The Mornington Peninsula is a region southwest of Melbourne, that's popular for it's beaches, inland winery and outdoor activities. These are what make it the perfect spot for a weekend (or more) away. What drew us to the Mornington Peninsula was the allure of the natural hot springs and since we were already going to be in the area, why not make a weekend of it!
Peninsula Hot Springs
The Peninsula Hot Springs are the first natural hot springs and day spa in Victoria. Natural thermal mineral waters flow into the pools and baths creating an amazing place of zen and relaxation. We indulged with the "Lunch and Bath Package" in the Spa Dreaming Centre. This included jumping through all the different thermal pools as well as experimenting with infrared saunas, hammam (steam room), zen chi machines and massaging bamboo showers. Some of these were more relaxing than others, for example, I would describe the cold plunge pool as more exhilarating than relaxing. None the less, when there are health benefits involved it becomes a bit more of mind over matter. One of the most thrilling experiences happened after we'd finished bathing. We were encouraged to make our way to the restaurant for lunch while still in our robes. Among a sea of robe clad guests, we also got to relax our stomachs with a lovely prepared menu.
Aquabelle isn't just an apartment, its a cultural experience. After spending a day relaxing at the Hot Springs, Aquabelle was the perfect way to end the day. It was a well balanced mix of beach lifestyle and luxury. Even though it was positioned right in the heart of Rye, with restaurants and cafes in walking distance, we had no desire to leave the sanctuary of our apartment. Instead we cooked up a storm, enjoyed over a glass of red wine and a friendly........who am I kidding....... more like a very competitive board game. Aquabelle is only a 9 min drive from the Peninsula Hot Springs making it a great place to stay if you are wanting to turn your bathing experience into a weekend away.
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After recently returning from two weeks off work, I literally only had three days at work before my Mornington Peninsula weekend away. I felt like those three days were the hardest three days I've ever worked in my life! Instead of coming back to work refreshed and rejuvenated I was tired and unmotivated. I call it PHD (Post Holiday Depression). Although one should probably be careful when saying "I have a PHD" in a sentence because they might just think you're really smart instead of understanding the pain you're going through. The only way to fight PHD is with another trip away; which is why I recommend to anyone planning a big trip, to also plan a small weekend for when you return. It's almost like you have to wean yourself off your holiday and back into reality. Maybe the longer the holiday the more weekends away you'll need to thoroughly cure that PHD.
My favourite thing about going away is opening the door to your new place for the night. Its the anticipation of what you are going to find on the other side of the door. Aquabelle apartments did not disappoint. Its the excitement you feel when you walk in to a place that's so luxurious you start having day dreams about it being your actual house and all the great dinner parties/drinks you would have there. Lawson and I literally had a conversation about where we would seat people if we had all our friends over. It was so inviting we didn't want to leave. We could have made the short walk to the nearby restaurants but instead decided to stay in and cook. I got even more excited when I opened the wardrobe door to find a selection of board games. I'm the kind of board game fanatic who always brings my own; so it was nice to find and fall in love with games I had never played before.
The Peninsula Hot Springs was only a 9 min drive down the road, so Aquabelle really was the ideal place to stay especially given it was the Hot Springs that brought us to Rye in the first place. When you walk into the Hot Springs it really feels like a luxurious day spa, you get handed high quality robes on arrival and you don't put your clothes back on again until you're about to leave. We even wore them to lunch, seated amongst a sea of robe clad guests. The one couple sitting at a nearby table fully clothed stuck out like a sore thumb. It was thrilling being so comfortable in a restaurant, I almost felt like I was at home in my lounge room but the food was 100 times better and I didn't have to worry about spillage or cleaning up.
The hot springs themselves were nice to experience and testing out all the different relaxation areas was worth the visit. The turn off for me, however, was some of the other guests. With limited space in each area, its about being courteous of other people. When you want to enter one of the pools and there is a couple heavily making out... its uncomfortable! Then there were the people who used the sun beds for storing their stuff while they bathed; which meant 3 of the 5 sun beds couldn't be used. They may sound like small things but I'm weird with things like personal space and manners.
The worst thing about coming back from a holiday is trying to adjust back to reality. What better way to fight those post travel blues than with a weekend getaway to Rye. We were celebrating some good news so I wanted to cook to celebrate. There is something much more enjoyable about doing your shopping at the markets, the buzzing energy and vibrancy, it’s addictive and fun. The perfect way to kick start the weekend.
The Aquabelle apartment we stayed in was beautiful, spacious, modern and allowed lots of natural light to flow through. There's always a laid back, easy going feeling in coastal towns and the only thing missing was a sunset over the water. That’s one thing I miss from Perth, its sunsets. There isn’t much that can beat sitting down taking a moment and watching the beautiful colours dance across the sky and water as the sun sets.
After cooking up a storm of sang choy bao and Chinese roast pork belly I passed out with a full stomach before we got the chance to eat the chocolate and strawberries. That meant the breakfast of champions consisted of strawberries and coffee before heading off to the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs.
We rocked up to the Peninsula Hot Springs, de-clothed, robed up and made our way to the adults only section. I wasn’t expecting to see children. I assumed it was more of something for couples so I was surprised to find an entire section dedicated to families and children. I'll keep that in mind in another ten years time. For now adults only suits me just fine.
There were hot pools, cold plunge pools, foot spas, wet saunas, dry saunas, infrared saunas, spas and plenty more. The hot springs is a great place to kick back and do nothing but laze around the natural heated springs. I really enjoyed our time at the hot springs but I found I got bored quite quickly and had to move to another area. This had nothing to do with the hot springs. I get distracted very easily and need to keep myself doing something. This is the main reason I do not have a tan, I can’t stay still out in the sun long enough. In saying that, I enjoyed my time and felt refreshed especially after the hammam and cold plunge pool combo.
Highlight- The Hammam (steam room) and cold plunge pool left me feeling revitalised and only rocking a robe in the restaurant with no requirement for putting on clothes was an absolute highlight.
Lowlight- uncomfortable "face eating" by another couple and some of the awkwardness felt if you entered an area that already had people in it. You don’t own the area, learn to share.