Water. It has always held mystery in its magic. The value of thermal and mineral waters has been known since ancient times. The Greeks built temples to divinities they associated with the springs. Post-battle Rome’s fatigued legions took to the natural, hot spring water to ease their pain and treat their wounds. Then Christianity discredited it, as hedonistic – spiritual purification was the priority.
Trips to ‘spas’ became a status symbol in the late 16th century. Later, La Roche-Posay’s Selenium rich waters drew world fame. Napoleon had a thermal hospital built there. Germany’s Wiesbaden has been welcoming guests since 1836. Today, Hungary’s Héviz, Switzerland’s Thermae Vals, Japan’s Takaragawa Onsen and New Zealand’s Waikite Valley are all renowned for their therapeutic benefits.
Charles Davidson had an epiphany when he spent time at a number of thermal springs in Kusatsu, Japan in 1992. After scouting a number of geothermal sites on the Mornington Peninsula and much soul searching they bought 42 acres of rolling hillside overlooking the ocean. It took a lot of blood, sweat, tears (and a broken drilling rod) to eventually bore 637 metres to reach the natural hot mineral waters in 2002.
They wanted to not only integrate the landscape; they wanted an Australian interpretation of a thermal spring water spa. The team planted 40,000 plants to enhance the spectacular site. Indigenous ground covers have regenerated after planting the canopy trees and frogs and birds have returned. The dream finally became a reality with Stage One – the Dreaming Centre opening in 2005.
Peninsula Hot Spring’s plentiful aquifer is approximately 50 degrees Celsius. The pools vary in temperature from 43 to 36 degrees. The vast site comprises two main bathing areas – the Bath House and Spa Dreaming Centre.
The pictures here will never truly reflect how magnificent this vast complex really is. From cave pools to an underground sauna and the Hammam, the range of experiences is extraordinary. The hilltop pool offers unbeatable views of the Peninsula, the reflexology walk stimulates all the senses and there are spots ideal for families and others designed for complete chill-out. The new Royal Moroccan tent should be top of the list for corporate team-building or spa parties.
Enter the Spa Dreaming Centre and you don’t at first appreciate what lies beyond. Carved out of the bush it is serene and calming. With relaxing thermal mineral pools, infrared sauna, cold plunge pool and much more it makes for thorough indulgence. There are private thermal mineral pools and private bathing pavilions for couples or a little ‘me’ time. A kids-free zone, the Spa Dreaming Centre is a tranquil retreat. An hour or so here and you will leave relaxed and rejuvenated.
They really do put the spa into day spa at the Spa Dreaming Centre with delicious therapies using a range of restorative products. Massage therapists use a warm grape balm made from the seeds and skins of local Mornington Peninsula grapes. Therapeutic mud treatments include a warm body mud mask and massage.
The vision for Peninsula Hot Springs is not yet complete. Plans are underway to build accommodation and a Wellness Centre with walking tracks leading to meditative spots with views that go on forever.
Melburnians don’t understand how lucky they are to have this paradise on their doorstep. The Davidson brothers and their backers dreamt big and as a result have a world-class facility. And because it is in Australia all are welcome to enjoy the invigorating and relaxing waters at the astonishing Peninsula Hot Springs.