Winter might be here unreservedly, with its bitter southern winds and stay-in-bed mornings, but that doesn't mean you have to hang up your togs until summer shows its face again. Thankfully, there are several spots in Victoria where underground springs bubble hot all year-round. And, here and there, excellent humans have harnessed their powers to create warm, toasty pools. Make it your mission to kick back and bliss out in these three before the cold runs away to the north. All have day spas attached to them, so you can also add a sneaky massage to your adventure too.
Peninsula Hot Springs isn't just a hot pool, it's a bathing empire. There are more than 20 dipping spots to try, each inspired by a particular culture, tradition or therapy. Steam your worries away in a Turkish hamam, plunge into darkness in a cave pool and wander along a reflexology trail, then top them all off with a rest in the piece-de-resistance: a hilltop pool affording 360-degree views of surrounding countryside. All this is on the Mornington Peninsula, only a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, so it's an easy day trip. Book online in advance if you can — things can get busy.
If you drive 90 minutes in the opposite direction of the city, you'll find Hepburn Springs smack-bang in the middle of the nation's biggest concentration of mineral springs. Since 1895, Australians have been travelling to them to immerse themselves in the rich, efficacious waters. Signs at the actual Hepburn Pool advise against swimming nowadays, but you can get into the water at the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa. How you do that is up to you — there are monsoon showers, spa couches, decks devoted to relaxations, an aroma steam room and several kinds of pools, including salt therapy, spa and relaxation. Afterwards, pop by Hepburn Springs Mineral Reserve, where you can drink water from a variety of springs and take a stroll.
Mineral Springs Crescent, Hepburn Springs.
DEEP BLUE GEOTHERMAL BATHS
In the late 19th century, Warrnambool was the spa capital of Victoria. These days, the town's once stunning marble baths exist only in outline. However, keeping the dream alive is Deep Blue Hotel and Spa, inside which you'll find a geothermal pool. You can access it as part of a sleepover (pretty tempting!) or grab a 60-minute visit for $15 on weekday ($20 on weekends). There's also a private bathing option, available for groups of up to six. The water comes from Dilwyn Aquifier, an ancient underground source, and, as it travels to the hotel, collects minerals, salts and heat on the way.