The Traveling Steve's

Spa Day and Dinner at Peninsula Hot Springs!

After a free day on our own in Melbourne, we met our good friends Ian and Rosemary at the Grand Hyatt here in Melbourne on Thursday. I first met Ian and Rosemary way back on my first trip to Australia in 1993 aboard the P & O Australia Fairstar cruise ship, and we’ve stayed in touch to this day, nearly 31 years later! Ian and Rosemary live about two and 1/2 hours from Melbourne, so they stayed at the Grand Hyatt as well for four nights, so we could catch up and tour around a bit.

Ian and Rosemary at Connor’s restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

The first night we had drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the Hyatt Grand Club Lounge (Concierge Lounge) on the 31st floor of the hotel. We later had dinner at Connor’s, the hotel’s large restaurant located on the lobby level of the hotel.

Entrance to the Grand Club (Concierge Lounge) on the 31st floor of the Grand Hyatt..

Steve (DOS), Rosemary, Ian, and me Steve (UNO) in the Grand Club at the Hyatt. Hmm, a bit fuzzy pic there Steve. Must have been the low lighting, or just maybe the alcohol to blame!

The Steve’s at Connor’s Restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

The next day we had breakfast together in the Grand Club, and around noon headed out for lunch in the city, and dinner at a spa restaurant!

Lunch with Rosemary’s brother, John and wife Sophie. On Friday afternoon, Ian and Rosemary, Dos and myself met John and Sophie for lunch in Melbourne. We went to an Italian section of the city, and had lunch at an outdoor Italian restaurant, which featured among other things a huge selection of pizzas, made fresh in their huge open-air pizza ovens.

I had met John and Sophie also back in 1993, as they were traveling with Ian and Rosemary on the same Fairstar cruise I had taken. I had been to their house with Ian and Rosemary on another trip to Oz, probably in 1996, so it had been many years since I had seen them both.

After we had our lunch, we said by to John and Sophie before heading out of Melbourne for the day. John and Sophie were going on the new Celebrity Cruise ship Apex in a couple days, and we were all excited for them. We haven’t been on the Apex class ships yet, so I look forward to hearing how they liked this new generation of Celebrity ships.

We then piled into Ian’s big SUV, and headed out for a fun outing to the Peninsula Hot Springs, an hour and 1/2 from the city. Ian pointed out some of Melbourne’s sites along the way, as the happy tourists (UNO, DOS, and Rosemary) enjoyed the tour.

We passed by some of the sports stadiums along the way, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) , the Rod Laver Arena, and AAAMI park.

Passing by the iconic MCG stadium; a Melbourne sports tradition venue.
The Rod Laver multi-purpose Arena known for Tennis especially.

AAMI Park, with it’s unusual dome-like roof and rectangular stadium.

As we headed along thru Melbourne, we had a bit of traffic on the busy freeways, most likely due to commuters leaving early on Friday afternoon, and/or the thousands of people coming and going from the Grand Prix Race weekend in Melbourne.

We made a quick “coffee” stop along the way, which was actually a wine and bottle shop as we went thru a couple small resort towns. We each got a to-go drink, while Ian being the responsible driver got a non-alcoholic brewski. We were going to sit at the outdoor cafe there, but they charged an extra $4 a bottle (for a single bottle of beer!) as a cover charge (I guess like a restaurant corkage fee, but on beer?), so we headed around the corner for our drink, and were soon on our way again.

Peninsula Hot Springs: Our next stop and destination was Peninsula Hot Springs, which is a popular natural mineral springs attraction about an hour from Melbourne, although it took us almost two hours on this Friday afternoon with traffic. Once there, we enjoyed several of the mineral springs pools, and stayed for a nice and healthy dinner as well.

After leaving the park lot, we had a short walk along a scenic pathway to the Reception Desk. The lobby area offered a welcoming and calming first impression for our spa adventure which was only steps away. Lots of spa baths, lotions, and scents were for sale, conveniently located in the lobby should you wish to indulge, and take some spa memories home. Rosemary had made the reservations, so she got us checked-in, while Ian, DOS, and I had a quick look around the lobby area and adjacent restaurant where we were having dinner later that night.

At reception you are given a robe and towel, plus an electronic wrist bast key, which is used to open/close a locker in the changing area. The locker allows you to store your belongings, while you relax in the various spa pools or dinner in the restaurant.

After we checked-in, we changed into our swimsuits, and then headed down to the nearby first mineral pool, to soak up the warm water, and calming ambiance of the Hot Springs area.

The Hot Springs were just that; warm to hot, with various shapes and sizes of hot springs to soak in, ranging from 37 Degrees Celsius to over 40 degrees Celsius. The spa resort is designed with nature in mind, with its winding paths thru the forest of trees and rustic buildings and spas.

We enjoyed soaking in each of the pools for a maximum of 10 minutes on average, careful not to get dehydrated. We drank plenty of water from the filtered water fountains by each spring, and got out of each spring periodically, sitting on the deck area or edge of the spa, as to not get too hot.

They also had a cold water “Plunge Pool”, but none of us braved that one!

The Cold Plunge pool at the Spa.

After soaking in several of the Hot Springs, I headed back to the changing rooms, showered, and got dressed into street clothes, while Steve (DOS), Ian, and Rosemary went to one of the larger pools for a last “soak”. I had a glass of red vino (Cabernet) in the small lobby lounge while I waited for the others.

When DOS, Ian, and Rosemary met me in the lobby lounge, all three were attired in the white robes and slippers provided by the Hot Springs resort staff at check-in. It was perfectly acceptable (actually encouraged) to dine in the Spa Restaurant in the bath robes, while I was the odd-ball dressed in my street clothes instead of spa robe!

The four of us then had a “spa-type” healthy dinner, consisting of our choice of several “bowl dishes” of green’s salad with lots of healthy extras such as ginger and grilled chicken, to one of the specials which Ian, DOS, and I had; the Baramundie fish dish, also served in a bowl with Gnocchi..

A glass of vino was also included with the dinner package, as well as after-dinner tea or coffee. Dining in the spa restaurant was quite a nice and relaxing experience, no doubt intentionally offered after the time spent soaking in the mineral baths. Almost everyone dining in the restaurant was still attired in their dining robes, as it was meant to be an elegant, yet casual dining experience, as well as easily allowing the dining guests to return to the mineral pools after dinner if they so desired.

After dinner, I relaxed for a while, in the lobby bar while the others showered and changed back into their “street clothes”. We all had a wonderful time at the Peninsula Hot Springs, and departed back for Melbourne around 10:30pm. The ride back to our Melbourne Hotel (the Grand Hyatt), was only an hour or so, which was in contrast to the nearly two hours it took from Melbourne to the Spa during rush hour afternoon traffic, coupled with the massive crowds in town attending the Grand Prix race on Sunday.

We got back to our hotel around 11:30pm; and headed to bed. While a long day, it was a very different and fun experience!

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