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A Girls Weekend Away on the Mornington Peninsula - Take 2

Home > Melbourne > Wineries | Weekend Escapes | Food and Wine | Escape the City | Day Spas
by Alison Drew-Forster (subscribe)
Alison enjoys writing about all the great attractions Melbourne has to offer, and writing for her blog
Published June 18th 2012

Last September along with two girlfriends, I enjoyed a wonderful weekend away on the Mornington Peninsula. You can read about that weekend here.

So successful, relaxing and undeniably indulgent was our trip, that one of my friends began agitating for a repeat venture from around March.

And so it came to pass that once again on a cold, wet and windy Friday night our trio made the easy drive from our Bayside homes to the same holiday house in St Andrews Beach.

Once again we delighted in arriving at the house to find the lights blazing, the fire roaring and an aromatic chicken curry simmering on the stovetop, courtesy of housekeeper/chef Megan.

This time our pampering section of the weekend saw a 9.00am kickoff at the Spa Dreaming Centre in the Peninsula Hot Springs,. Luckily our holiday house was a mere 8 minutes drive from the Springs, which meant a leisurely and gossipy breakfast could be enjoyed before we raced out the door.

Once at the Spa Dreaming Centre,we were greeted by a number of helpful and welcoming staff, as well as visions of an array of patrons dressed only in (occasionally revealing) bathrobes.

Whilst this was a little confronting at that time of the morning, once we had changed into the supplied fluffy white robes and started our treatments, we too started to relax and unwind.

As we were a group of three, unfortunately we could not all be treated in the same room. However I enjoyed the experience of wondering through the vegetation and up the hill, to discover the outdoor treatment room known as the "dome".

The dome felt and looked a little like a cave, but was blissfully warm courtesy of the reverse cycle air conditioner and heated towels on the massage bed.

Our group all had a one hour Kodo aboriginal massage, which included the burning of native leaves. The leaves had a rather distinctly unusual aroma that brought to mind visions of University parties long past.

Other than the hemp-reminiscent burning leaves, I am not convinced the massage was very different from any other massage I have had, apart from the banging together of some sticks about half way through, and the flicking of my feet with the masseur's fingers.

Nonetheless by the time the three of us met up again in the waiting room to sip from our flower tea, we all looked and felt suitably relaxed from our experience.

After we eventually roused ourselves from the waiting room's couches (which appeared to be liberally stained with oils) we then quickly changed into our bathers and ventured out into the hot springs.

We tried three of the private pools, and the sauna. The pools ranged from a barrel only big enough for us three which was really quite cold, to our favourite mid sized pool perched high on the hill from which steam radiated.

After an hour or so of soaking in the various pools we headed inside to shower and change before sitting down for the lunch included as part of our package.

The dining room is relatively small, but furnished with chairs designed to continue the relaxed feeling. Often pre-paid lunch packages can be disappointing – this one was anything but.

From the extensive list of options available, we enjoyed respectively Asian style soup, salmon steak and salmon patties with two types of salad. Two of us sipped on a Moorooduc Estate Chardonay whilst the designated driver enjoyed a freshly squeezed 'bright eyes' juice.

At a total cost of $190 each, we felt the only things awry in our morning to be the fact that our treatments were not long enough (should have had a facial as well) – and the sight of the man at the table next to us, with his legs and robe open displaying more than we needed or wanted to see.

But one lunch out is never enough on a girls weekend and so the next day we headed to lunch at Salix's Bistro, at Willow Creek Vineyard in Merricks North.

The bistro is one of two dining options at the Vineyard – Salix Restaurant is the upstairs and upmarket alternative.

The vineyard is your standard fare picturesque winery, and has a unique shaped barn in which the cellar tasting and restaurants are housed.

We tasted only two wines, being the Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, as we knew we were after a white for lunch (and were reluctant to pay the $5 tasting fee). We choose the delicious Pinot Gris at $35 a bottle.

We were somewhat disappointed to realise when we ordered it at the dining table, located approximately 10 steps from the tasting room, that the price had risen to $49 a bottle.

The food at Salix bistro was mouthwatering. The home made dinner rolls were so delicious we requested as second round and were so satisfied, we bypassed starters.

Our very reasonably priced main meals consisted of the fish of the day (grilled snapper), slow cooked lamb shoulder, and eye fillet. Even our side dishes of green salad and French fries were universally declared to be first rate.

Whilst the dessert menu looked inviting, the main courses were so filling we could only manage a coffee.

At around $170 for the three of us, including the Pinot, we felt our lunch overlooking the rolling hills and vines was money well spent.

View from the Bistro

High on the joy of time spent with good friends, against the backdrop of wonderful Peninsula experiences, we headed home – ready to start planning for our next weekend away.
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Why? For an indulgent escape from the city.
When: Anytime of year although the crowds are smaller in winter
Where: About an hour south of Melbourne
Cost: A weekend like this will probably set you back around $500
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