Sometimes all of the green juice in the world just won't cut it. When you really want to unwind, disconnect and generally retreat from life temporarily it's best to remove oneself from the temptation of manically Instagraming every mundane moment, killer deadlines, and current frenemies at large. And, luckily for us, there's no better place to relax than in Victoria's beautiful regional areas, which are filled with natural mineral springs and geothermal waters that nourish and cleanse, as well as some of Australia's most incredible modern spas.
If you’re in need of your very own spa day, complete with massages, hot springs and beauty pampering, check out these incredible destinations and get planning your next relaxation trip… Sorry, did we say spa day?! More like spa weekend!
#1: Have The Classic Bathhouse Experience
We all know why we've come here. It's to soak and float and bathe our cares away. If the classic bathhouse experience is your idea of heaven, lock in a date with Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, in Hepburn Springs. It's the only place in the Daylesford region that actually has direct spring access to Hepburn's iconic mineral waters, and they've been taking advantage of that for over a hundred years. The Bathhouse here features a communal pool and spa for entry-level relaxation, while the Sanctuary takes things up a notch with a salt water therapy pool to soothe what ails you, lit naturally via a circular "moon roof" overhead. And that's all before you even get to Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa's new creek-side bathing rooms, private baths and massage treatments.
#2: Do It In Retro Style
The Circa 1936 Hotel in Corowa is home to one of the most luxurious spa facilities in Victoria. With a mantra of, ‘19th century service, 20th century style, 21st century facilities’, this drop-dead gorgeous venue houses a spa that offers massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and reflexology. Better yet, every spa day at Circa 1936 comes with a delicious lunch and a glass or two of vino. The ultimate in relaxation served with all the trimmings!
#3: Sweat It Out
The Mineral Spa at Peppers Mineral Springs Hotel, also in Hepburn Springs, is home to some of our favourite sauna experiences. The Retreat here features a lavender-scented sauna, an infrared "detox" box (no steam!), a steam room, twin open-air pools and a refreshingly icy plunge pool. There's also an alfresco balcony complete with reclining lounges on which to take in some fresh air, and the bathing areas all use water from the local natural mineral springs, making for extra-nourished skin. Naturally, they offer all the usual massages and private spa treatments, but what’s not on the usual menu is The Mineral Spa's "soft pack" beds. It's like getting a friendly bear hug from a waterbed and that is exactly as snug as it sounds… We have reached peak cosiness, people!
#4: Get A Glowing Complexion
When it comes to focusing our spa energies on our most precious assets, we’re all about boosting our complexion, which is why Natskin Spa in Yarra Glen is our pick of the bunch for a skin-smoothing facial. Expect exfoliation, masking and nourishing serums, all set within the Yarra Valley’s beautiful surrounds. And if you’re in need of a few grooming touch-ups, the team are the area’s experts for waxing, brows, lashes and tanning. You’ll return to the city with the glow of a European getaway having only travelled an hour away!
#5: Relax The Japanese Way
Who knew there was an authentic slice of Japanese tranquillity hidden in Daylesford, and another at Mount Hotham? Dare we say it, but Victoria might be doing traditional, luxe spas better than many regions in Japan…
Circling a zen garden, the rooms at Shizuka Ryokan in Daylesford feature traditional tatami mats, paper "shoji" screens, in-room spas and flooring designed for reflexology. The spa uses aromatherapy lotions and potions exclusively created in-house. Try a Shiatsu massage in your own room, or a Geisha white tea facial. And is there anything better than waking up to a proper Japanese breakfast including miso soup, teriyaki salmon, seaweed salad and rice?
If you’re spa-treating in the snow peaks, Mount Hotham’s Onsen Retreat and Spa (at Dinner Plain, to be exact) is the dream setting for your relaxation needs. With both indoor and outdoor bathing, as well as mineral-rich body wraps, traditional hand and foot massages, and hot stone therapy, you’ll feel as if you’ve woken up at Mount Fuji. Bliss.
#6: Surf & Spa = The Ultimate Combo
If you’re looking for a refreshing combo that leaves you brimming with energy, a trip to Torquay, complete with surf lessons and a post-surf massage is the ultimate combo. Saltair Spa offers just that, teaming up with local surf school Go Ride A Wave to get you wave-riding ready, followed up by an hour in the hands of one of Saltair’s massage specialists. It’s also one of the only spas in the area that practices Kodo massage, a technique created by native Australian Aboriginal peoples for restoring energy and balance—the ideal solution for those who don’t fancy braving some waves!
#7: Find Paradise On The Peninsula
If it’s about time you treated yourself or a friend to an indulgent facial or mani-pedi, Akuna Skin and Body, and Inner Daze (both in Rye) are fantastic modern spas that carry the latest nurturing products as well as catering to your every pampering whim.
For leisurely bathing in mineral-rich waters, you simply can’t top the hot springs themselves, which offer private and public bathing areas, as well as massages. Our favourite Inner Daze massage package includes a pass to the hot springs too, making it super-easy to tick all those relaxation boxes. Our top tip? Pre-book before you go, and don’t shy away from the evening time slots. Nothing beats watching the sun set from a hilltop spa pool.
#8: Try A Rainforest Retreat
Nestled amongst the ferns and lush plantlife of Healesville lies Piaf Day Spa, our go-to spa for all things detoxifying and restorative. You’ll already feel your body relax as you venture into one of the Yarra Valley’s most beautiful nature spots to find this gem. With candle-lit treatment rooms, uniquely developed detox packages, and hot stone massages that use volcanic rocks and bamboo sticks to smooth out every ache and pain, this one simply has to be included in any weekend itinerary to the Yarra Valley area.
Melbourne’s an incredible city, but sometimes we all need to get out of town for a weekend. The Urban List has partnered with Visit Victoria to bring you our Get Out Of Town! series — the ultimate guide to Victoria’s regional gems. For more ideas about where to wander in Victoria, click here.
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Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List except The Lakehouse, Saltair, Circa1936 & Natskin Spa (Momoe Photography)