New hot spring villas offer perfect setting to ‘relax and recharge’ – Sydney Morning Herald

The place

Hepburn Spa Retreat Wellness Villas, Hepburn Springs, Victoria

Hepburn's standalone Wellness Villas.

Hepburn’s standalone Wellness Villas.

Check in

Central Victoria is positively brimming with good minerals and they surface at Hepburn Springs, a few minutes past Daylesford, and about a 90 minute drive from Melbourne. Among the early European settlers were Swiss and Italian adventurers who had some knowledge of the healing powers of the mineral springs, and soon took advantage of them here. The bathhouse has been transformed and offers a variety of spa, wellness and beauty treatments. Reception is in the main Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa with the villas across the road.

The Bathhouse and Spa has been transformed and offers a variety of spa, wellness and beauty treatments.

The Bathhouse and Spa has been transformed and offers a variety of spa, wellness and beauty treatments.

The look

There are clusters of detached villas here, surrounded by shrubbery and some European trees for fall colours. It’s somewhat serene with a natural feel, helped by the park-like condition in which you’ll find the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve. And in that reserve is the bathhouse building, rebuilt and reopened in 2008, as well as the World Heritage-listed 1908 Hepburn Pavilion, with its vaulted ceilings and tiled floors.


Set the mood with a selection of essential oils as you enter your villa: ‘Rest easy’ to melt away stress or ‘Revive’ to aid recovery. I had chosen Rest Easy and that went hand in hand with the neutral and natural interior tones. For a little more relaxation and recovery, there’s a massive spa bath and body scrubs, bath toners, and bath salts to go along with it. The villa is a generous 75 square meters, with the space enhanced by gabled roofs and lots of glass. Still, they pack a lot: in addition to the bathroom, there’s a double shower and separate toilet, a kitchen with a dining table, a living room with a heater, and a big-screen TV. The bed rises up into its own area, so it also gets the views (and another TV). There is also a balcony that overlooks the bush beyond.

Interior of one of the villas.

Interior of one of the villas.

food + drink

Frank and Connie’s Kitchen is just up the road in Hepburn Springs – a casual restaurant serving great food. There is more on offer in Daylesford, from the excellent food of Lake House to the more earthy Farmers Arms Hotel and Cliffy’s Emporium. Plenty of fresh food outlets in Hepburn Springs and Daylesford, if you want to use the kitchen and cook for yourself. I have a welcome pack and breakfast pack as part of the package, with some local bread, butter, granola and juices, and there are enough varieties of tea in the bank to stock Fortnum & Mason. There is also a small cafe in the Bathhouse Pavilion for light meals and afternoon tea (the Devonshire kind).

out + over

If you are here for the treatments and to treat yourself, then you don’t have to go far. Head across the street to the Bathhouse and choose from its menu of massages, beauty and wellness treatments, or simply soak in the mineral pools. There’s a big one for general admission ($55 for 90 minutes, less for kids and seniors), or you can upgrade to the “Sanctuary” ($110) with its steam room, spa couches, cooling pool, and more. There are also some walking trails around the grounds – grab a cup or your bottle of water for a taste of the various springs along the way.

On the sofas of the spa inside the Sanctuary.

On the sofas of the spa inside the Sanctuary.

The verdict

A perfect setting and location for relaxation and rejuvenation with the themed villas with bathhouse and spa.


Villas start at $489 a night with a 10 percent reduction when booked for three or more nights. Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs, Vic. Phone: (03) 8727 8901; see

Our rating of five


Stand out

I visit for a couple of rainy winter days and the villa sparkles, as does a bath in the bathhouse.

Low light

Most of the technology in the room is simple, but the iPad, which comes with yoga and meditation apps, isn’t about to be awakened from its trance.

The writer was a guest of Hepburn Spa Retreat.

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Jim Darby is a Senior Producer for Traveler and the author of White Gold, a history of Australia in winter sports.Connect via Twitter or email.

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