After the world’s longest lockdown, Victorians deserve some pampering. Luckily, some of the best spa and wellness retreats are on hand to help. Natural springs, beaches, lakes, farms and wine regions and are ready to welcome the state’s – and the country’s – pandemic tragics in need of relief. Here are 10 health and wellness holidays to rejuvenate.
Only seven suites are available at this exclusive adults-only spa on the Bellarine Peninsula. Hidden on a hill by the ocean, Lon reminds you to slow down. Take a dip in the mineral waters of the heated pool and hot tub. Wander along a private beach track or nature trail, visiting grazing cows. Play bocce on the lawns or board games by the fireplace. Have a massage or facial in Lon Spa with views of the sea and coastal landscape. Then go back to your room to immerse in the ultimate bath, fed directly from the springs running beneath the farmland. Watch the sunrise above the lighthouse from your breakfast bench and see the sunset from your terrace, spotting ships as they enter Bass Strait.
Salus Spa At Lake House
Rise above it all in a treehouse spa with views of the Wombat State Forest and 2.5 hectares of gardens rolling down to the shores of Lake Daylesford. Country life doesn’t get much more idyllic. Rituals include Sweet Dreams to ease a busy brain, Woodland Bliss using hot volcanic rocks and warm oil to soothe the body, and the Mineral Soak & Massage Experience, ending with a private mineral spa. Many people come here for the restaurant, led by co-owner Alla Wolf-Tasker AM. Enjoy lunch on the deck or an eight-course tasting menu for dinner, which draws on the best of the region’s seasonal ingredients and seafood. Book a waterfront suite to complete the treat.
For a mental health booster, Samadhi Retreat will transport you to a tranquil, oriental-style world of mindfulness and meditation. Reiki, art therapy, sound healing and guided visualisations are among the formats used to help overcome burnout or lockdown fatigue. Experiences can be tailored for your personal needs or you can choose from a retreat program. The Nurture Retreat is designed for stressed people, Inner Peace Retreat addresses emotional turmoil, and Energise aims to reignite your spark. Organic meals are prepared daily and served within the privacy of your apartment. Samadhi is only 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne, an easy escape from the city.
Deep Blue Hotel & Hot Springs
Choose from 15 self-guided experiences in the open-air bathing sanctuary at the Deep Blue, Victoria’s first hot springs hotel, in seaside Warrnambool. Move between the foot spa, aromatherapy pool, cleansing waterfalls and sensory caves combining steam and colour therapy. Bathing can also be done indoors in the bath house, which has an open geothermal mineral pool and four private bathing rooms, as well as a day spa offering facials, massages, body scrubs and mud wraps. At night, don’t miss the adults-only twilight sessions in illuminated geothermal rockpools.
Deep underneath the property is an ancient source of geothermal water, naturally heated to 35-40 degrees, which is said to help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, purify the skin, lower blood pressure and soothe aching muscles.
The hotel is near bushwalking and cycling tracks, Warrnambool’s main beach and Middle Island, and has an on-site restaurant and gardens.
Hepburn Bathhouse And Spa
Hepburn Springs is regarded as the spa capital of Australia, and this historic retreat dates back to 1895. Famous for its mineral bathing, Hepburn Bathhouse has two social spaces and private baths delivering a blend of Celtic sea, Himalayan and Epsom salts to repair the body. Not only for women, Hepburn has men’s facials, couples-retreat packages and the Social Spa experience, aimed at families or groups of up to four people to relax and reconnect. Accommodation is in elegant, self-contained villas with gas log fire, double marble spa bath and balcony with native bushland views.
There’s something calming about minimalist Japanese decor, from the moment you walk through those rice paper sliding doors. As a traditional Japanese inn, Shizuka Ryokan is a quiet space with a Zen rock garden and bonsai, tatami mats and yukata robes, shoji screens and futon beds. Japanese cuisine, washed down with detoxifying cups of green tea, is another drawcard. The signature treatment is a Geisha facial with an aromatic massage of the scalp, neck and shoulders. It’s also located in Hepburn Springs, around 75 minutes from Melbourne.
Peninsula Hot Springs
Mornington Peninsula’s geothermal mineral waters lure people to this award-winning retreat with an astonishing 25 pools. The family-friendly bathhouse is open from 5am until 11pm, but overnight guests can bathe under the stars, including a light supper. Private bathing pavilions and outdoor pools are also available during the day for guests 16 years and older. There are three ways to experience the health benefits. ‘Recharge’ is a one-hour bathing session, ‘Revitalise’ offers a range of 50 treatments and ‘Restore’ is an all-day retreat, including bath house entry, picnic hamper and scheduled activities such as a body clay ritual, stretching classes, and guided meditation. Book one of the 10 glamping tents with private deck, ensuite bathroom, heated floors and king bed. Among the inclusions are breakfast, access to a reserved pool and the opportunity to join a movement class and fire and ice activity.
At the gateway to Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Desa is a purpose-built yoga studio and garden, set among the bushland and beaches near Jan Juc. Surf and yoga retreats are held throughout the year to connect you to both the land and sea, or you can book private surf or yoga sessions. There’s a tiny house for travellers seeking a minimalist stay as well as more luxurious eco villas accommodating up to four people. Plant-based, home-cooked meals, using produce from the onsite garden, are delivered to your door for breakfast and dinner.
This women-only Yarra Valley yoga retreat attracts a 50/50 mix of solo guests and friends who travel together. You can request to be paired with another female traveller to share a twin room, and be connected before your holiday to get to know each other. Packages combine yoga, wine-tasting and vegetarian meals. Sleeping in is prioritised over crack-of-dawn classes.
Lancemore Mansion Hotel And Spa At Werribee Park
You don’t have to go far to reach this old favourite, in Melbourne’s western suburbs, 30 minutes from the CBD. Built in 1870, the grand mansion, surrounded by 10 acres of English gardens, is a five-star hotel with spa, pool, sauna, steam room, traditional Hammam chamber and a modern restaurant and bar. Since the 1920s it hosted St Joseph’s Seminary, a spiritual retreat and college for the Catholic Church, but now it offers spiritual journeys of the spa treatment kind.