It’s always a pleasure to explore an unfamiliar part of one’s own country. I’d not heard of Hepburn Springs, Victoria but when my family suggested I fly down and spend the weekend there, I said sure. Hepburn Springs, two hours out of Melbourne and ten minutes from the town of Daylesford, has the country’s largest concentration of mineral springs and more spas and resorts than it has supermarkets.
My brother and I stayed at a gorgeous modern holiday home called Breakneck Gorge, a birthday gift to my brother from our sister. We didn’t even bother going to any of the spas around town because the place was so nice. And you haven’t relaxed until you’ve had a bubble bath in a spa with a glass of wine.
The best part was the wildlife. Contrary to popular belief, not every Australian sees kangaroos regularly as most of us live in cities. I saw my first one in the wild earlier this year and, unfortunately, it was a dead one on the highway to Toowoomba. To my absolute delight, Breakneck Gorge is full of kangaroos and they hang out near the house in the early hours of the morning.
I know Americans have a particular fascination with koalas but, while they’re cute, they’re grouchy and they’re frequently infected with chlamydia. Kangaroos, on the other hand – along with the related wallabies, pademelons and other bounding marsupials – are gorgeous animals and like nothing else on this planet. To see them hopping so close to me filled me with a child-like joy.
There’s only a few non-spa businesses in Hepburn Springs so to get something to eat, we ventured to Daylesford. It has a charming town center where I saw this Range Rover Vogue.
The badge says this is a Vogue LSE 4.2 V8, using the stroked version of the Rover (nèe Buick) 3.5 V8 that was introduced in 1992. There’s one small catch: the 4.2 was never sold here – our Vogue LSEs kept the regular 3.5 – so either the badge has been added or this is a personal import. Land Rover Australia’s rationale for not offering the 4.2 was that rural drivers had less access to premium unleaded fuel which the 4.2 required. Remember, this was a time when a luxury, full-size SUV was a novelty. Even back then, though, I wonder how many of these Vogues actually went off the beaten track.
Vogue LSEs – badged County LWB in North America – had a 108-inch wheelbase, 8 inches longer than the regular Range Rover. They also saw the introduction of electronic air suspension.
Coming right at the end of the first-generation Range Rover’s long lifecycle, these Vogue LSEs were the poshest, most upmarket Range Rovers yet, the options list including Italian Poplar veneer picnic tables for the rear passengers. The color-keyed wheels are a nice touch.
In a town with a public school that looks as fancy as this, I’d say this rig looks right at home in Daylesford.