'Taking the waters'
As hard as it may be to believe today, there was one resource that took precedence over gold in the 1800s: spring water. Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges boasts more than 60 mineral springs, largely concentrated around the villages of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. It was these, as much as the prospect of easy riches that attracted the first wave of Swiss Italian migrants to the area.
Saving the springs
Rich in magnesium, calcium and silica, among other minerals, the region's springs are believed to cure all sorts of afflictions from acne to arthritis. By the early 1800s, the locals were aware of these health benefits and lobbied the local council to halt sluicing for gold to protect the water. That lead to the creation of the Mineral Springs Reserve in 1865 and, in 1895, the Hepburn Bathhouse was built.
Connect with this rich history every time you fill a bottle or sample the waters from one of the many mineral springs dotted around the region. Picnic under the period rotunda at Kyneton Mineral Springs Reserve and use the old pump to sample the famed mineral water.
Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa
Although it only originally housed two pools, the Hepburn Bathhouse was an integral part of the community until, due to disrepair, it was closed and renovated at a cost of $13 million. Reopened in September 2008, the original building now houses a relaxing, sun-filled reception lounge for the 30 wet and dry spa treatment rooms. Guests can bathe in the newly built communal relaxation and spa pools, lie back on the spa couches or in the salt therapy pool in The Sanctuary, or choose from a full array of relaxing treatments using Thalgo and Sodashi products. Private mineral baths are also available. Combining a soak in the mineral-rich water with a massage or body wrap is ultimate rejuvenating experience. Don't forget to try the spring water after your bathing ritual.