November 22, 2020 | 4 minute read
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.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
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.
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.