If the stresses of end-of-year deadlines and the holiday season – and, let’s face it, 2020 – are getting the better of you, there’s a good chance you’re in need of a hot soak, a steam, a massage, a facial, some aromatherapy or just some general pampering. After the year we’ve had, we think it’s okay to treat yourself – or someone close to you.
Victoria isn’t quite a geothermal hotspot, but hot springs do pop up in some unexpected places. You can bathe in hot pools surrounded by native bush on the Mornington Peninsula; head west to Warrnambool to wade through warm-water caves; or get your gear off in a traditional Japanese onsen in the heart of Collingwood. In partnership with Click for Vic, an initiative that encourages people to support Victorian businesses, we point you towards some of the state’s best spas and hot springs, both city and country.
With many spas operating at limited capacity due to Covid-19 restrictions, be sure to check availability and booking requirements before you leave home. If you're browsing for someone else, consider a gift voucher.
Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Peninsula
One of the Mornington Peninsula’s most popular attractions, the Peninsula Hot Springs in Fingal is a rite of passage for weary city slickers in need of blissful, rural relaxation.
Victoria’s first natural hot springs was established by brothers Charles and Richard Davidson in 1997. What started out as a bathtub by an aquifer is now a glistening, world-class complex, attracting nearly half a million visitors each year.
Steam rises from tiered hot pools that flow down through the native bush. Natural geothermal mineral water soothes your muscles and relaxes you completely. All you need now is a bathhouse massage (tick); a spa treatment (tick); and maybe a fine-dining experience and some stylish glamping accommodation (tick and tick).
The Spa Dreaming Centre – a separate sanctuary within the sanctuary, for guests aged 16 and up – includes a cold plunge pool; bamboo showers; saunas (both traditional and infra-red); a Moroccan hammam; a complete spa menu with facials and relaxation massages; and poolside lounges. No sign of the old bathtub.
Hepburn Springs Bathhouse and Spa, Hepburn Springs
Hepburn Springs is a region where mineral springs seem to pop up everywhere, like puddles after rain. You’ll find Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa at the Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve, 10 minutes north of Daylesford.
The historic bathhouse – which is open to children and adults – dates back to the late 19th century, although it’s safe to say the modernity has been ratcheted up a notch or two since. The sanctuary mineral bathing option (for guests aged 16 and up) includes an aroma steam room; spa couches; a salt and magnesium pool; outdoor creekside bathing; and admission to the main bathhouse.
Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs, Warrnambool
This complex is fed by the natural geothermic waters of the Dilwyn aquifer, located 850 metres underground. The set-up at Deep Blue is fairly causal, in keeping with Warrnambool’s laid-back vibe. Explore the geothermal rockpools and wade through caves to a rainforest waterfall; have a massage or facial at the spa; or stay within the manicured gardens, where there are a myriad of hot pools (and a bar and a cafe).
If you don’t want to leave after all that, you don’t have to – just book into the on-site hotel. The premium suites have spa baths, just in case you haven’t had your fill of soaking.
Ofuroya Japanese Bathhouse, Collingwood
You could live in Melbourne your whole life and not know there’s a quiet Japanese bathhouse in the heart of busy Collingwood. Located on Cromwell Street, just across the road from Allpress and Rupert on Rupert, Ofuroya is modelled on a traditional onsen. This is a public bathing experience in the earthiest sense (yes, you get naked – bathing suits aren’t permitted).
The baths are communal, with separate sessions for men and women. Towels, scrubbing cloths and kimonos are provided, as is shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. For the full Japanese relaxation and healing experience, book a shiatsu session (a type of acupressure massage) to restore your energy balance and stimulate the skin.
Miss Fox, Melbourne
This luxe beauty boutique in the heart of the CBD’s Little Collins Street fashion district, was opened by Victoria Fox in 2011. Step off the city streets and relax in the lounge before settling down on a plush, heated massage bed for a full-body aromatherapy massage with camellia seed, rose or coconut oil.
But Miss Fox does so much more than massage – you can get your hair cut and styled; sign up for a life coaching or counselling session; or check into the skin clinic for a comprehensive consultation and your choice of medifacial or professional peel. Laser hair removal and brow lamination? Sure, they can do that.
There’s also a champagne and dessert bar, so you can enjoy a glass or two of Moet, Veuve or Dom Perignon with a mousse or meringue tart, courtesy of Royal St Collins. (You wouldn’t want to leave too healthy, would you?)
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Visit Victoria. Support Victorian producers by buying online through Click for Vic and hitting the road to visit in person.*