January 9, 2020 / By Rebecca Crisp
When natural hot springs were discovered on the Mornington Peninsula in the late 1970s, it was just a matter of time before someone spotted the potential for relaxing spa times. But it took 20 years and a visit to Japan before brothers Charles and Richard achieved their dream of opening Peninsula Hot Springs in 1997.
Spending time in an outdoor Japanese onsen (hot springs resorts) gave the brothers the idea of tapping the peninsula’s magical waters as a sprawling open-air bathing complex. Fast forward another 20 years or so and Peninsula Hot Springs is a tranquil haven of cedar tubs, fluffy white robes and hanging egg chairs, all working in perfect harmony with the natural surroundings.
Scrubby coastal trees and stately gums line the hillside, creating cloistered spaces for stone pools, hot tubs and hammocks. Things get pretty crowded on weekends and school holidays, so the best time to visit for maximum personal space is mid-week if you can swing it. Booking ahead is essential.
You could very easily while away a whole day at Peninsula Hot Springs and still not get around to dipping a toe in all the experiences on offer. To help you prioritise your chillaxing, here are five ways to take the waters and get the most out of your visit.
Well, obviously. But first, you’ll have to decide: hang out in the social Bath House area, opt for the grown-ups only Spa Dreaming Centre or retreat to a private sanctuary. If it helps you decide, bookings for the Spa Dreaming Centre or private bathing also include access to the public area.
The Bath House space is ranged around a central lake and offers a staggering 50 different ways to get your relax on, including pools and tubs of varying sizes and temperatures, an underground sauna, a Turkish hammam, an ice cave and the adorable baby barrels, which are exactly what it says on the tin – babies in barrels! But the real showstopper is the famous hilltop pool, with a 360-degree view of lush Red Hill.
If you prefer your relaxation cut with a little gentle exercise, considering joining one of the many wellness activities on offer. Things start off sedately enough with a body clay ritual and hot springs yoga, but escalate quickly to aerial yoga and “hot and cold therapy”, which will have you flowing between sauna, Deep Freeze chamber, cold plunge pool and hot springs.
Have a massage
You’ve already committed to a day of robe-wearing and lounging around, so why not surrender completely to self-care with a massage or facial? From sea salt exfoliations to organic mineral mud wraps, the spa options will take your me-time to the next level. Curl up on a couch in the Moroccan tent and sip some mint tea before enjoying a treatment with a name like Unwind, Rejuvenate or Bliss.
If all that unwinding has made you peckish, Peninsula Hot Springs has you covered for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snacking. The Spa Dreaming Centre Café will prepare you a wholesome, nourishing meal guaranteed not to undo all that good work you’ve just done to improve mind, body and spirit. The Bath House Café and Amphitheatre Cafe also remove temptation in favour of light, healthy options, which happily include gourmet pizza. You’re welcome to take your noms over to the picnic area, or even bring your own.
Stay the night
Can’t face going home again after all that bliss? Soon you won’t have to. Peninsula Hot Springs is currently developing a range of onsite accommodation options. You’ll be able to book a room or a private lodge that aims to help you connect with the natural landscape, opening onto coastal walking trails and hilltop relaxation spaces. If you fancy getting even closer to nature, fancy-pants glamping pods are due to open in late 2019/early 2020. So, bathe, relax, dine, sleep, repeat!
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