Recently, one of our HI members experienced relaxing and indulging tour and she was kind enough to share her story…we hope it inspires you to join one as well.
The day starts with pickup at 7.15am from key locations in central Melbourne which is way before my idea of a relaxing start to the day, but after that inauspicious start everything surpassed my expectations. There were 9 people on the tour plus our friendly Bunyip driver. The people ranged from young couples from various countries to a Japanese travel writer and a mother and daughter pair from New Zealand. The bus was clean and modern and the driver pitched the music just right to enhance conversation and relaxation.
The first stop is at Peninsular Hot Springs where you get a towel and locker and are free to soak in more than 20 mineral pools, set in lovely gardens for a blissful three hours. The facilities are top notch and there are some pools where silence is encouraged so you can have an even more tranquil time. There are heaps of lovely little nooks to spread out a picnic and a Hamam for a Turkish spa experience. I loved the clever Reflexology pool which was just ankle deep and set with an assortment of different types of stones so as you walked you got a foot massage. The views are magnificent and there was even a little family of ducks and ducklings to coo over. For just $22 I highly recommend that you upgrade your tour to include the Spa Dreaming Centre which has another dozen or so pools, you wander around in luxurious bathrobes and there is a licensed cafe and best of all to my mind, children are completely banned.
Lunch was a gourmet platter of delicious nibbles to share along with a wine tasting at a nearby vineyard. Then as if that wasn’t enough indulgence we hit the handmade chocolate tasting – mmmmmmm. Next it was time to work off some of the calories at Ashcombe Maze. The gardens were luscious and the rose maze smelt divine with proper old-fashioned roses. The maze was let down a bit by being quite narrow and having scratchy twigs crowding in but still great fun and a friendly way to meet lots of other lost people.
Our final stop before returning to Melbourne was Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm. As they say it’s all about “who you know”. The fields were closed to the public but because we were with the tour we got exclusive access to pick our own strawberries. They really do taste so much better straight off the plant on a sunny afternoon! Then a decadent “knickerbocker” sundae for me and it was back on the bus for a relaxing drive back home in time for dinner – not that I could eat another thing after such an indulgent day!
All in all, I really enjoyed the Hot Springs Tour, a great relaxing morning and lots of fun and laughs getting lost in the maze.
Check out bunyiptours.com.au for details of this trip and other trips offered and why not pair it with pre and post accommodation at one of the Melbourne YHA’s..