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.

The WinterWild program is out and it’s as weird and wild as you would expect

Words by Jay Dillon
Images supplied

Originally created to raise funds and ignite community spirit after the 2015 Colac Otway bushfires, the WinterWild festival (Aug 25-27) has grown into one of the highlights of Victoria’s events calendar. With the first round of the 2023 program just announced, we pull out a few highlights so you can start planning your trip.

The festival will be officially started with a Welcome to Country by members of the Eastern Marr Aboriginal Corporation at 6 pm Friday, August 25. After which the party mode sets in with an energetic performance from Wemba-Wemba rapper RidzyRay (free event).

Apollo Bay Festival

Over in the Mechanics Hall, Indie rock legend Jen Cloher will be headlining with local singer-songwriter Sid O’Neil, along with the body-shaking Zoë Fox and the Rocket Clocks and indie-jazz five-piece Outtatime. Jen Cloher has been a stable of the Melbourne indie rock scene since the early 2000s and has been instrumental in supporting and promoting emerging Australian artists.

On Saturday morning, early risers are invited to join performance artists The Midnight Horrors on the Apollo Bay Foreshore for a surreal and haunting guided ‘bird walk’. Or else rev up your engines by joining Mark Kluwer for a two-hour meditation and cold-water therapy session that is sure to quell the debauchery of the night before.


The Wild Feast commences along the foreshore from 4 pm, where the whole festival community will come together to bond and nourish. Expect to find open pans of seafood and vegetable paella, slow-cooked meats, soups and lip-smacking bao buns. There will be craft beers from Prickly Moses and Apollo Bay Gin Distillery will be mixing up the cocktails.

As dusk descends, watch for the arrival of Dogwatch, a dreamlike performance of fire and light from an eclectic collection of local artists, dancers, musicians and general misfits (free event). For those kicking on through the night, Dane Blacklock & the Preacher’s Daughter will be causing all sorts of chaos at the Mechanics Hall and the Apollo Bay Sailing club will play host to Moongarden, with electronic maestros DJ Harvey Sutherland with Milo Eastwood and Post Percy.

Ease yourself into Sunday morning by joining Qigong  practitioner Dani Cullen who will realign your body’s energy with a Qigong session beside an open fire on the foreshore. Or come along to a coffee roasting workshop with the guys from Hello Coffee. Get your caffeine fill, whilst exploring the process of coffee making from bean to cup.

Festival Great Ocean Road

The rest of Sunday is designed to ease you gently back into reality with a celestial performance by local concert pianist Estelle Shircore Barker in a location only revealed with your ticket purchase. And artist Amy Tsilemanis will give you plenty to think about on the drive home with a creative oral history of the Apollo Bay region that was created as part of her artist residency for the Apollo Bay Museum with support from the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund Fellowship program.


What: 2023 WinterWild
Where: Apollo Bay
When: August 25-27, 2023
More info: WinterWild


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

The promise of transformation at Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa’s new Wellness Villas

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images supplied

Drive ninety minutes north-west of Melbourne and you’re in healing country.

Quite literally. The Daylesford-Macedon region is home to 80 per cent of Australia’s natural mineral springs, making it the country’s bona fide spa destination.

The Indigenous custodians, the Wurundjeri, Taungurung and Dja Dja Wurrung people knew it. The first settlers knew it. And that’s why they built The Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa there in 1895. To nourish their bodies with the waters rich in magnesium, sulphate and calcium.

Today, visitors can enjoy the benefits of mineral bathing at the eponymous bathhouse. And now an even more luxurious experience is on offer, with the addition of four new accommodation options.

Perched on the hill overlooking the Bathhouse, these retreats — aptly titled Wellness Villas — are no ordinary getaway. In fact, they’ve been remodelled, redesigned and revitalised to extend the therapeutic ethos of the Bathhouse.

Daylesford Spa

A visit to the villas begins with the herbaceous smell of essential oils. Every guest has the option to choose their nightly blend. There’s the ‘Rest Easy’ special to promote relaxation and a good night’s sleep, or the ‘Revive’ for uplifting and de-stressing. The diffuser near the room’s entrance, not far from the enormous marble spa bath, sets the tone. A night here is one of indulgence.

Each villa features a king-sized bed, central bathtub, well-equipped kitchenette, lounge area with a stone fireplace and TV, and one or two leafy balconies. There’s a goodies hamper bursting with treats for each guest. In autumn, the maple trees outside turn a vibrant crimson and cast a reddish hue into the rooms. It feels like you’re inside an opulent cocoon – coaxing the occupant towards physical and psychological well-being.

Air purifiers gleam in corners. A thrilling array of bath salts sits neatly on the edge of the tub. The mattress topper is cloudlike and wondrous. And a central iPad and sound system come pre-loaded with guided meditations and yoga classes. Before bed, you can practice yoga and bathe for an hour, with a full stomach thanks to the chefs at the Pavillion kitchen.

In the daylight, hop over to the Bathhouse and indulge in a massage or facial (or both), soak in the salt-therapy pool, slather your skin with clay inside a Mineral Hammam or cajole the body to release in the mineral pools. Built in 2008, the Bathhouse is an architectural feat with soaring ceilings, glass walls to bring the outdoors in, and a mid-century modern style. There’s public and private bathing, and genderless amenities to welcome all bodies.

Hepburn Springs Retreat

The Pavillion cafe, housed in the original brick Bathhouse, offers fresh, contemporary meals with a wellness focus. Ample well-priced and delicious breakfast and lunch options are available, plus coffee and tea. For those looking to imbibe, the Passing Clouds Viognier is rich and luscious, and perfect over lunch.

The Wellness Villas make good on their promise of transformation, with a space more carefully composed than most. A stay here is a slow-releasing aqua antidepressant; the full effects of which will be felt as you pile your languid limbs back into the car.


WHAT: Wellness Villas at Hepburn Spa Retreat
WHERE: Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs
WHEN: Now open for bookings

The author travelled as a guest of Hepburn Spa Retreat management.
We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

Kailash Ashram

It’s long been understood that our environment has a deep effect on the state of our mental health. So it makes perfect sense then, to discover a traditional Ashram located on a quiet property with views back towards the Grampians / Gariwerd range, a place with such spiritual connection to the Traditional Owners of the land.

Before meeting in India, Radjni and David Wegman both had very different lives, one filled with stress and depression. Through the growth achieved in their love and through the practice of yoga and meditation practice, they developed a yearning to share their journey of inner peace with others.

The marquee experience is the five-day Soul Retreat, where attendees are provided with a fully immersive introduction to authentic yoga and meditation practices that are thousands of years old. Guests stay on-site in a beautiful hand-pressed mud-brick building that includes a comfortable communal area and a mix of shared and private room options. The camaraderie and connection that comes from a shared experience of transformation, is the reason why many visitors return again.

Throughout the five days, guests are taken on an ancient spiritual journey that includes Hatha Yoga, Himalayan Meditation, Sound Meditation and even an opportunity to express their inner world through a creative practice that David and Ranji have named Soul Art. Most of these spiritual sessions occur in a purpose-built yurt, set peacefully amongst the huge gums and granite boulders.

In keeping with the aim of providing internal nourishment to guests, the communal meals are fresh, wholesome, vegetarian dishes. There is plenty of time for personal reflection and guests are welcome to explore the pristine bushland of the property, find a spot to watch the sunrise or freshen up with an early morning dip in the dam.

Together David and Ranji have created a space here for visitors to take leave of their normal day-to-day environment, to gather with other like-minded individuals in a sublime natural landscape, to learn and to grow. Most importantly, they hope that each individual will take these practices home with them for life-long peacefulness and well-being.

Find all about the region here.

A decadent spa just opened in Aireys Inlet and is perfect for small groups

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

Sunnymead Hotel unveils its next special offering – Indie Spa, a relaxation and treatment space like you’ve never experienced before.

Tucked into the slip lane off the Great Ocean Road and hidden behind the warm, textured tones of Sunnymead Hotel’s reception desk, is arguably Airey’s Inlet’s most noteworthy new feature – Indie Spa.

This is no ordinary treatment centre, not only are the facilities on offer unique, but Indie has been designed to be experienced by groups of guests.

That’s right! You and your besties can book spaces to share and enjoy a variety of spa packages simultaneously.

The must-try Rasul is a steam room influenced by Arabic cleansing rituals and has seemingly endless options for use. Set at the perfect temperature, you can choose to sit and steam, add DIY skin scrubs and silky muds, or go decadent and have a therapist treat you inside the Rasul. They’ll add sensory treats like scalp massage, cold stones and warm water to literally melt your stress away, either solo, duo or with your pals.

And just when you think you’ve reached your limit with the heat? You pop next door into the snowflake shower and sink your feet into invigorating ice and let a cool, mist refresh you.

Prefer to soak rather than steam? Indie’s got you, with 4 freestanding, ultra-deep tubs, that line the skylit bath house. Choose from a bathing menu – milk, mud, magnesium or mineral – and then turn your attention to the cocktail menu and enjoy a glass of bubbles or something stronger while you lay back, relax and chat.

The “Cherry on Top” add-ons, again let you control your options, and you can add face and hair masks, and then float off to the chill-out lounge, where you can laze about on velvet couches and eat charcuterie.

The final signature option to try is the Vichy Shower – where you and your plus one will spend 30 minutes applying your own skincare and working your way through the hot and cold hydrotherapy program.

Of course, there are more traditional massage and facial packages available, performed by highly trained, local therapists, who will apply luxury, all-natural products from O Cosmedics and Pevonia Botanic.

Head to your group chat ASAP and get your squad booked in immediately!


Who: Indie Spa
Unique, decadent day spa designed for groups
Sunnymead Hotel, Aireys Inlet
More Info: HERE

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

As the name suggests, About Time is the Bathhouse the Surf Coast has been waiting for

Words by Anthea Riskas
Images supplied

Two cult wellness services have joined forces with a professional sportsperson to create an inspired and unique space to literally treat all the senses.

A series of conversations that started back in 2020 are about to become reality in Torquay with the opening of About Time, the first Bathhouse of its kind on the Surf Coast and Greater Geelong Region.

The concept may be fresh, but the collaborators behind it – Little Company and STILL Beauty – have a long-standing and well-regarded relationship within wellness circles.

And when the opportunity arose to take over the old Quicksilver offices, and local Ed Curnow (who is also a Carlton footballer) became interested, Joanna (Joey) Beecher and husband and wife duo Stacey Burt and Kent Pomare, started to map out just how this treatment centre could look.

Torquay Massage

What’s evolved is a brutalist, architecturally designed space, that sits on 1000sqm, tucked down on Baines Crescent.

There are 8 treatment rooms, plus a wet room for body scrubs and muds, where guests will be able to experience the signature massages and skin treatments of Little Company and STILL Beauty, who train all their specialist therapists in-house, to ensure the highest-quality experiences.

And then there’s the bathing, the offering that Joey was adamant “We had to have!”

This gusto for soaking is driven by multiple motivations, as Joey explains, “The benefits of bathing are huge, the outcomes [on the body] are as good as treatments. And it’s more affordable and a way for people to visit more regularly.”

Torquay Wellness

About Time has many demographics in mind with their aquatic options; there’s indoor and outdoor magnesium pools perfect for reducing muscle pain and inflammation, cold plunge pools to get the blood circulation absolutely pumping and secluded bathing for those wanting to visit for pure pleasure and relaxation.

Add to this infrared and Finnish saunas, steam rooms and a functional movement space, their goal of taking a holistic, contemporary approach to traditional rituals and techniques, in order to create a completely new, authentically Australian sanctuary, is sure to be realised.


Who: About Time
What: Bathhouse  & Wellness Treatment Centre
When: Coming soon in 2023
27 Baines Crescent, Torquay
More Info: About Time

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

Plans for new Grampians bathhouse in full swing

Words by Della Vreeland
Images supplied

Travellers will be able to soak up the beauty and majesty of Gariwerd in a whole new way thanks to the opening of a brand new bathhouse in 2024.

Brainchild of local entrepreneur Carly Flecknoe, The Bathhouse Pomonal will offer visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the Grampians while (literally) immersing themselves in a relaxing bathing pool or two.

Carly says the idea for The Bathhouse came to her as she was being treated to her own day spa experience.

‘It was in a small, dark and intimate room that gave my business brain too much time to think. I began to wonder, “what if you could do something like this with your closest friends or family, looking out at Gariwerd? What if, instead of feeling like you were in a dark room, you felt like you were part of the mountains and the natural environment?”

‘My brain then began to think about finishing a walk on the new Grampians Peaks Trail and soaking your muscles in Grampians water, looking out at where you’d been walking, letting your mind wander. It just felt like something that needed to exist.’

Directly overlooking the Grampians National Park and surrounded by the native bush, The Bathhouse Pomonal will offer panoramic views of Mt William and Redmans Bluff, with guests allocated one of six private bathing suites which can be booked for up to six people, as well as their own relaxation lounge with grazing options and herbal teas.

‘We want guests to experience the beauty of Gariwerd while spending mindful and present time with family and friends with the smallest of details having been considered for them,’ Carly says. ‘We want them to feel immersed in the beauty of Gariwerd’s natural surrounds while relaxing in their private bathing suite – enjoying a fully tailored and personalised experience.

‘They will receive customised beauty products to complement their experience, made using native essential oils, and can also wander the expansive native gardens, use the steam and salt rooms and outdoor plunge pool.’

With the architectural drawings complete, Carly says the focus is now on getting the planning permit finalised, as well as assessing how best to place the bathhouse so it protects the beauty of the natural environment.

‘We were incredibly lucky to receive grant funding through the state government’s Enabling Tourism Fund to assist us with this process. Once this is completed, we will engage engineers and landscape architects to take our architectural drawings to the next level before securing our final funding and breaking ground on the building stage.

‘If everything goes to plan, guests should be able to visit us in the middle of 2024 and we cannot wait to welcome them!’


WHAT: The Bathhouse Pomonal
WHERE: Pomonal, VIC
WHEN: Expected opening mid-2024
FIND OUT MORE: The Bathhouse Pomonal

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.

Vegecareian Festival is back, along with a new immersive lightscape

Words by Tehya Nicholas
Images Supplied

If it’s universal compassion you’re after, a day trip to Vegecareian Festival might be an excellent place to start.

In 2013, the Western world’s largest stupa — aptly titled the Great Stupa, standing tall just a short drive outside of Bendigo — began hosting an annual spring festival dedicated to the love of animals and plants. They called it Vegecareian Festival (emphasis on the care) and fast became one of the state’s most popular multicultural family-friendly events before it was shuttered by the pandemic. The one-day extravaganza returns this October 1st, marking a new period of exciting events brightening the Great Supa calendar.

Vegecareian teaches a lot more than just the joys of eating vegetables. The day is infused with the stupa’s central principle of compassion; market stalls of locally made produce are available to purchase, cooking demonstrations feature dishes from around the globe for some free education, and family activities are dotted throughout the day. In an outstanding act of 21st Century altruism, a Buddhist monk will be present to bless your pet if you’re up for bringing them along. Dogs, cats, chickens, and donkeys have been known to receive a blessing in the past.  Even if vegetarianism isn’t your thing, soaking up the goodwill in the air does something nice to your insides.

Marketing and Events Manager at Great Stupa Matthew Griffin told us recently visitor numbers can be expected to grow to between 1000 and 2000 people on the day, plus animal companions. “We wanted to bring people together for education about animal care, introduce people to a vegetarian lifestyle, and give them an opportunity to learn how to cook vegetarian food,” he explains. This free, multifaceted festival is an awesome expression of compassion (a rare and valuable practice in today’s fast-paced world) and marks an exciting opportunity to mingle with the local community.

Once your belly is full with uniformly excellent food and you’re ready for more pleasantries at Great Stupa, head back once a month for their brand new lightscape experience, Enlighten. Vermillion red, cobalt blue, canary yellow, and more vibrant lights have been designed to shimmer off the canvas white of the stupa and flow across their garden, Peace Park. The immersive show presents an exclusive opportunity to view the stupa after dark while live performers roam throughout the evening for your entertainment. Their first event is slated for August 13th, and will be held throughout the year on multiple nights and on special occasions. Tickets are available via their website.


WHAT: Vegecareian Festival
Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, 25 Sandhurst Town Road, Myers Flat (Bendigo) VIC 3556
 Saturday October 1st, 10am-3pm
MORE INFO: Great Stupa of Universal Compassion

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

Three ways to explore the natural beauty of Murrindindi Shire this autumn

Words by Della Vreeland
Images Supplied

Proclaimed as Melbourne’s closest natural playground, Murrindindi Shire’s rich landscape is made up of lush national parks and state forests, the iconic Lake Eildon, Lake Mountain and the Goulburn River, as well as some pretty darn awe-inspiring locations right on the city’s doorstep. The gateway to the High Country, the region’s natural beauty is vast and varied – from the Goulburn River flats to the rugged peaks and cool-climate rainforests of the Great Dividing Range.

The Aboriginal word for Murrindindi translates to mountainous, misty place. This in itself should be cause enough to lure in the discerning nature lover. Imagine then such a mountainous place during autumn, where the trees are boasting leaves of auburn, yellow and brown, and the rolling vistas are cast against a temperate background.

While the region’s natural wonders are worthy of exploration any old time of year, there’s no denying that autumn is especially special in Murrindindi. Tree-lined streets in the towns and villages are resplendent with stunning deciduous trees, and many of the highways that connect the townships feature historic plantings of poplars, oak and maple trees

So if you’ve got a few days, a weekend, or even a day to spare, then Murrindindi Shire should be on your autumn to-do. Here’s three ways you’ll be able to tour the region once you’re there as you discover all the hidden beauty for yourself.


Black SpurThe historic and quaint township of Yea is one of Murrindindi Shire’s most-loved and boasts historic buildings, a thriving main street and a strong arts culture. It’s also a key town on the Great Victorian Rail Trail. With a range of award-winning restaurants, wineries and accommodation options on offer, you can start your journey in Yea and reap the benefits of a gorgeous scenic drive while you’re at it – exploring the unique flora and fauna of the Yea Wetlands as well as the historic sites.

Yea is adjoined by a series of hamlets including Glenburn, Murrindindi, Limestone, Highlands, Strath Creek, Kerrisdale, and Flowerdale, each with their own distinct natural charms and landmarks – making the town the perfect base for a weekend of exploration.

Can only afford a one-day road trip? We get you. The cruise along the Maroondah Highway from Alexandra to Marysville offers the perfect scenic Sunday drive. You’ll pass by stately country estates with the imposing Cathedral Ranges, and the Gould Memorial Drive is a most impressive gateway to Marysville with its avenue of brilliant yellow poplars. Both Alexandra and Marysville also offer great dining options, and local produce stores, breweries and cellar doors along the route feature the best of Murrindindi’s autumn harvest so you can stock up for the trip back and the week ahead!

Another option if travelling from Melbourne is to start or finish your journey by cruising along the Black Spur Drive and enjoying views of the tall mountain ash and lush green tree ferns that the region is known for.


Rubicon Trestle BridgeIf you prefer to feel the earth move under your feet, Murrindindi’s cool, misty mornings and mild, sunny days are perfect for gentle riverside rambles, day treks through the rolling hills or more challenging overnight hikes.

Don your hiking boots and wander through historic locations and villages such as Yea and Alexandra; discover the beauty of ancient forests at the likes of the Toolangi Tanglefoot Loop; explore the many majestic waterfalls dotted throughout the shire and the lush fern gullies in the Yarra Ranges National Park and Marysville State Forest or; hike to the Lake Mountain Summit for spectacular mountain views.

If you’ve got young ones in tow, the Beauty Spot Nature Trail at Marysville is a good option, showcasing some of Marysville’s most beautiful flora and fauna – including an abundance of birdlife – as is the Eildon Pondage Walk.


Lake MountainFor the avid cyclists, Murrindindi Shire also offers some fab autumn cycling experiences. For family-friendly riding, jump on the Great Victorian Rail Trail running from Tallarook, through Yea and Yarck, with a spur line to Alexandra, and all the way to Mansfield. Pack a picnic lunch, admire the natural wonders and seasonal colours along the route, and make a day of it!

If you want to get your heart rate up, the region has some of the best cycling trails and mountain bike tracks in the North East region – and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy the smooth flowing trails at Eildon, Buxton and Lake Mountain.



WHAT: Murrindindi Shire in autumn
FIND OUT MORE: discoverdindi.com.au

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