Melbourne’s Peninsula Hot Springs outdoor thermal baths on one of the coldest days of the year

Written by Gary on August 9th, 2013

I have lived in Melbourne, Australia all of my life, and until today I had never had the pleasure of making a trip down to the Peninsula Hot Springs geothermal baths on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula.

These baths have become extremely popular, perhaps too popular that many complain it is overcrowded, thus I decided to make a trip down there and book for the outdoor section on a Friday afternoon – hopefully to avoid the crowds, and particularly, families with their loud children.

The thermal baths insist that one must book ahead to avoid being turned away due to excess numbers attending, so this is what we did via their website, and decided to go for the outdoor “Bath House” section rather than the more expensive indoor and outdoor “Spa Dreaming Centre” which includes the usual Day Spa “treatments” such as massage, etc.

As we drove the 1.5hrs down there in driving rain, howling cold wind with outdoor temperatures at 9degC with a wind chill factor giving an actual skin temperature of around minus 1.5deg C (see here) – and that is assuming your skin is not wet as it would be walking from one bath to another, I must admit I was having second thoughts.

These were reinforced when we stopped near the beach to find a cafe for lunch and we hurried into the nearest cafe to get out of the rain and wind – to find a nice log fire burning – but we had came this far, so we decided to go ahead with our plans.

On arrival at the baths, the car park was full and the clients could be seen hurriedly walking with the rain coats and hoods to get inside – we must be crazy!

 The best decision was to hire a locker for our clothes and a bath robe to help us survive the walk between baths with wet skin – even though the robes would rapidly become wet in the rain as the areas supplied next to each bath to hang your robe was not sheltered from the rain coming in at an angle with the wind.

But still, the wet robes made the afternoon  pleasurable and made the break from the 36-42deg C baths into the icy wind tolerable, although the feet without sandals did get a bit cool – but this was easily addressed by quickly getting to the next bath.

A must do bath is the hilltop bath which is perched at the top of a hill with 360deg panoramic views – although not much worth seeing on such a day in the rain – and mercifully, there was just enough shelter from the wind that it was enjoyable.

Of the dozen or so baths in the outdoor “bath house” area, my favorite bath though was the “silent bath” just near the hilltop bath, as this was one bath where the many ladies attending had to stop talking and one could just relax and go into a zen mode.

There were plenty of taps for drinking water – an essential when one is spending 1-2 hours in such warm baths.

My tips for those planning on going:

  • go in cool or cold weather even in the rain or wind – you will still enjoy it and I am guessing it would be more tolerable than a hot summer day
  • go when it is not too busy – avoid weekends, school holidays and Friday evenings
  • book in advance and assume you will not be able to “upgrade” to another treatment area when you get there
  • avoid heavy meals or alcohol prior and drink lots of water while you are there
  • hire a bath robe if it is going to be windy in particular
  • if you don’t like cold feet, where thongs or sandals in cold weather
  • you do need to wear swimming bathers  in the open “public” bath house area but be aware prolonged exposure to these waters may stain or degrade them
  • it is a mobile phone free and camera free zone – please respect the privacy of others and their desire to relax without excessive noise
  • consider bring a plastic water bottle – you won’t need to bring food, and there is a kiosk if you do get hungry
  • ensure you can have a shower afterwards and apply a moisturiser as it does dry out your skin – not so good for those with atopic eczema I am guessing!

Sorry, no photos for this post, you will have to check out their website




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