The regional bookshops you need to suss out pronto!

Words by Della Vreeland 
Images supplied

One of the sweetest parts of isolation (and we know there aren’t that many), is the fact that we can bunker down and savour those moments we may not have had the chance to savour when life was more – normal.

For some of us, bunkering down has also provided the time to snuggle in with a good read. Spring is one of the best seasons to get stuck into a good book, especially when the sun is seeping down on us and beckoning us to find our happy place – whether we’re sitting outside under the shade of the Coolabah Tree, or lazing away indoors in our sun-soaked library nook.

To coincide with Love Your Bookshop Day on October 3, and to give all our bookworms an excuse to search out their next read, we decided to compile a list of some of our favourite regional bookshops.

So whether you’re a regional resident in search of your next day trip, or a metro comrade hitting the online shopping, we have a bookshop for your perusal.

Verso Books

Healesville #onehourout

Verso Books

Offering local home delivery during COVID-19, this Yarra Valley beauty is filled to the brim with all the best new books! Located in Healesville, Verso Books specialises in new release fiction, gardening, food and wine, art and design, current affairs and an extensive range of beautiful Children’s Books.

Take a look here

The Bookshop at Queenscliff


The Bookshop at Queenscliff

Boasting all the literary goodness you could hope for, combined with a charm that can only be felt from a passionate family-run business, The Bookshop at Queenscliff is a real sanctuary. Owned by a local husband-and-wife duo, this corner-store bookshop aims to offer all the current reads in addition to books that are topical and worthy of exploration in the current climate.

Website here

Turn the Page Bookshop

Phillip Island #twohoursout

Turn the Page

One of Phillip Island’s most treasured spots, Turn the Page is renowned for its friendly customer service, product knowledge and nifty children’s corner. With comfy chairs scattered throughout the store, expect to wander in and escape to a world you’d rather be as you lose yourself in the words and the surrounds.

Find out more


Warragul #oneandahalfhoursout


Located in Warragul, Need2Read is a family owned and operated independent bookstore that focuses on customer service and helping bookworms source the perfect reads for themselves and their loved ones. With floor-to-ceiling shelves and a bright, contemporary interior, this bookstore is the town’s real pride and joy.

Discover the store

The Known World

Ballarat #oneandahalfhoursout

The Known World

Taken straight out of Diagon Alley, The Known World is a real book-lovers refuge. Housed in a 19th-century Ballarat building in one of the city’s most historic thoroughfares, the space is worth visiting just in itself. As soon as you enter the doors of this secondhand bookstore, you’ll be transported into a world of words and wonder, regardless of whether you make a purchase or not.

Take a squiz here

Minerva’s Books and Ideas

Ballarat #oneandahalfhoursout

Minervas Books

Another Ballarat-based beauty, Minerva’s Books and Ideas is a bookshop-turned-online store that focuses on classic fiction, literature, culture and philosophy, and antiquarian. What makes Minerva’s different is that its owners are as much about delving into the lives of books as they are about the stories themselves. Trading solely online and via Instagram, this is a real crowd pleaser for our metro friends who are searching for their next unique read.

Shop online

Bendigo Book Mark


Book Mark

If you can’t get enough of secondhand books, Bendigo Book Mark is another one to bookmark for a visit. A beautifully laid out independent store, the shop is a vibrant space with equally vibrant and joy-inducing reads.

Visit them on Facebook

The Bookbird Geelong


Book Bird

Founded in 2015, The Book Bird is Geelong’s local, independent book shop with a twist – because you never know what you’re going to discover. Stocking a large range of new release books across all genres, this store is a repository of pure delight in literary form.

Check out The Book Bird story

Squishy Minnie

Kyneton #onehourout

Squishy Minnie

Squishy Minnie is one of those spaces that leaves a lasting impression. With a plethora of children’s titles to enjoy, ranging from infant through to teen reads, as well as an exceptionally vibrant and quaint interior, this is a bookstore you need to experience to believe. Explore the array of books either in-store or online and find yourself or your loved ones the perfect gift!

Order online


Specially tailored messages of equality

Words by Della Vreeland 
Images supplied

IF YOU were to ask Indy Hayes how many times she has been the recipient of a racial slur, she’d find it difficult to tell you.

 “It would take me days to get through them all,” the young Ballarat entrepreneur says. “But it’s definitely something we have to face every day.”

 Indy is the founder of newly-established clothing label The Minority Co – a small business that focuses on raising awareness around the discrimination and prejudice faced by minority groups.

With a special focus on the Black Lives Matter movement, the 21-year-old aims to educate and empower through producing jumpers which have been lovingly-embroidered with specially-tailored messages and slogans.

“My aim is 100 per cent to educate and create awareness,” Indy says.

“I like to think of my business as a statement that challenges society’s norms and controversial topics, rather than just being a clothing line.”

As a Wotjobaluk (Aboriginal), African/American, Polish, Cherokee and Celtic woman, Indy says her passion for her art comes from growing up in a culturally diverse family.

 “I come from some of the biggest minority groups in the world, so my brand name is my family,” she exclaims.

If you know anything about any of the groups of people I’m from, you could probably understand why this is so important to me. I want better for my people and that is what drives me and what fuels my passion.

While Indy’s newest venture only kicked off in June, it has already garnered significant support from all across the country.

“The idea for The Minority Co practically fell into my lap and I didn’t plan on turning it into a business, but here we are!” she says.

“I hoped, but I never thought, it would blow up so big so quick. It’s been amazing. I mean it’s a pretty important movement so I’m glad I have so much support.”

There’s no doubt fighting for equality is a dominating passion for this creative, and Indy hopes to gradually expand her line of products to also embrace other minority groups.

And if there is one piece of advice she has for those wanting to work towards a more embracing world, it is to educate yourself and, in turn, others.

“I’m trying to push that so hard because I honestly believe it could make so much difference,” she says

“Pull people up for being racist. I don’t care if it’s your friend, family, partner. I don’t care how awkward it is, it needs to start happening more so people realise it’s not a joke. At this point, it’s about people’s lives.” 

You can find out more about The Minority Co and Indy Hayes by visiting her Instagram page @theminorityco_ or checking out the website, set to launch in late July.


OHO in ISO: Debra Mcfadzean from Shape & Line

Images supplied

Debra Mcfadzean has been a professional photographer for 20 years. She shoots Interior, Lifestyle, Food, Portraiture and Travel. Debra’s philosophy towards her work is ‘I’m always, always looking’ for grace and symmetry and kind of wabi-sabi elegance and she finds these elements come together in unusual hidden places sometimes.

How has your photography business been affected by COVID-19?

My art print sales went up which I was a bit surprised about. I guess with people stuck at home they decided it was a good time to redecorate.

However, the commercial work took a pretty big hit, with most jobs in the pipeline cancelled in a matter of days of each other which was worrying at the time. The jobs are still there to be done when restrictions permit so it should work out ok.

Who have you been in lockdown with?

My daughter Harriet, partner Geo and our two dogs Alby and Tikki, the dogs have been the real winners in recent times, with lots of walks and attention for them.

What do you think have been the positives of this crisis?

I have used the extra time, like many, to forge ahead with new business development and work on plans and ideas that had been lurking in my mind but I hadn’t had the time to implement.   

On a social level, it’s been great watching my local community support local businesses and seeing families out riding their bikes and spending lots of quality time together.

Also, I’ve had more time to cook overly elaborate dinners and drink wine. A lot of wine.

What have you been watching or reading?

I got the Masterclass series and have been watching a lot of those. I’m reading Leigh Sales Any Ordinary Day now and next up is Jedidiah Jenkins To Shake the Sleeping Self.

What adventures are you planning as restrictions ease?

I am hoping to get to Perisher for the snow season this year with my family and will be making a trip to Sydney to shoot some landscapes for my fine art collections as soon as I can.

I think I’ll also pop up north for some sunny days too.

The Details:

Have a browse of Debra Mcfadzean’s original photographic artworks that have been taken at beautiful locations across Victoria over on OHO Markets. We can’t promise that you won’t be tempted to purchase one.

Bringing the farm to you: Where to source the freshest in regional Victorian produce

There are a few key things getting us all through the livelong days as we seclude ourselves in isolation. Among those things are home deliveries. Whether we’ve ordered something on a whim from our favourite online store or decided to get takeaway for the umpteenth time, delivery services are definitely keeping many of us sane during COVID-19.

Many farmers have also opted to strengthen or initiate their online delivery services during the pandemic, joining forces with stores and businesses in a bid to distribute their produce more extensively.

Here, we provide you with a list of places delivering fresh fruit, vegetables and pantry staples direct to your door!

Heritage Farm Vegetable Boxes

Heritage Farm

Located in Moorooduc on the Mornington Peninsula, Heritage Farm delivers 100% organic vegetable boxes to certain Melbourne suburbs and various pick-up points. Each box is lovingly curated and harvested the morning of your delivery, and you can choose the size of your box and the option to add fruit, eggs and bread.

Find out more here


Eat Drink West

Eat Drink West

A celebration of the best in nutritional goodness, the Local Boxes by Eat Drink West are receptacles of pure dietary delight. With the option to choose regular or mini, these boxes include seasonal fruit and vegetables, milk, sourdough and eggs from farmers in Ballarat and surrounds. All products honour the Eat Drink West ethos of supporting western Victorian farmers and putting the finest seasonal produce under the spotlight.

Shop EDW here

Lancefield Providore

Lancefield Providore

Lancefield Providore prides itself on sourcing fresh, seasonal produce and providing good, old-fashioned customer service typical of a local greengrocer. A family-owned and operated business in the Macedon Ranges, the Providore delivers fruit, vegetables, and a range of grocery and speciality products to families and businesses in Lancefield and surrounding areas.

Discover the Providore

Nightingale Bros Produce Store

Nightingale Bros

With a picturesque orchard setting, the Nightingale Bros Produce Store brings the Alpine region’s best seasonal produce direct from the grower to you. Now offering delivery, you can stock up on family grown apples, chestnuts and persimmons, or select from a range of seasonal fruit and vegetables, locally made jams, relishes, gifts and goodies!

Get the goods delivered


Benton Rise Farm

Benton Rise Farm

With the option of choosing a box suited to your household and budget, Benton Rise Farm brings the best produce from the Mornington Peninsula direct to you. With boxes selling out super quickly, it’s a case of the early bird gets the worm, so make sure your orders are placed early in the week.

Place your order here


The Food Garden

The Food Garden

Sourcing from growers around central Victoria, The Food Garden has a whole range of options when it comes to the size and contents of its boxes. Choose either a one-off or recurring box with the flexibility to pick and choose what’s inside.

Shop The Food Garden



Somerset Heritage Boxes

Somerset Heritage

Sourced direct from Somerset Heritage Farm in Seymour, these boxes are filled with farm-fresh produce you have to taste to believe. Typically distributing their products through markets, the farm has now moved to online ordering for pick-up only in certain locations.

Order online here


Prom Coast Food Collective

Prom Coast Food CollectiveFormed from a group of South Gippsland and Bass Coast farmers, the monthly fruit and veg box delivery around South Gippsland has expanded to weekly deliveries to Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula.
As you would expect, there are also some fantastic dairy options from the likes of Tarago Valley Cheese and Gippsland Jersey.

How to spoil your mum while in isolation

It’s been a tough few months for everyone, not the least for the mothers out there who are likely juggling work, domestic duties and their children’s remote learning schedule.

For those mums whose children have perhaps left the nest, their hearts are surely yearning for the day they can see their families in person again.

Until that happens, the One Hour Out team has compiled a list of artisanal products from its online market so you can show your Ma the love and appreciation she deserves, especially since Mother’s Day is but a few days away.

Bird & Blossom

Bird and Blossom

Handmade with love in Ballarat using sustainable practices and ethically-sourced materials, the Bird & Blossom collection of jewellery and native prints is made by Andrea Hurley and is sure to take pride of place in Mum’s heart and home.

Shop here

Chauffe-Moi Australia

Chauffe Moi

As the weather cools down, the time for Mum to don her warmest winter woollies is now! The Chauffe-Moi (‘Make Me Warm’) range features vibrant, crocheted beanies boasting autumnal shades of mustard and crimson and with design intricacies that take them beyond the limits of functionality.

Browse the beanies

Truffle Paddock

Truffle Paddock

If your mum considers herself quite the culinary connoisseur, then some products from Truffle Paddock are sure to warm the cockles of her heart. Founded by one of Australia’s most trusted truffle industry experts Nigel Wood, Truffle Paddock’s range includes pantry staples such as oils, salts, and honey, as well as some exclusive ingredients that will take any dish from zero to hero.

Shop Truffle Paddock

Pod Jewellery

POD Jewellery

Macedon-based artisan Bec de Podolinsky creates stunning pieces of jewellery using elements including brass, silver and copper. While her designs take many shapes, textures and forms, her work always manifests a simple elegance that still creates a bold statement.

Discover Pod Jewellery here

Studio LUSPI

Studio LUSPI

There’s nothing more satisfying than drinking your morning brew out of a stunning, handmade, ceramic cup. Mornington Peninsula ceramicist Maria Lieberman of Studio LUSPI creates one-of-a-kind mugs and other ceramic works (pitchers, bowls, serving tongs) that will bring a spot of charm to Mum’s kitchen while giving her a dose of much-deserved delight.

Check out Maria’s work here

Alabasta Organik

Alabasta Organik

Treat Mum to some extra special, 100% organic, cold-pressed oils for her face and body thanks to Carly Helgensen’s  Alabasta Organik range. Working in harmony with the skin, Carly’s products use natural formulas to provide Mum’s skin with all the nutrients and antioxidants it needs.

Shop Alabasta

Foundry Silver

Silver Foundry

Made by Gippsland’s Jill Hermans, the Foundry Silver collection focuses on showcasing the materials, processes and techniques behind making jewellery. Jill finds endless fascination in the reactions between metals, oxides, enamel and flame, creating pieces that are made from 100% recycled sterling silver and clear enamel.

Shop Foundry Silver

Grampians Goods Co.

Grampians Goods Co

Stunning Tartan blankets, sweet-smelling aromatherapy candles – The Grampians Goods Co. is all about infusing simple, everyday moments with elegance and exploration. Sounds like a pretty neat Mother’s Day deal to us.

Explore the collection

One Hour Out Gift Card

OHO Gift Card

Can’t decide? Then let us point you in the direction of our OHO Gift Cards. Valid for three years, Mum can either buy herself something nice while she’s in isolation, or wait until the pandemic is well and truly over and use it on a unique regional Victorian experience. Now there’s something to look forward to!

Markets Gift Cards

Experiences Gift Cards


Mother's Day Gift Ideas

Dindi Naturals

Okay, so it’s not food, and it’s not wine, but stay with us here. Skincare products, made from only natural ingredients by a small regional Victorian business is totally up the OHO alley.

Dindi Naturals is located in Yarck, a tiny town near Alexandra, and from the small manufacturing area at the back of the shop, they produce an amazing array of skincare products, soaps, shampoos, homewares – the list is practically endless. Did we mention its 100% organic? It’s also palm-oil free. Honestly, the ingredients stored out the back in the manufacturing area have more in common with the kitchens OHO visits regularly than you’d expect from a skincare product manufacturer.

You might be surprised to know that the olive oil used as a base in many of the soap products is a proper regular food-grade organic olive oil. Make sure you pick up the solid bar shampoo – it lasts forever, and is honestly the best shampoo. Oh, also the face serum, which comes in small amounts but lasts forever too. And the … actually, this could take a while. Best that you go for yourself.

Go Direct – Grassroots Bushfire Relief Fundraisers

Words by Ruth Meighan 
Images supplied

I think it’s safe to say that all of us have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the 2020 bushfires that are still burning. The silver lining in all this devastation is the incredible upswell of support from the Australian and international community.

It really does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see so many people, from all walks of life, dig deep into their pockets in order to help out those who have lost so much – including such great losses to wildlife.

However, questions have been raised in the media about how much of these funds actually reaches the intended target. It’s a touchy subject and not our role to dig too deep there; instead, we thought we would put together a list of grassroots fundraising activities that aim to support the affected communities directly.

Please email if you know of any others.

High Country Comeback

So much of the prolific tourism trade of January was lost when the evacuation notices were given to the North East of Victoria. Visitors to the region had to cancel their holidays and locals had little to no income. High Country Comeback is an event that brings the food, drinks and fun of the High-Country to your doorstep!

On Sunday, Feb 2nd 2020, you can see all that the North East has to offer, with no need to pack the car and get a dog sitter! Head to The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne – Door entry is a donation to the NE Vic local CFA brigades and wildlife rescue organisations.

Gather Festival

Showcasing more than just music, Gather Festival (Feb 08 2020), embraces the “sweet life” of the high country, with a family-friendly vibe. Take your mountain bike and enjoy the trails before putting on your dancing shoes and revelling with some delicious ales! You’ll be supporting local musicians, the hospitality industry and boutique crafters.

Hosted by the fire-affected community of Mt. Beauty, come and soak in the beautiful surroundings whilst grooving along to the likes of Dallas Frasca, Sarah McLeod, Richard Perso and many more. Bring the kids, a picnic rug and support this beautiful little town. All profits will go to local emergency services.

Art Aid Gippsland

For a bit of culture whilst on your #roadtripforgood visit the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale and view the Art Aid Gippsland exhibition (15th Feb – 15th March 2020). Numerous artists have donated works – over 500 in fact! These works will be auctioned at the conclusion of the exhibition. 

Entry is free with the auction taking place at 4pm of March 15th 2020 at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre. All funds raised will go to  Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), supporting those who lost their homes in the devastating bushfires.

King River Brewing

The day before having to evacuate, the brewers at King River Brewing had already added #thankscfa to their barcodes! Now that they are back in the brewhouse and making the most of what’s left of the summer trade, they are allocating 50% of profits from sales of their Summer Ale to the CFA Relief Fund.

Before you head off on your road trip, check out #beerforbushfirerelief to see who else is doing an ongoing fundraiser.

Hitch to the Sticks – Bushfire Benefit

Superjesus Official, Dallas Frasca, Barry Morgan’s World of Organs! Does it get any better? Yes, it does…this family-friendly fest is setting out to raise lots of coin for Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Blaze Aid. 100% of profits from merch and donations on the day plus profits from the event. 

But wait, it keeps getting better – kids under 13 are free! If you’re quick enough you can even book the bus and stay overnight in the Mohyu locale – the gateway to the King Valley. This will be a day of celebration, and you can bask in the knowledge that you will be directly helping communities in need.

Brighter Days

Since its inception 7 years ago, the Brighter Days Festival has always had community & family support at its heart. A 3-day event combining music, bikes & cars into a family friendly atmosphere.

Initially set up to give support to The Cooper Trewin Memorial (SUDC) Research Fund, DEBRA Foundation and The EB Research Foundation. Every year the foundation looks to give additional funds to those in need and 2020 will see them contributing to the CFA Ovens Valley Group of Brigades – you can support the local bushfire relief effort by purchasing a festival ticket, raffle ticket or merchandise.

Shop 2 Support

A Facebook-based platform for fire-affected businesses to make their presence known. If you’re planning a holiday check out the numerous posts – you’ll find everything from online products to amazing accommodation deals.

The beauty of this platform is you get to directly support the people who are doing it the hardest, which then feeds back into the local community.

It’s My Shout

At a time when East Gippsland should have been booming with tourists, the bushfires were tearing through the landscape. Leaving local business owners with not only the possible loss of their homes, but also their livelihoods. 

This is where #itsmyshout comes in. This online initiative creates a way to pay it forward to the many affected small businesses. Purchase a virtual item and know that your donation will go directly to the respective business.

Spend With Them

It’s one thing to donate to a worthy cause, but many retail and produce companies are sitting on stock that they haven’t been able to move due to the bushfire emergency that hit Victoria in January. Inspired by #buyfromthebush a support network for drought-affected areas, “Spend With Them” gives fire-affected businesses the opportunity to showcase their wares to a larger audience. 

Highlighting brilliant regional products like, ‘Better than Sex’ brownies from @milchcafebar in Falls Creek Victoria and ‘Memphis Style BBQ sauce @alpinesauceco. These are both perfect examples of the entrepreneurialism required to keep small, family-owned cafes afloat.

Go Fund Me

Even though GoFundMe take a percentage of donations, at the very least you are able to read the personal plights of the individual or organisation. Do a search with the keywords, “bushfire” “Victoria” “wildlife” and see how you can make a difference.

Sweet Fern

Here’s something a bit different. Think wine tasting, but you’re not putting it in your mouth. Although, there’s wine. And platters. But you’re not drinking the thing you’re tasting. Follow?

Sweet Fern is a perfumery, and the experience is captivating and unique. Let’s start with the experience of owner Kate Robinson walking you through the ‘Fragrance Wheel’. It’s a mind-blowingingly  simple way to understand the scents we love. It’s deeply personal and loaded with all our experiences of life and memories. As she explains, ‘Smell is the sense of memory.’ The idea that from this, we can narrow down from hundreds of the highest-quality fragrances to the single one that is our own recognisably ‘you’ scent is extraordinary. It’s not just ‘perfume shopping’, it really is a very personal experience – one which can be quite moving, as you’re delving back through memories via scent.

Get a few friends together for a weekend, and book a fragrance masterclass during an afternoon. Then hit the town, maybe make some new memories somewhere, like Catfish Thai. And in case you’re wondering, it’s not a gender-specific experience. Memories and smell are for everyone.

The Bellarine Taste Trail

The Bellarine Peninsula has been many things to many people. It was once home to the Wathaurong people, who harvested spoils from the ocean to survive; European occupation saw the region quickly become a leading supplier of grain to Melbourne.

Then at the end of the 19th century, we witnessed the arrival of holidaymakers, tourists and seachangers.

These days visitors to the area will be astonished at the richness of food and wine experiences. Travel the interweaving roads of this undulating peninsula, and you will discover fruit- and vegetable-farm gates, deep rows of olive trees, award-winning cheeses, cellar doors with breathtaking views, first-rate dining experiences and the region’s iconic Australian Blue Mussels.

Here’s our suggested itinerary to get you started.


Discover more on the Bellarine Taste Trail website.

Bendigo Wholefoods and Kitchen

Sometimes the quest for awesome simple food leads you to an unexpected destination. A combination of plant nursery, wholefoods store and a cafe actually makes sense, if you think about it in an eclectic ‘why not?’ kind of way. Bendigo Wholefoods and Kitchen does nothing the expected way, but it all makes sense. Of course you’re going to open a kitchen if you’ve got amazing produce available from your store. Of course you’re going to open a nursery if people start asking, ‘How can I grow this at home?’

So, from right to left as you approach the sprawling store from the street, let’s take a look at what Bendigo Wholefoods and Kitchen is doing to spread the love of awesomeness.

The nursery is a love affair with all things growable and edible. It’s literally a plant nursery dedicated to things you can grow to eat. Amazing!

The wholefoods store is a really good organic and ethical food supermarket. It has its own lines of sauces and preserves, and local seasonal produce is plentiful. The honesty of labelling is laudable – if it’s not organic, but produced ethically by a small local producer, the ticket says so.

The cafe is a gem in Bendigo. You can get a quick healthy lunch from produce available in the store, prepared fresh, with a menu that changes as the produce comes in season. The servings are generous, the dishes simple and delicious. Look out soon for the ‘good to go’ take-home meals, and the pre-order lunch and picnic boxes.