Most frequent questions and answers

I have never even charged a deposit. Most booking sites do not provide any dog information prior to booking so when you read this, you know exactly what to expect. And if an accommodation hasn’t said much about it, assume there will be rules – ask before you stay. We work to ‘mitigation’ and total guest accountability.

How the ‘uber dog friendly’ policy works is we rely on people to know their dogs inside and out and make choices for them so that no pet damage occurs (inside or out). There is a very clear PET CHECKLIST sent on booking and displayed at the house Accountability is with guests end to end to clean up after them and prevent damage but the requirements are all simple and fair.

Pets (who will not bark excessively which would cause neighbour disturbance) can even stay unattended in the cottage. Crates are an absolute must if there’s even a slim chance of damage.

This is highly unusual to offer but in 4 years have only had a few incidents. I want you to be comfortable with your dogs! This is only possible due to the ongoing time spent engineering the cottages to be suitable AND with guest cooperation. Being truly dog friendly is an art – not something to tack onto a listing to gain bookings.

Cottages are dog friendly, not dog proof. The vibe is ‘nice original cottages’ – not shacks that you can hose down. There are some things to really be on top of and we make it easy and clear what those things are. You must know your dogs well to bring them on holiday in the cottages – there is a lot of freedom on offer so they need your help to set boundaries, supervise and ensure they are setup for success. 

Hepburn Springs is the main star. Located in walking (hilly) distance from HS Main road, short distance from Daylesford with fast NBN and smart TV etc. Still on a regional forest and really serene. 

Vaughan is our smaller little mining cottage (with larger zoomie land) *now with full laundry facilities in house*. The cottage is in a rural setting 18 minutes from HS and 14 minutes from Castlemaine. She’s mainly dedicated for weekends and special holiday periods and almost off grid (with dedicated Wifi for guest use/phone reception). Close enough to all the amazing eateries and farmers markets to go visit and bring home to chill out. 

Up to 2 doggies/cats and additional up to 4 maximum by request. Please contact us before booking if you are looking to bring 3 or 4 animals and we will send you the Pet Checklist to ensure it meets your needs and you are confident it’s workable around your plans/kids/other – then let us know if you agree to it. Sometimes with a full house of people and animals it isn’t possible to supervise (and they may get up to things in a strange place like cushion chewing which they haven’t done for years).

The reason we need to approve animals beyond 2 from June ’24 is due to a string of 3-4 dog stays where items have been damaged and some stays delayed due to;

  • us needing to do the pet cleaning. We had a really great run for nearly 4 years where 90% of guests cleaned up after their pets. It’s more like 10% in 2024. And cleaning after 3 or 4 animals takes time and this may not fit into your plans for your stay (and unfortunately does not fit into our cleaning window or the expectations of external cleaning help – something I cannot attract at a reasonable pricepoint due to the cleans required).
  • needing to move many house items and furniture back to original places that have been moved to accommodate dogs.

The Pet Checklist applies whether it’s 1, 2, 3 or 4 animals – it’s not discriminatory and there’s nothing huge in there. 

Catering of all items (bowls, blankets, beds) are for two dogs and BYO beyond if bringing additional animals or if bringing cats. 

Most places charge full house pricing and assume guests will have drop-ins. We’ve always charged based on guests (1, 2, 3, or 4) for more affordability as a gesture. We now have two pricing options.

1-2 guests

3-4 guests

Pricing assumes most bookings of 1-2 guests are one room (calculated not just on linen but setup and house usage). However of course there will be some cases two rooms are used for 2 people. 

A guest is any occupation of a bed for 1 night or more. If you have booked for 1-2 guests and will be adding a guest for a night or more, your full booking will need to be upgraded to the next package (3-4 guests). Due to an increase in 2 person bookings using the full house of linen, we may change this shortly to reflect this and still try to honour more affordability for 1 bedroom stays. 

This is fully self contained accommodation so majority is BYO and we keep things very simple here. Expect empty fridge (except fresh milk if chosen) and some pantry staples such as oils and salt/pepper, coffee and teas plus few rolls of “toot” paper. There may be leftover condiments from other guests and I certainly do add to things but additional supplies cannot be guaranteed and often disappear before your stay. So come prepared if you have favourite needs.

There are accommodations that focus on breakfast hampers or cute supplies as a way to differentiate themselves from other cottages. We focus on personal (extensive) furry friend setups exclusively and are fully unique here. This takes a lot more time and investment to ensure it runs well and remains highly welcoming – we have often needed to deal with 45 pieces of human and dog friendly pieces of linen from a stay (average is 10). When I tell people what I need to do to set the cottages up for ultimate furry friend comfort, they certainly agree that a breakfast hamper sounds like a dream to provide in comparison!

So BYO beyond. Because you can get jam and muesli anywhere. But you can only have breakfast in bed with your dog (or have them propped up on the couch with you) at very select places, like ours.

On Firewood

Firewood provisions are considered for ambience when coupled with the numerous other heating sources. Initial fire set during cool weather. Only commercial dry split wood or logs to be used in the fireplace.

Provisions year round

Initial ‘natural’ kindling (sticks) provided for a couple of fires – to be used across the woodheater or firepit, your choice. Forage dry firepit wood or BYO preferred kindling beyond.

The fireside (or patio at Vaughan) log holder will be stocked with initial split logs – approximately 10 kilos. After this, additional large local bags are available conveniently at $20 onsite at Hepburn Springs with an honesty box.

For Vaughan there is a local supplier who provides the same bags across from Vaughan Springs at a bargain price during cold weather. If they’re not there for the season yet or depleted for the weekend, Chewton service station stocks them.

Firepit for Hepburn Springs

Always put away during the whole fire danger period (usually mid Nov to start of May) – unfortunately out of our control. Neighbouring dry sticks/ wood can be used for firepit instead of the redgum if you wish.

  • The yards are fully fenced and lowest is 87cm high (Vaughan deck where they wouldn’t be left alone).
  • They are bordered by regional parks so will be enticing/stimulating for your dogs. Vaughan is fenced from the separate land with safe front yard plays instead. No getting under houses or in nooks and crannies.
  • Neighbours are few
  • Yards are landscaped and relatively hardy but have many plants and fruit trees – just need to ensure no digging.
  • They are more welcome than anywhere! Accountability is with you for your dog/s. Read the Main Doggy Mitigations below for detail.
  • The dog friendly bed option is for fully continent dogs only (no leak doggies only please).
  • They are not suitable places to leave barking dogs outside or damage/accident possible dogs inside (unless crated).

A comprehensive Pet Checklist is provided and displayed onsite at Hepburn Springs. No pets on human soft furnishings (blankies or cushions) but fully welcome on couches so just mitigate the above. A small rolled grey blanket or summer couch ‘sheet’ per dog (up to 2) is provided or BYO favourite couch blankie. Just pop the cushions away from dog access. If you have extreme shedders or large/excess pets we would appreciate you bringing some of your own larger blankets as the fleecy blankets are on the small side.

Dogs either attended or unattended;

  • Are at your own risk and mitigation because you know your pets.
  • Should not be left outside alone as this could be a neighbour issue (barking).

Unused bedrooms remain closed for all stays so upgrade your booking if needed prior to your stay.

An extensive setup where everything including the mattress protector (if there’s sheet evidence of dogs) is removed after your stay – quite a big production. A special recipe really – but I’ll keep my secrets from my competitors. PS did you know that a good majority of accommodation just changes your bottom sheet and two pillow cases between stays, going by the sight and sniff method?

We happily offer dog friendly linen as complimentary for ‘one’ bedroom currently if you check the box on the checkout. A second bedroom from June 2024 is an optional extra at an additional $60 – this is also an option to choose on checkout.

Otherwise no dogs on beds and – in order to avoid excess cleaning charges – there must be no evidence of this.

The setup isn’t grandma’s sheets, either. It’s hefty Canningvale or flax linen. No aesthetic throws or cushions are provided when a dog friendly bed is chosen/added. Electric blankets are on all beds and guests are encouraged to BYO favourite hefty blanket if require additional warmth – we cannot provide heavy/serious blankets in the home due to the dog hair and the strict cooperation this would require to be pet free and clean for the next guests.

Simply put, we know what it takes to serve every guest with the bare minimum foundation – a clean and sanitary, lovely pet friendly house. And to be able to keep offering it without it becoming restrictive, unattainable or unmanageable.

If you are a regular you may see our small increase in pricing in June 2024 and the retirement of the VIP code after nearly 5 years. The VIP code is a natural change based on most of our guests now being repeat (i.e. discounting every stay). The price increase is mainly to offset ongoing high utility usage and the increase to length of cleans required in 2024. There are reductions per night for bookings 4 nights and above that are automatically built in.

Pricing points for cottages are otherwise based on the work involved such as below needed for most stays;

  • Pet friendly human beds are created and laundered (due to increase in a full house of dog friendly linen being required, the second bedroom as dog friendly is now an optional charge).
  • Dog blankets and towels freshly washed and dried
  • Futon covers washed frequently
  • Extra poop checks
  • Strict floor sanitation
  • There can be up to 70 pieces of linen used requiring strict laundering (and always the dryer) for a stay – prior to toning down the pet blanket provision.

And far more including up to three times more hours onsite than a ‘regular cottage’, maintaining things due to high wear and tear, constant soft furnishing washing including rugs and bed fabric.

They can’t be compared to a luxury cottage from a standard rent perspective (that won’t accept your pets in the same accommodating way). It’s an experience that’s being offered and rather than being extra income, it’s a true living with full time investment.

Checkout the cottage Instagram for how our stays make guests feel with the special tiny touches and the work involved to allow you to RELAX with your animals. 

  • Deposit bookings are available for bookings greater than 30 days in advance.
  • 50% is due on booking, whether bank transfer or Stripe.
  • The remainder will either be sent as a casual email reminder when due, or sent as a quick Stripe payment link. All bookings to be paid in full 30 days prior to your stay. 

Due to the intricacy of setups and cleans around pets – and being mainly one person for the same reason (too much required for a standard cleaner) –  early check ins or late check outs are not available at any time.

Guests need to ensure to remove themselves/cars/property and animals by the provided check-out time so we have clear access.

Part teddy bear, part monkey. A Finnish Lapphund. This is a frequently asked question believe it or not! And now we have Mana the Maremma (1/4 great pyrenees) who is a fast growing pupper.

The land for both cottages is sloped. We’ve found this can be navigated by people with walkers (who can access around the back with two steps on the pavement). There is a small step at both that can make wheelchair access difficult – but not impossible with a friend – and the Hepburn cottage is all flat inside, with one step at Vaughan. We have had guests come and care onsite for elderly family and they have stayed inside/on the deck which has worked well once in.

If you have a wheelchair or specific requirements, please get in touch as I will be able to have a more personal discussion and share photos. 

At Vaughan you can drive directly up to the door and just navigate the initial step.

Local and happy to receive contact but always pends reception. The cottages are down to earth, self contained, self accountable sort of places where you will be doing your own thing once here. The Ebooks are your best reference which are changed monthly for guest convenience. Cottages are also extremely nature surrounded so be comfortable dealing with some elements and possum noise 🙂

We work with different community organisations and people who are aiming to support the wellbeing of themselves and others. If you have a small gathering, an informal wellness retreat (this could be you supporting a friend or a carer) or otherwise want to discuss these please get in touch.

Hepburn has fast NBN suitable for working from home. Netflix, etc.

Vaughan is our almost off grid cottage but now has internet for the purpose of reception, emails, social media, zoom (no video streaming). So she is fully online for reception purposes now. The speed is certainly workable but not as fast as Hepburn.