It might have been on my second pinot while gazing from my balcony over the little township of Hepburn Springs on an autumnal Friday evening that I realised fully why so many people from Melbourne have moved here. It is a stunning part of Victoria, and just an hour-and-a-half’s drive away.
- Watch Alice in Frames explore the Yarra Valley
- Hit the highway for a winter escape to Port Fairy
- Top 5 winter weekend escapes in Victoria
We’ve visited Hepburn because we’ve heard this little hamlet is punching above its weight in what’s on offer for tired and hungry Melburnians.
We know all about the beautiful and justifiably celebrated Daylesford just three kilometres up the road. But what of the little sister town?
After a great couple of nights we drove home – picking up potatoes from a side-of-the-road vendor on the way – with a new-found affection for this beautiful little spa town.
It’s well worth finding that spare weekend to come for a visit. It’s a treat.
Hepburn Springs is 1½ hours (116 kilometres) from Melbourne via the Calder Highway (M79).
Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa
- Mineral Springs Crescent, Hepburn Springs
- 5321 6000
Drop in to the famous retreat and take a moment for yourself. Pad around in your white bathrobe and slippers before you are assigned your masseuse.
Short of actually being unconscious, this is the most relaxed I’ve been for a long time. And my sore hammies from kicking the football – without warming up – seem to have been healed!
Afterwards join the other blissed-out types for a tea in the communal area. Highly recommended.
- 7 Lakeside Drive, Hepburn Springs.
- 5348 2030
We spend our first night at Shizuka Ryokan, a Japanese guesthouse. Walking through the immaculate Japanese garden to our minimalist room, which features tatami matting, shoji rice paper sliding screens and decorative tokonoma alcoves, I haven’t felt this close to Japanese life since a trip to Tokyo in 1987.
Breakfast is traditional – a tray of teriyaki salmon, Japanese-style omelette and a mountain peach.
Hepburn Spa Retreat
The address says it all. This excellently appointed villa–one of nine on the property – sits virtually overlooking the famous Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, so it’s a quick post-treatment walk home.
Our room features a bed cozily sitting behind a wall with a fire, but it’s still open-plan. In our room there’s a large bathtub on one side and a kitchen on the other.
There’s something about sitting in a deep bath while looking at trees. Works for me, anyway. It’s a credit to the room that the stylish design entices you to stay in and relax, considering how tempting it is to explore the town.
The Argus Dining Room
- 124 Main Road, Hepburn Springs.
- 5348 4199
Eating is a big deal in Hepburn. We enjoyed an exceptional dinner at this multi-award winning restaurant within Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat.
Offering a more formal dining experience in a country setting, The Argus has been awarded one hat by The Age Good Food Guide and has featured in Gourmet Traveller’s Top 100 Restaurants. It’s open seven days a week for dinner and lunch.
The Grande Hotel
- 1 Church Avenue, Hepburn Springs.
- 5348 1978
With its verandah, deck and olde-world charm, the elegant Grande Hotel is a step back to the 1920s, except that the food is modern – it received strong praise in the 2015 The Age Good Food Guide.
In the art deco dining room sits a white baby grand piano, a hint of the musical acts the hotel puts on for weekend punters. On Sundays they offer an “Asian feast” and on Monday it’s “locals night”, and
if you’re staying on it’s $38 for two courses including a glass of wine or beer and $47 for three courses and a glass. downstairs on a Friday night is the Cabaret Club featuring cabaret performances. Great fun.
Words in Winter August 2016
This annual local literary festival will run from August 5-7 this year, featuring local and imported performers, story tellers, authors, music, theatre comedy, workshop talks, poetry and exhibitions.
Peter Wilmoth visited Hepburn Springs courtesy of the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges Regional Tourism Board.