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. We work to ‘mitigation’. Not rules!

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 – like no diggies outside). Accountability is with guests for all damage. This is highly unusual to offer but in 4 years have rarely had an incident – 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. 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 but nothing onerous; jumping up/scratching windows, nesting (clawing) couches, chewing anything, accidents on beds, garden decimation or failure to notice a whoopsie. But we are more dog proof than the vast majority and make it easy. Now even with washable water repellent rugs in both cottages!

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. The laundry is inhouse.

Vaughan is our smaller little mining cottage (with larger zoomie land) in a rural setting 18 minutes from HS and 14 minutes from Castlemaine. She’s mainly dedicated for weekends and special holiday periods. Almost off grid she has limited reception in the gully but new guest WiFi so you can access calls, email, general internet and socials (but no video streaming – watch the DVDs offered instead). Close enough to all the amazing eateries and farmers markets to go visit and bring home to chill out. No laundry use.

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 sweat and time to ensure it runs well, dog evidence is removed and it’s highly welcoming. 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 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. After this, additional large local bags are available conveniently at $20 onsite at Hepburn Springs after this time with an honesty box.

For Vaughan there is a local supplier who provides bags across from Vaughan Springs during cold weather. If they’re not there for the season yet, 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).

I’ve never had an objection to pricing and been more booked out than any other dog friendly place in the region for the majority of 4 years (Hepburn Springs).

But just to clarify, whilst midweek and longer stay (3 nights and beyond) are crafted to be enticing, the pricing – particularly for weekends – is specific to the amount of work required to welcome ALL dogs (and cats) in all ways. Generally I or a helper will need to spend an additional 1.5 hours per stay to ensure the following;

  • Pet friendly beds are created
  • Futons and dog blankets freshly washed and dried
  • Dog friendly linen is dealt with all onsite
  • Dog towels washed and dried
  • Vacuuming can be a three time occurrence (I do ask now that hairy dog owners like myself try to take care of the bulk)
  • Extra poop checks
  • Strict floor sanitation

Then the extras if the occasional naughty has been accidentally left by guests (cushions, human blankets, muddy paw walls or glass). 

So that’s my long winded way of saying that the cottages and prices are not comparable in a realestate manner. That’s not how it works. It’s an experience that’s being offered and a true living that is being supported which must reflect time investment to keep this all going.

If my pricing is more expensive than a house in close proximity that is more luxurious, it’s not comparable (especially in 2024 where a lot of places are dropping their pants on pricing to increase bookings). Unless they offer the same experience.

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. Afterpay as an option can be requested – however the additional fees (beyond usual Stripe fees) will be payable by the customer. Please contact us if you wish to know this amount and we’ll organise a payment link after booking.

Just a special triple sheeted scenario with cushions and blankets removed. Doggy friendly linen is completely complimentary so just tick the box on the checkout! Otherwise no dogs on beds and unfortunately no peeing puppies or incontinent dogs on beds at any time. More info available to guests upon booking.

No early check ins or late check outs – whether it’s 5 minutes or 20. Even if there appears to be a night’s gap after you.

We leave dates open for booking until 12pm on the same day so need to prepare for them on time (and we offer single nights if there’s a gap inbetween). Please sort other activities in the region and drive down the road after the check in time to avoid upset dogs, upset helpers and general stress and carnage. Our cleaning window is the shortest in town. Thank you.

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’ is provided or BYO favourite couch blankie. Just pop the cushions away from dog access.

Dogs either attended or unattended inside or in secure yards.

  • Are at your own risk and mitigation because you know your pets.

Unused bedrooms remain closed for all stays

Up to 3 doggies/cats and additional on request. Catering is for two and BYO.

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 but the speed is slower than Hepburn.