Explore the heart of
Heathcote this autumn

Pumpkin spice season is upon us, which can only mean one thing – it’s time to hit the open road for autumn’s vibrant display.

And where better to enjoy the crimson and cosiness than in Heathcote? Nestled in the heart of Victoria, the region is teeming with natural beauty, culinary delights – and Shiraz.

Let’s explore the top spots to see, taste and experience the essence of Heathcote this autumn.

Pink Cliffs Reserve

First up – the Pink Cliffs Reserve. Tucked in the outskirts of Heathcote, these soft-hued cliffs are an unmissable sight. 

Formed through gold mining activities in the 19th century, the cliffs have an otherworldliness about them – and stand as a testament to a bygone era. The surrounding trails are easy to navigate, too, making it a perfect outing for nature enthusiasts of all ages. 

Don’t forget to bring your camera – the cliff’s unique colour palette at different times of the day provides the perfect photo backdrop.

Valley of Liquid Ambers

Aptly titled, the Valley of Liquid Ambers is the ultimate spot to witness autumn’s canvas.

A hidden gem within Heathcote, the valley is famous for its vibrant display of autumn leaves. The golden hues of the liquid amber trees create a warm and inviting atmosphere – perfect for leisurely walks and picnics under the canopy. 

It’s a peaceful retreat to immerse yourself in the season’s beauty – and find a moment of tranquillity on your getaway.

Silver Spoon Estate

For those who appreciate the finer things in life, the Silver Spoon Estate is a must-visit. 

This boutique winery, right in the heart of the Heathcote wine region, is renowned for its exceptional wines and just-as-exceptional menu. The estate offers an intimate wine-tasting experience where you can savour the complex flavours of their award-winning Shiraz,
Viognier and more.

Pair your tasting with a selection of gourmet dishes that showcase the local produce, and you have the perfect recipe for an unforgettable gastronomic adventure. 

In Good Spirits Distillery 

Heathcote’s spirit scene is alive and well at the In Good Spirits Distillery

This local distillery – housed at Domaine Asmara Vineyard – opens its doors to those eager to dive deeper into the craft of spirit making. The tasting and meet-the-distiller experience provides a unique opportunity to learn about the distillation process, from selecting ingredients to bottling the final product. 

Guests can sample a range of spirits, each with its own distinctive character, and hear the stories behind their creations. It’s a personal and engaging day out – sure to leave you in good spirits!

Heathcote Wine Hub 

Want to try – and buy – all of Heathcote’s famed Cambrian wines but don’t have the time to visit each vineyard? The good people behind Heathcote Wine Hub have you sorted. 

This wine lover’s paradise offers an unparalleled selection of over 200 Heathcote wines, making it the ideal place to taste and purchase the finest wines the region has to offer. 

The knowledgeable staff are on hand to guide you through the tasting experience, helping you discover new favourites and learn about the unique qualities of Heathcote terroir. Whether you’re a seasoned wine aficionado or new to the world of wine, the Heathcote Wine Hub promises an epic exploration of local viticulture.

The O’Keefe Challenge

Fancy a day of exercise in Heathcote’s sublime countryside? Then mark your calendars for 19 – 21 April 2024, as The O’Keefe Challenge offers an exhilarating opportunity to experience the best of Heathcote’s bushlands, fields and lakes. 

This annual event isn’t just a race – it’s a celebration of community, endurance and the region’s bounty. Whether you fancy completing a marathon, half-marathon, walking event or cycling race – there’s a challenge for everyone.

Athletes of all levels are welcomed, from seasoned runners to families looking for a fun and active day out. The trail winds through the countryside, past historical sites and alongside Lake Eppalock. It’s a standout event in the Heathcote calendar.

The Watering Hole

Feel the pulse of Heathcote’s community over a locally grown dinner at the Watering Hole. Here, the focus is bringing people together over great food, refreshing drinks and ripper entertainment. 

The menu is designed to share – think charcuterie boards, pod luck dips and other nibbles. And on weekend nights, you’ll be treated to a themed menu. Fridays are BBQ, and Saturdays are baked potatoes.

With a suite of gigs booked monthly, there’s always a new reason to visit. And ample more reasons to stay.

The Yellow Box Wood

After all this adventuring, you’re going to need a cosy spot to rest your head. And we highly recommend the Yellow Box Wood

The ultimate glamping getaway, the Yellow Box Wood features two large, luxurious safari-style glamping tents – set in 100 acres of natural bush. Every amenity is tastefully designed in a rustic finish, and there are plenty of yellow box trees for privacy. You don’t need to worry about your carbon footprint either, as both tents are off-grid and sustainably crafted.

To ensure you get a good night’s rest, pop down to the nearby mineral salt swimming pool and take a dip. Then, meander back through the bushland to your slice of paradise.

You’ll leave feeling rested, rejuvenated and – most of all – connected to nature.

Ready to head to Heathcote? Visit the region’s official website for the complete guide.

Grampians Edge Caravan Park

As we travel further and deeper into regional Victoria, we quickly realise each region has young upcoming go-getter representatives. For the town of Dadswells Bridge, the designated go-getters are Katey and Dale Exon, the managers of Grampians Edge Caravan Park.

Dale and Katey became managers of Grampians Edge Caravan Park in 2022, after getting a taste for hosting guests in a tiny home that was located on their own property nearby. The successful partnership formed with ‘Tiny Away, Australia’ through this property has continued in this new location with tiny homes of varying configurations installed amongst the existing camping sites and cabins.

The tiny homes really are a work of wonder. That something so compact can also be so luxurious is cause to reconsider the nature of high-end accommodation. There are nine of these tiny homes in the park presently, including one two-bedroom cabin with a loft. All have an ensuite, split system air conditioning and a kitchenette. Many of the original cabins have also received a makeover recently and for those who prefer to bring their own accommodation, the campsites throughout the park are of a generous size.

The park was founded in the 1970s by Cleve Krause, who had a vision for attracting guests to this idyllic bushland environment with views across the Grampians/Gariwerd ranges. The site is just walking distance to the town of Dadswells Bridge for supplies, takeaway food and even an Indian restaurant.

Between the park and town is the Mt. William Creek Nature Trail, an easy 1 hr loop through the beautiful grass woodlands that curb Mount William Creek. It’s a haven for wildflowers at the start of spring and if you are very lucky, a chance to see a platypus in its natural environment.

The park is the perfect home base for exploring the entire region. Situated on the northern edge of the Grampians National Park, it is a short drive to the magnificent lookouts, hiking trails and waterfalls across the ranges. The starting point for the Silo Art Trail is just a 30min drive away and the internationally recognised wineries of the Pyrenees region are very accessible for the willing designated driver.

Thank goodness for go-getters like Dale and Katey who can deliver such a high-end accommodation experience in a natural bushland for us all to escape to.

Learn more about the region here.

Bookings now open for Gippsland’s newest hot springs

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

Victoria’s much-anticipated Metung Hot Springs is officially opening this month, with bookings now welcome for those seeking a healing getaway characterised by serenity, luxury and tranquillity.

Set on 10 hectares of natural undulating land overlooking the magnificent Gippsland Lakes, this new wellness destination (the sister springs to the Peninsula Hot Springs) is set to welcome its very first guests on October 29.

Featuring geothermal mineral bathing, spa and massage treatments, and its very own glamping tents, Metung is a premium health and wellness experience that aims to refresh, rejuvenate and revitalise guests amidst the panoramic vistas that the Gippsland region affords.

Boasting a bathing valley with seven pools as well as a hilltop escarpment including cold plunge tub, stargazing pool and individual bathing barrels, the venue will have guests in awe at its natural surrounds and luxurious offerings.

A range of bathing, spa and accommodation packages are now available to choose from, including unique glamping lagoon-side and hillside options. Make sure to visit the website to find out all the information, and get set for a luxury escape nestled within Gippsland’s warming surrounds.


WHAT: Metung Hot Springs
WHEN: Opening October 29
BOOKINGS: Metung Hot Springs

We wish to acknowledge the Gunaikurnai people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

All Aboard: Sleep in a Converted 1930s Melbourne Tram

Words by Gwen O'Toole
Images supplied

A few years ago, the Victorian Government decided to find homes for 134 1930s – style retired tram cars, decommissioned in the 90s. Two of these went to the Big4 Yarra Valley Park Lane in Healesville and have since undergone a super luxe transformation to become some pretty swish accommodation for up to eight.

Each tram offers a king-sized bedroom, a double bedroom, and bunk beds all with their own private ensuites, a full kitchen and a luxury private spa bath.

Shaking off the dated childhood memories of old-school caravan parks, the two new additions are now accepting bookings. Big4 Yarra Valley Park Lane has made a lot of changes including upgrades to facilities to include tiny-house style glamping pods, glammed-up luxury cabins with gas fireplaces and these luxury refurbished tramcars to appeal to a whole new style of traveller.

“Many people have no idea the extent of our options for their next trip,” said Big4 Yarra Valley’s operations manager Michael Boyd.

“We have everything from glamping pods to superior cabins to our new tram accommodation and can find something to suit just about any holiday need.”

We love seeing people rediscover holiday parks and learn to expect the unexpected from their next visit.

The retro beauties are perfect for families with teens and children or a group of friends and include a full kitchen, lounge with 75″ TV, included laundry facilities as well as an outdoor deck with BBQ, a private outdoor wood-fired hot tub as well as access to all the amenities within the park such as games rooms, playgrounds with skate ramp, a firepit, swimming pool, tennis court and more.

Healesville also offers a huge range of options for enjoying an incredible stay in the Yarra Valley.


What: Caravan & Accommodation options
Where: BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park, 419 Don Road, Healesville
When: Now
More Info: Big4 Yarra Valley Park Lane

We wish to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Ballarat’s new romantic retreat by the dam side

Words By Della Vreeland
Images by Nikole Ramsay

The duo behind the highly-coveted Pyrenees accommodation space Grayling’s Gift has opened up its second unique venture – this time in the form of a van, by a dam.

Aptly called Jean-Claude, the vintage caravan is nestled among the gumtrees and overlooks the serene acreage located on the owners’ secluded property.

Jean-Claude co-owner Annie Brereton says she and her husband Shane decided to take on the project after witnessing the incredible success of Grayling’s Gift, particularly following the onset of the health pandemic.

‘We soon realised experiences that provided people with much more than a bed were going to be needed in our new normal,’ Annie says.

‘COVID has made us all evaluate our lives to various degrees, and for us, it meant committing fully to providing people with inspirational places where they could take a real break from the busyness and mess of everyday life.’

Annie and Shane made the move from Melbourne to Ballarat in order to fully commit to their aforementioned business aim.

During their search for somewhere to live, they made sure to purchase a property that could also house another accommodation offering.

‘We had stumbled across this beautiful, but very unkempt, parcel of Australian bush just 10 minutes from the heart of Ballarat,’ Annie says. ‘The house needs a major renovation and the acreage had been let go, but we had a vision for something special on the little dam.’

And so Jean-Claude was born – a lovingly-restored 1970s caravan perfect for a much-needed romantic getaway.

The van boasts a king-size bed dressed in luxurious French linen and includes a cosy nook for reading.

The van’s outdoor shack houses a toilet and warming shower, plus a covered area for food preparation and washing-up, as well as a small bar fridge, esky and BBQ – allowing guests to truly appreciate their natural surroundings by the glistening water.

In true Annie and Shane style, much of the decor and furnishings have been sourced second-hand and from vintage sellers, adding to the overall allure of the space.

‘Our vision is to create an experience unlike any other,’ Annie says. ‘I like to refer to it as old-fashioned hospitality combined with modern luxury.

‘Gone are the 1000-count cotton sheets and sterile hotel styling. Ours is a more welcoming, but no less luxurious offering, that strives to make each and every guest feel like they are being wrapped in a giant hug from the moment they enter any of our properties.  Spaces to reflect, reconnect and wonder.’

Just recently, Annie and Shane rebranded their business from Grayling’s Gift to the Wonder Inns in order to accurately represent their vision and ever-expanding accommodation offerings.

‘We have plans for further expansion and this will enable us to keep growing,’ Annie says.

‘Next year we embark on the renovation of a little city apartment above a shop in the Main Street of Ballarat.  Our properties are all very different from one another but are all designed to offer the same opportunity for couples to come and reconnect amongst unique, inspiring settings.

‘We are striving to create something so far removed from home in order to give our guests the opportunity to dream their own dreams and hopefully return home inspired to take action.’

WHAT: Jean-Claude
WHERE: Mount Helen, Ballarat
FIND OUT MORE: wonderinns.com.au

We wish to acknowledge the Wadawurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Sleep under the stars at Daylesford’s new Skyview Bubble Tent

Images Supplied

For even the most ardent camping lovers, winter can spell an unavoidable abstinence from the great outdoors. Our state’s chaotic weather doesn’t make for the most reliable holiday destination. But rest assured there is a way to experience the total immersion with nature camping brings, without the soggy socks and ice-cold nights. May we introduce Daylesford’s newest glamping accommodation sure to quench that thirst?

Meet the Skyview Bubble Tent, one of regional Victoria’s most unique getaway accommodations, nestled right on the edge of Wombat State Park in Daylesford. Brought to life by local couple Anita and Richard Payne, the new luxury stay has been fitted with all the finest details to make your camping experience one to remember.

The clear circular roof gives you almost 360-degree views of the surrounding woodland where you will likely see several kangaroos hopping past, or maybe even one of the alpaca’s the pair keep on their farm. And of course, the magic of thousands of stars at night, completely uninterrupted by nearby lights.

After discovering the bubble tent phenomenon in Europe, Anita and Richard set the wheels in motion to create Victoria’s first one a couple of years ago. Much evolution has seen the tent transform into a fully equipped getaway experience. Inside there is a Queen-sized bed with luxury linen, beanbags to squish into and tea and coffee facilities to get you really cosy. While the outdoor area features a wooden deck with a log fire (and pizza oven) and gas BBQ, outdoor shower, kitchen facilities, cantilevered umbrella with fairy lights and even a bush hammock to soak it all up.

“Our intention was to give people a sense of seclusion and privacy… and it’s just been fun putting it all together,” Anita says. “It really is just a magical experience in the Aussie bush.”

So pack your winter woollies (or your hat if you’re booking ahead) and your adventurous spirit, the Skyview Bubble Tent is ready to greet you.

WHAT: Skyview Bubble Tent
WHERE: 162 Brandy Hot Road, Eganstown
WHEN: Check website for availability
MORE INFO: Bookings via Dayget Daylesford

Glamping and 24/7 bathing now happening at Peninsula Hot Springs

Images Supplied

Date night just levelled up.

In news that is sure to delight both lovers and lovers of relaxation across the state, the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs is bringing us two very indulgent experiences this year; 24/7 bathing and luxury glamping.

Back after their Covid-induced hibernation, the baths are geared up to bring patrons the ultimate post-lockdown rejuvenation. Say goodbye to stiff limbs and hello to mineral-rich soaking with their new offerings.

The steamy destination, which underwent a $13-million expansion in 2018, has introduced 10 luxury glamping tents throughout the site, each one slightly different to the next. But every one takes comfort to the nines with thermally-heated concrete floors, king beds fitted with luxury linen, generous bathrooms and a private deck.

Not only will guests be able to enjoy the spoils of their heavenly accom, but the experience also includes round-the-clock access to the geothermal mineral pools, so if you fancy a midnight dip, just throw on a bathrobe and head on out. In the morning, breakfast will be served in the Spa Dreaming Centre Dining room — all inclusive of course.

You don’t need to be a glamper to soak under the stars, however; 24/7 bathing is available for those who don’t mind entering after 11pm. Just imagine you and your chosen other under the soothing expanse of stars listening to the late-night hum of crickets… We’re getting relaxed just thinking about it.

It goes without saying that the Peninsula Hot Springs are Mornington’s number one destination for indulgence. Whether you want to bathe, indulge in a spa treatment, join in on wellness activities or practice yoga and meditation, the Springs have got you covered. With the new night-time sessions, you may never want to leave.

Packages for glamping start at $650 per night for two people. 

WHAT: Overnight glamping at Peninsula Hot Springs
WHERE: 140 Springs lane, Fingal
WHEN: Bookings available now
MORE INFO: Peninsula Hot Springs


Falls to Hotham hike gets eco-glamping upgrade

Images Supplied

The popular Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing hike has had a summer upgrade with an unforgettable tree-top experience.

Alpine Nature Experience has organised an all-inclusive hike from Falls Creek to Mount Hotham that lets you enjoy the popular picturesque hike, but maximises comfort at the same time.

The night before you head off on your hike, you’ll be treated to a night in luxury accommodation – and the luxe treatment continues from here. The next morning, not only will you be transported to the starting point of the hike, there’s also no need to carry your pack or a tent; all your belongings will be transported between sites for you, so you’ll just need to carry a light day pack.

When you arrive at Blair’s Hut Campground for the night, not only is the campsite set up, but dinner will also be ready for you. But this is no ordinary campsite; Alpine Nature Experience will hoist your tent off the ground and between the trees, offering a truly unique camping experience. For dinner, locally-sourced meals will be provided, and other locally-sourced snacks will also be on offer throughout the hike.

The next morning, your belongings will be transported back for you, and you can enjoy a post-hike night back in your luxurious accommodation.

The all-inclusive two-day hike can be self-guided or you also have the option of booking an experienced guide to help you along the way. You can also add return transport to and from Melbourne if you’d like.

To ensure you can fully enjoy the experience, numbers are strictly restricted to just 10 people at a time, and dates are also limited.


WHAT: Falls To Hotham Crossing – All inclusive Curated Hike
WHERE: Falls to Hotham Crossing
WHEN: Selected dates only from January to March.
FIND OUT MORE: alpinenatureexperience.com.au/summer-bookings

A fleet of airstreams rolls into Mitchelton

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There’ll be more than just Prosecco sparkling at Mitchelton this summer. The Nagambie winery has expanded its accommodation offering, with a fleet of seven Airstream RVs.

Seven of the vintage-style American caravans, known for their distinctive rounded shape and polished aluminium finish, have rolled into Mitchelton to adorn the Estate and offer a unique, year-round accommodation option for guests.

Continuing with the caravanning theme, the Airstreams each have their own deck area with a barbecue so you can whip up some bacon and eggs to have alongside a bottle of Mitchelton sparkling for a DIY proseccie-breakie. Each morning you’ll find a premium breakfast hamper delivered to your door and if you’re in need of a snack, the dry minibar is included.

Mitchelton’s Airstreams are just a short walk from the winery’s existing accommodation, the Mitchelton Hotel, and Airstream guests will also have access to the rest of the facilities including the pool, gym, day spa and Australia’s largest commercial gallery dedicated to Indigenous art.

When it comes to dinner options, you won’t have to go far, with the on-site restaurant, The Muse, offering a menu that favours local, sustainable and ethically farmed ingredients, to be enjoyed alongside a glass or two of wine from Mitchelton’s awarded cellar.

Martin Garrett, Mitchelton Hotel General Manager, said, “Mitchelton isn’t just a winery – we have an incredible Estate in the heart of the Nagambie region which is ripe for exploring. The Mitchelton Airstream Hotel can help do just that – take our guests into the heart of nature for an experience like no other.

WHAT: Mitchelton Airstream Hotel
WHERE: 470 Mitchellstown Rd, Nagambie
WHEN: Coming soon
MORE INFO: Mitchelton Airstream Hotel