Marketed as the ‘spa centre of Victoria’, this couplet of conjoined towns is a hugely popular weekend getaway for Melburnians. Set among the scenic hills, lakes and forests of Central Highlands, it's a fabulous year-round destination where you can soak away your troubles in warm, mineral-rich waters and dine in some of regional Victoria's best eateries. The local population is an interesting blend of New Agers, urbanites and down-to-earth farmers. There’s also a thriving gay and lesbian scene here.
The health-giving properties of the area’s mineral springs were first claimed in the 1870s, attracting droves of fashionable Melburnians. The well-preserved and restored buildings show the prosperity of these towns, as well as the lasting influence of the many Swiss-Italian miners who came to work the tunnel mines in the surrounding hills.