First celebrated in 1997, ChillOut, Australia’s largest and longest-running country queer festival, is held every March over the Victorian Labour Day long weekend. The not-for-profit festival takes place in Daylesford, regional Victoria’s LGBTI capital and features the ChillOut Parade, the Country Pride Cake Bake-Off, Carnival Day, musical performances, comedy nights, film screenings, networking events and more all within a down-to-earth atmosphere.
While not associated with the mineral water company, Mount Franklin is an extinct volcanic crater that erupted approximately 470,000 years ago. Located seven kilometers north of Hepburn Springs, the reserve is a popular camping ground (no fees apply) with basic facilities and a picnic ground with and fire pits. There is also a steep 500 meter walk up to the summit which delivers scenic views from the top.
The Victorian heritage listed Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve is a 30-hectare recreational reserve dating back to 1865 making it the oldest of its kind in Australia. The reserve contains several mineral springs including Soda, Sulphur, Locarno and Wyuna Springs as well as the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. There are also walking trails picnic areas with barbeques and the Pavilion Café.
Established in 1859, the Old Macaroni Factory is the oldest Italian building in Australia. Run by the descendants of the founding Lucini family, the heritage listed building features fresco paintings which depict Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy and were completed between 1862 and 1864 by Giacomo Lucini. Today, the family offers tours that provide insights into the building’s history and art. Additionally, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the premises.
Old Macaroni Factory 64 Main Rd, Hepburn Springs VIC Australia, +61 3 5348 4345
Built in the early 1930s within the natural basin of Spring Creek, Old Hepburn Pool was an early competition pool in Victoria. Located within the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, the pool is heritage listed by the National Trust for its ‘historical and social importance as a rare, intact, surviving example of a community swimming facility created from a natural feature.’ The pool closed in 1969 and although refurbished in 1994, swimming is now prohibited; however, the area is still open to view.
Set to celebrate their 25th anniversary this October, the Swiss Italian Festa celebrates the connection Swiss and Italian settlers have with the cultural heritage of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford. Over five days from October 18–22, the festa showcases a wide program of events including the Grand Parade, Swiss Italian Legacies Walk, traditional skill demonstrations, exhibitions, Lavandula’s Swiss Italian Dinner and the spectacular Lantern Parade and Fireworks finale.
Passing abandoned goldfields and mineral springs, the Tipperary Walking Track is a 16 kilometre hike between Lake Daylesford and the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve. Starting at Lake Daylesford car park, the narrow trail follows Sailors Creek and Spring Creek gently undulating through foothill forest. Along the way, you’ll pass The Twin Bridges, The Blowhole, Breakneck Gorge and Jacksons Lookout. The hike takes about five to six hours.
Saddle up at Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides where no matter your ability you can enjoy the scenic views around Mount Prospect on horseback. Once you’ve been paired with a horse who corresponds with your needs and ability, you’ll set out on a country adventure. Afterwards, riders can relax at The Tack Room for a drink and a meal by the fire. Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides offers various experiences dependent on experience level.
Hepburn Lagoon Trail Rides 60 Telegraph Rd, Newlyn North VIC Australia, +61 3 0408 059 125
At Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat not only can you rejuvenate your body with one of their luxurious treatments but you can also indulge your palette with a meal from The Argus Dining Room. Championing local, regional produce, the restaurant prepares modern Australian cuisine with a seasonal menu accompanied by a 475 strong wine list. The Argus is set within the original 1930’s Art Deco dining room and is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The Argus Dining Room 124 Main Road Hepburn Springs, VIC, Australia, +61 3 5348 4199
Named after two sailors who discovered gold in the area, Sailors Falls is a 20 meter waterfall fed by Sailors Creek. The falls can be viewed from the picnic area as well as from the base via a series of steps. The Lower Sailors Falls hike is also worth exploring. The loop is four kilometres starting from Telegraph Road and is best taken in an anti-clockwise direction to avoid a steep finish.