A spring time tour of Manningham

Recently the team at One Hour Out were invited to explore Manningham in the north-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. What we found was an incredibly diverse mix of residential suburbs and verdant riverside parklands.

The region includes some of Victoria’s most engaging art experiences and the eclectic mix of cafes, restaurants and boutique shopping is second to none. The northern edge of Manningham is marked by the Yarra River that winds its way down from the Yarra Valley towards the city, with endless walking trails, picnic locations and playgrounds.

Come and join us as we explore this outstanding region.

Beechworth’s old-fashioned soda bar with a cheeky hidden secret

Words by Gwen O'Toole
Images supplied

Bringing back the nostalgia of the local soda bar serving up your favourite ice cream spiders, sodas and milkshakes, Billson’s Soda Bar in the Victorian High Country region of Beechworth is hiding a cheeky secret only accessible with a password.

Soda Bar

What was once a printing press has been transformed into Billson’s Soda Bar, an old-fashioned experience where a bartender serves up all your favourite Billson’s cordials from a selection far beyond what you’ll find in your local supermarket.

The enormous range of cordials is created just a short stroll away at the historic Billson’s Beechworth brewery where pure spring water, filtered through Beechworth granite helps create handcrafted beer, small batch gins and liqueur, a range of cordials including flavours both traditional and not-so-traditional such as Cloves and Peppermint, Pine Lime and Grape Bubblegum, sodas and the hugely popular premixed spirit drinks.

The brewery itself is well worth the visit for the opportunity to take the popular tour and learn about the brewery’s fascinating history and visit their tasting room and taste every drink they make, for free. You can also order from their casual dining menu, or treat your dog to a day out in the beer garden. And while these things alone make the road trip well worth the journey, it’s the Soda Bar’s cheeky cocktail lounge hidden behind a cool room door that’s certain to delight.

Beechworth Bar

Accessible by adults only using the password, (hint: it’s hidden somewhere on their website) the elegant Isabella’s Cocktail Bar is named for the enterprising woman behind the Billson’s name. She and her husband George travelled from England to California and Bendigo in search of gold in the 1850s and began a legacy in Beechworth by building a brewery and brand that has carried through the years.

While you’re visiting, try their signature 50/50 cocktail. Called “a gentle approach to a classic martini” it uses the signature small batch Isabella’s Gin, aged for three months in muscat barrels and sold exclusively at Billson’s cellar door in Beechworth.

Pop in for a cheeky cocktail or book reservations to enjoy dinner courtesy of Chef Douglas Elder’s seasonal menu designed to pair with the drinks list. You’ll also discover a wine inspired by the surrounding King Valley and Rutherglen regions.

High Country Restaurant

The recently launched Billson’s Cocktail Class, is an immersive hands-on two-hour session where groups of up to 10 are taken through the fundamental techniques of shaking, stirring and of course, sipping various spirits, flavours and garnishes. Led by Billson’s own bartenders, you’ll create three fabulous cocktails using your new skills, paired with canapes and cheeses. Afterwards, you’ll want to stock up on cordials to re-create these delicious beauties at home.

Held on Sunday afternoons and priced at $89 per person, it’s also a great group activity that can be booked privately for a special celebration such as hen’s parties, birthdays and corporate events. Don’t drink? Book a $79 ticket and learn how to whip up some incredibly delicious mocktails.  

Beechworth is a three-hour drive from the Melbourne CBD via the M31 Hume Freeway. Take the Great Alpine Road B500 to Tarrawingee and the C315 to Beechworth.


What: Isabella’s at Billson’s Soda Bar
When: Open 12 pm – 10 pm, Thursday to Monday, Cocktail classes are Sundays or by private booking
Where: 37 Camp Street, Beechworth, VIC, 3747
More Info: Billsons

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

How many of these hidden Nillumbik Shire gems do you know?

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Baldessin Studio

Baldessin StudioHidden away in the Red Stringybark forests behind the town of St Andrews, is one of Victoria’s most significant printmaking studios. The solid timber and stone studio was hand-built by acclaimed printmaker George Baldessin in the 1970s and is now managed as a not-for-profit artists’ studio by George’s widow Tess and a small team of passionate artists.

The studio opens to the public only a few times of the year, including the Nillumbik Open Studios (not participating in 2023), small-group workshops and courses and Printmaker’s Picnic at the end of each year.

Check their website for upcoming dates.


Eltham BarEntering the doors of Naught Distilling is a real surprise to the senses. Sitting at the end of a long driveway in Eltham industrial estate, one would expect to find a light and bright working distillery with perhaps some timber bench seats and a tasting bar.

Instead, visitors are greeted with a low-lit sensual interior with velvet curtains, small leather booths and an extraordinary display of hanging floral arrangements and spot-lit oil paintings.

The gins range from the Classic Dry Gin to the more adventurous Sangiovese that is combined with grapes from the Yarra Valley. We highly recommend taking a seat on the green velvet barstools and ordering a cocktail flight and a few morsels from the snack-based menu.

Make a booking here.

Diamond Creek Murals

Diamond Creek MuralsThere’s nothing like the feeling of turning a corner and being engulfed by the sight of large-scale art in a place where art (in theory) has no place to be.

That’s the feeling as you head around the back of the Diamond Creek main street to the car park off George St. These large 20-metre works by local artists are all very different in style and turn an everyday car park into a gallery amphitheatre.

‘Run Time Error’ by street artist Itch is like a surrealist storybook scene featuring an elderly man just moments from stepping on the computer delete button. ‘Silly’ Sulley blends fluorescent aerosol colours to form a loving dingo family. And Mark “Meataxe” Taylor brings us a landscape image of a young girl in a field that becomes almost abstract when taking in the work up close.

Now you know exactly where to park the next time you are in Diamond Creek.

Queenstown Cemetery

St Andrews AttractionsBack in the gold rush era of the 1850s the town of St Andrews was actually called Queenstown, and a cemetery was created on the edge of Smiths Gully to service the community. There is no existing map or plan of the cemetery and it has been left to future generations to slowly mark out the 380 burials at this site.

The earliest graves appear to be for the Chinese miners who were often buried here along with other itinerant workers in unmarked graves. It’s a hauntingly beautiful place to walk amongst the grave markings that vary from a simple outline of stone to more contemporary engraved stone monuments.

The names engraved on the tombstones are familiar to the local community as many of the descendants of these hardworking miners still live within the region.

Click here for directions.

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

Our guide to the best of West Gippsland that’ll have you loving it as much as a local

Words by Gwen O'Toole
Images supplied

Full of small communities with big hearts and naturally beautiful stretches of farmland, forest walks, waterfalls and locally-made gourmet food and wine, the West Gippsland region is full of incredible experiences.

Pack up the car for an unforgettable adventure. Here’s our guide to some of the best local experiences.

Where to Eat

Eating Out West GippslandFor the last 100 years or more, the region has been predominantly used for dairy production making it a natural evolution to become a tasty destination for cheeses, locally grown produce and winemakers. All this equates to gourmet goods and chefs utilising some of the finest hyper-local ingredients.

Keen on something a little fancy? The hatted Hoggett Kitchen in Warragul specialises in nose-to-tail dining where you can enjoy a wide array of the region’s best produce in one location with views that are equally as special. The decked dining area at Brandy Creek Estate offers a quiet place for a drink and a bite with equally impressive views.

If it’s the casual fare you’re after, Frankies is a local fave amid brunchers with killer coffee, fresh breakfast rolls, toasties and more. If the timing is right, hit up the Warragul Farmers’ Market at Civic Park on the third Saturday of each month where you can gather up the gourmet goods from cheeses to olive oils, fresh bread and so much more to enjoy later.

Outdoor Adventures

West Gipplands WalksLace up the hiking boots, take the stairs up and walk the 21-metre-high boards of Victoria’s tallest wooden trestle bridge. Cycle or hike through gorgeous bushland on the 6-kilometre (return) Noojee Trestle Bridge Rail Trail from the town of Noojee to the Noojee Trestle Bridge. The mostly flat trail is great for families, beginners or those looking for a leisurely ride.

The walk around Toorongo Falls is pretty spectacular with places to picnic with the birdsong overhead. The 2.2 km return walk takes roughly 40 minutes but no rush, you’ll want to take your time here.

Want something more heart-pounding? Take the Blue Dirt shuttle to the top of Mount Baw Baw and mountain bike your way down. There are three difficulty levels for the three-kilometre descent; each one is nothing short of thrilling.

Melbourne’s closest downhill ski resort, Mt Baw Baw is incredibly popular during the snow season when skiers, snowboarders and snow revellers flock to the destination. Visiting during the off-peak green season offers the option of mountain biking and hiking.

History and Culture

WalhallaIt’s hard to visit and not appreciate the history and culture here, so make it a point to visit the mining town of Walhalla where you can explore the ghost towns and historic villages.

Following the discovery of a three-kilometre gold vein running through Walhalla in the 19th century, it surged to house thousands of gold seekers, but today this quiet town is home to roughly 20. Here you can learn about the life of miners, pan for gold at Stringers Creek, explore the old buildings including hotels, shops and churches as well as take a tour down into the long gold mines. Fancy a scare? The ghost tour at the old cemetery might be right up your alley.

The Walhalla Goldfields Railway also runs through some incredible scenery during the 60-minute ride crossing over several trestle bridges. If you stand on the outside platform at the front of the train, you can also get incredible photos.

Wine Down

Wineries West GippslandThis region does pinot noir pretty well, but the cool climate here means there’s much more varieties to enjoy. With a huge array of cellar doors to choose from, you won’t be stuck for options.

Make it a point to visit Ripplebrook Winery, bringing a bit of Sicily to West Gippsland. Giuseppes, the cellar door and restaurant named for the owner’s father, is open on weekends and features some seriously tasty drops that pair well with their shareable menu.

Another worthy stop is Cannibal Creek Winery. Despite the dubious name, the beautifully designed winery and cellar door (open daily) has a beautiful bar to enjoy guided tastings with a cheese and charcuterie board or an indulgent creamy pasta dish.

For those seeking a brew, Five Aces Brewing Co and Bandolier Brewing are your go-to spots for cold ones. Family-owned Bandolier Brewery’s range is inspired by breweries from around the globe, which is why you can enjoy a Belgian Blonde, a Mexican-style lager and an Irish Cream Porter all in Warragul. In Neerim South, Five Aces is also family-owned and operated, serving small-batch craft beer and a menu that pays homage to Gippsland’s quality produce. Their standard brews are always at the ready with a ‘random ace’ tap always pouring a new recipe/style to try.

No doubt this has whet your appetite to explore the region. You’ll only wonder what took you so long.

Getting There

Getting to West Gippsland is easy. From Melbourne, take the South Gippsland Highway from the Princes Highway from Dandenong. By car, the journey will have you at the gateway to West Gippsland in just under two hours and in Walhalla in roughly 2.5 hours.

Alternatively, hop on a V/Line train and make your way to Warragul in roughly the same time.

Follow this trail for the hidden breweries, distilleries and wineries of the Macedon Ranges

It’s the little wine region that could!

Macedon Ranges might not be as internationally well known as the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula regions, but its popularity is growing fast.

Throughout the month of April, local businesses will host the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival and it’s the perfect time to explore every nook and cranny of this burgeoning cold-climate region.

To help you get started, we have created a Tipple Trail – a self-guided journey to discover the huge collection of artisan distillers, breweries and cellar doors hidden throughout the region.

Plan out your trip with the map below and for more details and extra itinerary options, check out the itineraries page on the Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival website.



The Details
What: Tipple Trail – Macedon Ranges Autumn Festival
Where: Macedon Ranges
When: April 1 – 30, 2023
Getting there: Drive, Train and Shuttle
Where to stay:  Accommodation in the Macedon Ranges
More information

Born and bred Torquay brothers have traded their tools to follow their distillation dreams

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

Tucked into a Torquay business park behind the Surf Coast Highway, brothers Shaun and Leigh Bridges have used their combined trade skills to convert an industrial factory into their dream bar, cellar door, gin tasting room and function space – Flowstate Brewers and Distillery.

“It’s definitely been a slog to go from a tiny little storage unit to where we are now… but it’s been well worth it”, explains Shaun, of the 4-year journey that started when Leigh asked him, “Do you want to work for someone else your whole life and do a job you’re not really that into? Or do you want to have something you can pass on to your kids?”

With a multifaceted skill set between them including, carpentry, horticulture and brewing, the pair have a unique creativity when it comes to process, manufacture and botanical knowledge, as well as some serious qualifications, with Leigh holding a Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma of Distillation.

Working hard to refine their distillation process after moving from Alchemy in Healesville to purchasing their own still, the siblings have managed to produce two Gold Medal, award-winning gins for their Craft and Oaked and Smoked varieties, at this year’s Australian Distilled Spirit Awards.

Their majestic 300-litre copper still, affectionately named Bobby, sits pride of place overlooking the new premises, and is currently being put to work for the upcoming release of a spicy, fruity Christmas Gin, with a flavour profile best served over ice or ice cream!

This kind of innovative approach to their product, also extends to their brewing, with a saison-style, wild ferment beer currently being aged in the barrels on-site and set to be tapped within the next 6-12 months.

Add to this a collaboration with local roasters Mikro and a coffee liqueur set for release in the coming weeks, their first forays into experimenting with a unique whiskey wash and Gin Masterclasses open for bookings, it’s a wonder these two have had time to prepare for the grand opening of their venue on November 25th.

But the ambition is obvious and Shaun plainly explains, “You’ve got to do it, otherwise we’ll get left on the shelf”.

The Details

What: Cellar door, bar and function venue
Where: 17/10 Cylinders Drive, Torquay, 3228
When: November 25 and beyond
More Info: Flowstate Brewers and Distillers

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

Apollo Bay – the eternal beach getaway

Words by Richard Cornish
Images by Michael Peters, Richard Cornish, Andrew Englisch, Lauren Doolan & Jay Dillon

The waves crash endlessly on the arc of golden sand that wraps around this beautiful, bucolic working fishing village, farm hub, and holiday town. With a green backdrop of forest and pasture-cloaked hills rising from the sea, Apollo Bay is as dramatic as it is serene.

We’ve made it easy for you to plan an Apollo Bay adventure with our suggested itinerary below.

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

Making street food magic at The Laneway in Healesville

Words by Tehya Nicholas 
Images Supplied

Heather Alcock, who served homemade pies, cakes, salads and more in her bustling cafe in Healesville for twelve years has now turned her attention to something a little spicier.

Down the leafy stretch of the Maroondah Highway, when the straw-yellow fields fade into tree-lined suburbia, Alcock’s Mocha & Lime cafe stood as a faithful outpost to locals and travellers alike. She had nailed the formula of a great neighbourhood cafe: leafy location, lack of pretension, good coffee and seasonal, fresh brunches.

When Mocha & Lime was forced to close in June this year due to structural problems inside the building, a collective outcry went up from neighbourhood coffee lovers. Alcock, ever enterprising, found a new spot just up the road: an exposed-brick warehouse space with ample natural light, outdoor seating and an idyllic, sprawling garden, owned and co-occupied by her friends at Alchemy Distillery. She told us recently, “We just hit them up for this space. They’ve been asking me for ages [to do something], but I didn’t want to take on too many projects… But now, we thought we’d better jump on it.”

What’s new at this new venue surreptitiously titled The Laneway? Well, practically everything. Alcock has seized the location shift as an opportunity for a complete culinary and aesthetic redo. Where Mocha & Lime championed downtempo cafe classics in the kitchen, The Laneway slips into something a little spicier. Alcock and her team are careful to avoid strict labels early in the game, but gave us murmurs of “Mexican street food” and “South American inspired bites”. When the kitchen receives its final pieces of polished cookware and last lick of paint in the coming weeks, hungry customers can order salsa-laden nacho plates, cheesy quesadillas, and tostadas of every variety.  Alcock has been sure to uphold her passion for serving locally grown and prepared produce.

“We’ve brought in Yarra Valley Smokery pork and chicken so we will use this across a few dishes,” she explains. “Plus, we have vegan tostadas with chipotle beans.” Seems she hasn’t forgotten the plant lovers.

Among the light, bright meals, their speciality coffee is an aficionado’s delight, served with all the milky suspects you’d expect at an inner city cafe. Local beers, an array of alcoholic Mexican imports, cocktail classics, and gin and vodka-tasting paddles from neighbours Alchemy Distillery flow across the day if that’s your kind of thing.

Softly opening the third week of July for light bites and drinks, your first chance to drop by for a taste of the South American-inspired turn from Alcock is soon upon you. It may be unusual for a community favourite to curveball into a new culinary domain, but their loyal band of customers and budding newcomers are here for the swing.


WHAT: The Laneway
WHERE: 242 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville
WHEN: Open Monday, Thursday, Sunday 8am-5pm, Friday and Saturday 8am-8pm, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
MORE INFO: The Laneway

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

Kilderkin Distillery Continues Ballarat’s Distilling Legacy

Words by Amanda Kennedy
Images by Jay Dillon

With gins named Larrikin, Scoundrel, and Buccaneer, you just know Kilderkin Distillery don’t take themselves too seriously. The Ballarat based distillery was first established in 2016, with the release of their first gin a year later. Since then, they’ve been steadily growing the range which now includes eight gins and three liqueurs to tempt your tastebuds.

Partners Chris Pratt and Rebecca Mathews are proud to be another chapter in the long history of Ballarat distilling which wasn’t always the strictly legal kind. The first legal distillery in Victoria was located in Ballarat and produced both gin and whisky from the 1860s through to the 1930s.

It was in late 2020 that the pair decided to relocate Kilderkin Distillery to a more central Ballarat location, with more room for distilling as well as that all-important cellar door experience. Formerly a group training facility, the spacious building underwent major renovations including sandblasting walls and grinding concrete and yet somehow has managed to maintain that rustic warehouse vibe.

After settling in the most important equipment – their two stills – the pair are almost ready to throw open their doors after a long 15 months. Chris explains –

Once we finally open, people will be able to book tours either online or call up, and that will involve a tour of the production area, where the stills are with the full explanation of the whole process of making gin. Then after that, we’ll do a formal tasting talking them through different styles of gin, how we actually balance the flavours, and how they can enhance the gins with different selection of mixers, tonic, soda and garnish.

Apart from gin, the distillery will also serve quality Victorian craft beers and a tight selection of wines, as well as produce platters to keep you fed while hydrating. And, if like us, you’re wondering what a kilderkin is, it is a measurement of volume equalling 18 Imperial Gallons or about 82 litres, the perfect size barrel for maturing spirits.


WHAT: Kilderkin Distillery
WHERE: 14A Hill St, Mount Pleasant
WHEN: Wednesday – Friday: 11:00am – 4:00pm
MORE INFO: kilderkindistillery.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.