions’ abundant produce. Menus change regularly to showcase seasonal fare and the menu is complemented by a small, but dynamic wine list. Space is limited so bookings are recommended.
6. Enjoy a Night Out at The Palais
The grand old dame of Hepburn Springs has recently been given a new lease on life and has reopened following a full restoration. Since 1926, the Palais has been welcoming musicians and performers from around the world to entertain audiences in beautiful art deco surrounds. Over the years it has been a dance hall, a movie theatre and even an ice-creamery, but today it returns to its roots as one of Victoria’s premier regional music venues. Maintaining many of its original features, including the mosaic-tiled entrance, it has been sympathetically restored to its former glory with a modern twist on art deco glamour. Be sure to drop in for a drink or take in an act at The Palais on your next visit. It’s a great way to end your day in Hepburn Springs.