Jae Laffer, musician
Born in Perth, but based now in the village of Kyneton, singer-songwriter Jae Laffer has been a staple on the Australian music scene since 2000. His break came as lead vocalist for ARIA award-winning indie rock group, The Panics. And after five critically acclaimed albums, and three EPs, he launched a successful solo career in 2013.
These days you can find him in his studio on Kyneton’s historic Piper St, experimenting, recording new albums, and teaching himself the basics of production.
“A few years ago, before COVID, I moved to Kyneton from Melbourne's inner north with my young family. We were not the only people doing the exodus, looking for somewhere more affordable and maybe a little more space. Out of the gridlock and into lockdown I rented a studio space on Kyneton’s historic Piper St, where I’ve spent recent times teaching myself to record and produce,” Jae says.
“In Kyneton I've found a brilliant community of people, and the space to create. Of all the places I’ve lived, I’ve never seen so much effort to improve the community, and so many people getting a dream off the ground. You can see it growing around you. It's one of the coolest places in Australia to live.”
We sat down with Jae to learn his favourite spots in Daylesford and the Macedon Ranges.
1. Radio Springs Hotel, Lyonville
One of my favourite pubs in Australia. It’s a bit like your mad Aunty’s house in the hills that someone happened to build a pub in. Park your car in Trentham and you can walk there through the track in Wombat Forest. It takes about half an hour. The Hotel has a little locals’ front bar and a sprawling restaurant. There's even a little cinema.
2. Malmsbury Viaduct
Malmsbury is a quiet little village that's definitely worth stopping in. There's really old botanical gardens, which open up to the old viaduct. It plays with your eyes because it's like a backdrop from a Charles Dickens book. If you go up and around, you can walk along the dam wall and make it into a beautiful old cemetery.
3. Hanging Rock
The rocks appears out of nowhere as you drive towards it. It's worth a trek for the views at the top, and just because it's such a legendary place. I’ve seen some good gigs at the rock, including Nick Cave and Springsteen. Definitely go if there's ever a gig on, but go anyway for a hike.
4. Turpins Falls
It gets crowded, but it's pretty cool. Tall cliffs with kids jumping off from dangerous heights. Families sprawled around on blow up couches looking for shade. This is my favourite swimming spot in the area, but there's a bunch of others to explore. Try the Cascades for a smaller spot. You can sit on some rocks and read a book with your legs in the stream.
5. Piper St Wine Co, Kyneton
Kyneton has great food and wine , which is good, because I live there. Piper Street is the prettiest stretch of shops, and it has the Piper St Wine Company. It’s a big, old building with the best garden out the back, real pretty, and nice locals who make their own wine. They run the show.