Eight great things to do in Hepburn Springs

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

QUICK escape ideas from Melbourne are in abundance. North, south, west or east, the variety is endless whether you’re wanting, beach, river, mountain ranges and snow fields, or open plains, caves or goldfields, or food and wine. But one that is only an hour and a half away is Spa Country and a little destination called Hepburn where cosmopolitan hamlets can be discovered, spa retreats await and natural charms of mineral springs are as fresh as you’ll find anywhere on the planet.

There are dozens of great reasons to head to this gorgeous part of Victoria, with Hepburn Springs at the top of the list. Here are eight great reasons to set your sights on the Macedon Ranges and Daylesford/Hepburn country.

1. Steeped in history, Hepburn Springs is also steeped in Australia’s largest concentration of mineral springs, known for the health-enhancing minerals. Explore them at old-fashioned pumps and pipes in Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Reserve.

2. Pack your golf clubs and tackle the challenging fairways and holes at Hepburn Springs Golf Club, where the resident grazing kangaroos observe the silly human beings chasing the little white ball around. A licensed clubhouse is a beauty with stunning views while you unwind with a refreshing drink back at the 19th hole.

3.  Cricket Willow is a dream realised by the Tinetti family at Shepherd’s Flat, a fifth generation family who created a facility where you can not only have a hit of cricket in a unique area, but also observe the process of a cricket bat being made from start to finish.

4. Relax and let the professionals treat your body at Acqua Viva Day Spa. Mineral water spa, massages, facials … you name it, they can do it. It’s one of many Day Spa’s and resorts available in the region.

5. You haven’t had a scone until you’ve tried Lavandula Lavender farm’s famous lavendar scones. Spend a few hours exploring and enjoying the farm, check out the animals, see the art gallery, or grab some souvenirs in the gift shop.

6. Everyone remembers the spooky film Picnic At Hanging Rock, scripted by brilliant Australian writer Cliff Green. Hanging Rock is close by, so make sure you mark it down for a visit to check out the dramatic rock formations. We promise you’ll come back out.

7. Looking for a stunning place for a bite to eat? Look no further than the Argus Dining Room which dishes up Modern Australian cuisine “with an emphasis on fresh, clean flavours and regional produce”.

8. Waterfalls don’t get much more charming than Trentham Falls, the state of Victoria’s highest single-drop waterfall. Scenic walking tracks and beautiful spots in the forest for a picnic.



Dive into the heavenly hot springs in the Mornington Peninsula

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

Bath houses, hot springs, thermal spas, relaxation … words that almost make you float into a travel destination rather than drive there. Peninsula Hot Springs stakes a claim as the “first natural hot springs and day spa centre in Victoria”, only a 90 minute road trip from Melbourne and one that delivers on everything it promises when it comes to natural thermal mineral waters that flow into the pools and private baths at the award-winning coastal escape.

There are two specific areas at this hot springs Mornington Peninsula destination that deliver on some quality R&R and spa experiences. A private Spa Dreaming Centre is all about tranquil spaces, private pools pampering spa treatments to revitalise body, mind and spirit. The Bath House generally offers experiences for $40 per adult during peak periods (cheaper in the off season) as well as family specials if you want to take the whole clan there for some chill time in the 20 plus bathing experiences including a cave pool, reflexology walk, hydrotherapy pool, thermal stream gully, sauna, hilltop pool offering stunning 360 degree views, massaging thermal showers, family pools and more.

There is a cafe in the spa centre providing a great environment for a bite to eat at lunch, while brekky and lunch are available seven days a week. A Dine and Bathe package, the piece de resistance, is available for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

The Spa Dreaming Centre is seriously heavenly offering peaceful spaces, private pools and spa treatments such as Australian Aboriginal-inspired kodo full body massages to facials, mud and salt wraps, foot therapies and ancient healing stone experiences.

For a sneak peak of what you’re in for, check out

In future Peninsula Hot Springs have some grand plans regarding accommodation – its 17 hectare site will house 130 rooms of accommodation and a Wellness (Health and Wellbeing) Centre, with a plan for walking tracks leading to lakeside and hilltop relaxation areas. “There will be private lodges for couples, friends and groups of up to 14 as well as guest houses with double rooms and a capacity of 30. The lodges will include their own gardens and private outdoor hot spring baths, lounges with open fires and couches,” according to its website at, and with a view to having all rooms only a few minutes walk to the main Bath House and Spa Dreaming Centre.

And there’s more for lovebirds: “Some of the private honeymoon lodges will have their own separate yoga studio complete with a daybed – giving you every opportunity to do absolutely nothing but bliss out. Imagine on a clear summer or winter’s night laying out in your private mineral spring bath looking up at the Milky Way, wrapped up in the warmth of the good life…”

Peninsula Hot Springs, Melbourne’s nearest genuine hot springs experience located on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula.

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Five of the best boutique hotels in Sydney and luxury accommodation

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

THE Harbour City is overflowing with hotels, B&Bs, backpackers, hostels, apartments and more. When it comes to boutique hotels in Sydney or luxury accommodation, there is no better place than our NSW capital.

Where to start? Here are five to ponder for your next Sydney visit.

1. QT Hotel, Market St, Sydney (right)

Funky bar, slick restaurant, powerhouse design elements threaded throughout, bold and daring modern touches to complement the heritage architecture, and a location right in the heart of Sydney’s CBD in Market Street. QT is one of the smoothest movers on the boutique hotels Sydney scene with service second to none. Some awesome packages include booking your luxury accommodation and receiving one of a Spa Q treatment for two, or a brekky for two or dinner for two.


2. Blue Sydney – a Taj Hotel, the wharf at Woolloomooloo

A very stylish award-winner set on the water, BLUE Sydney is a hotspot and is located at the Wharf at Woolloomooloo Sydney. Offering special views of the Harbour foreshore, city lights and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Blue isn’t out of place on the trendy marina, entertainment and apartment complexes along the wharf promeade where delicious food awaits at restaurants considered as some of the best in the city.  The central business district, shopping strips, Sydney Opera House and The Royal Botanical Gardens are within easy walking distance from the hotel so you can’t really go wrong. Beautiful and spacious rooms as well as exquisite fit-outs make this a gem.


3. 1888 Hotel, Murry Street, Pyrmont

Have a guess when this snazzy hotel was built? Yep, 1888 sounds about right, so it’s certainly steeped in history. It’s located in a super convenient position in the inner-city suburb of Pyrmont, a mere walk away from Chinatown, Darling Harbour, great shopping streets and some of Sydney’s top watering holes and eateries (nearby Sokyo is a must for serious Japanese food!). The interiors are superb, quirky and comfy, featuring reclaimed Ironbark beams and period windows. The lobby bar and restaurant are super comfy to kick back in and 1888 is carving  a reputation for the outstanding service offered by its staff. This is one you can count on.


4. Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbout, Circular Quay

Sheer bliss is how this five-star luxury option in the heart of the action at Circular Quay can best be described. Gorgeous rooms have beautiful fit-outs and offer breathtaking views of the harbour. It also features a gym, sauna, spa and indoor pool. It’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from the famous Sydney Rocks district. The Pullman has outstanding serviced apartment style rooms with stellar views and right near all of Sydney’s attractions.


5. Ravesi’s Hotel on Bondi Beach (right)

Sydney ravesis
So, what’s not to like about this one? The ultimate beach right out front, Bondi Beach, that is arguably Australia’s most famous, along with a buzzing night life, 12 individually styled and gorgeous rooms, a great vibe downstairs in the Lowtide Bar, and the chance to enjoy a pre-dinner drink from a range of fresh and innovative cocktails at the award winning Drift cocktail lounge. Location, location, location and style, style, style. This is certainly one to write home about.

7 top spots for a sunrise or sunset in Sydney

By Australia / New South Wales / Sydney /

WHETHER you’re looking for stunning views of the city’s skyline, gardens or surrounding water, there are many places around Sydney where you can admire an incredible sunrise or sunset.

Here are some of the best spots for a spectacular sunrise or sunset in Sydney. 

1. Sydney Tower Eye

Sydney’s tallest building is the first place in the city to witness dawn and the last to see dusk. From the viewing platform you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of Australia’s largest city, including Sydney’s beaches, harbour and the Blue Mountains in the distance.

2. On the harbour

You don’t know what you’re missing until you’ve experienced sunrise or sunset on the water! Take a ferry or boat cruise in the evening or first thing in the morning on Sydney Harbour. Marvel as the sky changes colour and the sun’s rays bounce off the water.

3. Hornby Lighthouse, Watson’s Bay

Watch the sunrise and sunset from arguably one of Sydney’s most breathtaking coastal views, the Hornby Lighthouse. From the iconic red and white striped lighthouse, appreciate the evening sky’s extraordinary colours as they sweep across the sky above the Pacific Ocean.

4. Fairy Bower Rock Pool, Manly

An enchanting, dreamlike view when the sky’s blue, red and golden tones blend above you while walking along the Marine Parade. Admire the sky from the gorgeous Fairy Bower Rock Pool. Along its rock edge you’re also treated to the silhouette of ‘The Oceanides’ sculptures, which face the sea.

5. The Glenmore Rooftop Hotel

With sweeping 180-degree views of Sydney’s harbour and spectacular skyline, the Glenmore Rooftop Hotel in The Rocks is the perfect place to be when you just want to sit back, relax with some wine and enjoy the sunset.

6. The Gap

Golden rays break through the clouds and shine upon The Gap’s spectacular rocky cliffs in the early hours of the morning as the city wakes up. There are also some amazing views of Sydney Harbour and the magnificent city skyline.

7. Royal Botanic Gardens

A tranquil experience in the heart of the city, surrounded by a beautiful lake, Sydney Harbour, rose garden and themed garden areas. Escape to your own world at one of the several spots around the gardens as you take in Sydney’s sunset.



7 places in Australia where you can shoot a whale … relax! With a camera, we mean

By Australia / Brisbane / New South Wales / Queensland / Sydney /

EVERY year thousands of whales make the journey from Antarctica to the warmer waters along Australia’s east coast. From July to October it’s easy enough to hit the road in your hire car from Sydney or Brisbane and drive along our coastline to catch a glimpse of migrating Humpback whales. Here are seven places you can shoot one – with a camera, of course. We love them.

Cape Byron State Conservation Area
Where: 165km south west of Brisbane

Australia’s most easterly point, Byron Bay, is perfect for whale watching. The 3.7 km Cape Byron walking track is the conservation park’s main trail. Begin at the Cape Byron Lighthouse, where you’ll learn from volunteers about these fascinating creatures before strolling through rainforest and beaches where you’ll spot breaching humpbacks.

Port Macquarie whale watching tours
Where: 385km north east of Sydney
The abundance of marine life off Port Macquarie’s shoreline makes it ideal for migrating whales between June and October. Observe them closely in their natural environment with one of the area’s popular whale watching cruises.

Caves Beach Coastal Walk
Where: Wallarah National Park, 130km north east of Sydney
Not only does Wallarah National Park have incredible ocean and lake views, but its Cave Beach Coastal Walk has several spectacular whale watching spots. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for migrating whales as you follow the cliff line down to Quarries Head, passing beautiful beaches and caves.

Muttonbird Island
Where: 400km south of Brisbane
The island’s stunning environment is one of the Coffs Coast’s best areas for whale watching. Walk to the viewing platform at the eastern end of the island and you’ll understand why other travellers have labelled it “the perfect place for bird and whale watching”.

Look at Me Now Headland
Where: Emerald Beach, 390km south of Brisbane
This relatively easy trail takes you through a significant Aboriginal site and treats you to a wonderful array of flora and fauna. From the headland, you can also clearly see the scenic South Solidarity Island and its surrounding waters, where humpback whales pass between May and November.

Point Danger Lighthouse
Where: Tweed Heads, 100km south east of Brisbane
The lighthouse, which straddles the border between NSW and Queensland, attracts thousands of visitors each year. Many say the lighthouse, which was originally built to commemorate the bicentennial of Captain Cook’s first voyage, is a “must see” when crossing the border. Meanwhile, others come to this interesting site primarily to watch whales in the distance.

Pilot Hill, Yamba
Where: 280 km south of Brisbane
The Clarence Coast is home to many vantage points and lookouts, including Pilot Hill, which is a prime spot for whale watching. With panoramic ocean views from the top, people come from all over just to watch whales during migration.