Since moving to Melbourne in May I have done little exploring of my new city or the state of Victoria. I’ve known about Victoria’s “spa country” for a few years but never managed to travel there in past visits to Melbourne or during the couple of years I lived here previously. When I was invited to visit The Mineral Spa I jumped at the opportunity to get away from my desk for a few hours and experience what the fuss was all about.
In my review I detail the unique offerings of The Mineral Spa and which treatment left me too relaxed to drive.
The Mineral Spa is located in Hepburn Springs, one of the small Victorian country towns that makes up “spa country”. It’s 3 minutes away from Dayelsford (one of the other most-well known spa country towns) and roughly 2hrs from Melbourne CBD.
The spa is part of the Peppers Mineral Springs Retreat, which is also home to The Argus Dining Room (I’ll have a separate review of that one soon. A girl needed to eat after a spa session!) and Peppers’ Hotel. Package deals including all three venues are readily available and make booking a weekend away nice and simple. The property is exceptionally well maintained and the exterior is filled with trees and greenery that makes you quickly realise how beautiful the countryside is.
Reception & Change Rooms
Upon entering The Mineral Spa I was greeted with a big smile from the lovely staff in the reception area. To the left there was a small retail set-up that sold swimsuits, beauty products and other essentials you may find yourself needing before or after a visit to the spa.
After checking in I was shown to the change rooms and allocated a locker. I was then escorted to the waiting room to fill in the general admission forms. All the usual questions were asked, such as what I was hoping to achieve from my treatment and if there are any allergies I need to mention, but I loved that the form also asked what pressure I like my massage (soft! I’m a weakling) and which areas I need more attention to (my shoulders!). Once I returned the form to reception it was time to change.
The change rooms feature a lovely neutral and earthy toned colour palette. The browns, chocolate, forest green and sandstone got my mind ready for some relaxation. Inside the lockers there are slippers, disposable panties and a soft cotton robe and lots of room to store your stuff, including a hanging rail and a sectioned compartment for shoes. The change rooms are also fitted out with showers, basins with large mirrors, a grooming area where you can blowdry your hair or apply makeup and of course toilets.
It’s recommended you bring a swimsuit with you in order to take advantage of The Retreat before your treatment. I did just that and I’m sooooo glad I did.
The Retreat is a unique addition to the spa and one I haven’t experienced previously. Most spa’s have a steam room or a sauna but The Mineral Spa’s The Retreat offers you access to mineral water plunge pools along with an infrared sauna, steam room and sauna. The indoor/outdoor space also has a sundeck, lounge area with fireplace and a snack bar. It’s a retreat to be enjoyed on its own or as an addition before or after your spa treatment.
I visited The Retreat before my treatment so I changed into my swimsuit and headed straight for one of the two 37º spa pools. The pools are filled with water from the local mineral springs which contain mineral salts said to aid in wellbeing. They’re located just outside of The Retreat zone, separate from the warm indoor climate, and overlook landscaped gardens. It was a chilly day so I jumped in the spa pool as quickly as possible, but the mix of bubbling hot water and brisk air was exhilarating and relaxing at the same time. Between the two spa pools sits an unheated plunge pool. I wasn’t brave enough to jump in but they recommend taking a dip in the cooler pool after the spa pool to invigorate your body. I was invigorated enough, thank-you!
The steam room and infrared sauna were pretty much like every other I’ve seen but the stone sauna was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I simply can’t explain the mechanics of it so I’m going to let The Mineral Spa explain it:
Mineral stones are heated on the fire then a basket containing the hot stones is dipped into a cauldron filled with cold water. The sizzling stones release and disperse mineral aerosols within the room which has a great effect on inhalation.
An increase in humidity and room temperature is achieved through the repeated lifting and lowering of the basket and the body slowly becomes acclimatised to the gentle rising temperatures and humidity which leads to a special kind of well-being that is gentle on the cardio system.
Everything that says is true. Usually I can’t last in a sauna for more than 2-3 minutes but in this one I sat in complete bliss for 40 minutes. The sizzling of the hot stones as they plunged into the cold water startled me as the rotation came around every 12 minutes or so, but in a way it was good because otherwise I would have fallen asleep in there.
Waiting Room and Treatment Menu
As usual I picked out my treatment before I visited to the spa, opting for their Maya Mali Ritual. It sounded like what my aching, repetitive strain injured body needed:
Unwind and invigorate with this complete body rejuvenation experience. After an exfoliation with your choice of Australian desert salts and aromatic oils your body will be cocooned in a layer of silky warm mineral rich body mud. An Aboriginal inspired scalp massage allows you to drift away to another realm and calms the soul. Surrender to a healing, grounding and spiritually uplifting 30 min Kodo massage to complete this truly holistic experience.
After an hour of playing in The Retreat I climbed out of my swimsuit into my robe and took respite in the waiting room. The large room was fitted out with bench seating on the rear wall, a fireplace, lots of armchairs and a refreshments bar. A large window overlooked a courtyard fitted with a trickling water feature and surrounded by greenery. It was a lovely atmosphere to relax in as the morning sun filled the room.
Water, herbal teas from Tea Tonic and fresh apples were offered from the refreshments bar. I’m a black tea kind of girl but I tried the Apple-Tree Tea and it was delightful.
Upon entering the dimly lit, double spa room I was advised to take a seat on one of the beds as my treatment was explained to me. My therapist was lovely (and of course I forgot her name almost immediately and still can’t remember it) and explained the order of the treatment using Li’Tya products. We started with me picking out which body oil and mask I’d like in my treatment. I was asked to close my eyes and smell 3 different oils, 3 different masks and 2 different salts, picking one of each I liked the most. As it would turn out I picked all the ones that were for detoxifying. Is that a sign?
My back was exfoliated and then a thin layer of mud applied before I rolled over and the same was done on the front. As with most mud masks, I was wrapped in towels and sheets for 30 minutes to let it set. During that time my therapist gave me a heavenly head massage and applied a hair mask. Once my body had been mummified by crispy mud I waddled to the in-room warm shower that had been prepared for me. I washed the mud off but decided to keep my hair mask in as long as possible because I wasn’t planning to see anyone else that day anyway.
After towel drying I returned to my treatment bed, which had magically been fitted with fresh new sheets and towels while I was in the shower. My massage therapist returned just in time as I was lying down, ready and waiting for the knots in my shoulder to be released. Taking note of my preferred massage pressure, I was advised that if at any time I wanted a firmer or softer massage I was to just let her know. Luckily she mastered the pressure straight away and my massage was all relaxing with no wincing in pain.
After 30 minutes my time was up and I slowly rose from the bed at my own leisure while my therapist got me a glass of water and a post-treatment snack to enjoy in the waiting room. It was the perfect end to a deeply relaxing treatment, which can really work up an appetite.
I’d recommend getting lunch straight after because it left me completely famished and if you can, stay the night locally because driving a couple of hours back to Melbourne after such a relaxing experiencing was painful. I literally struggled to keep my eyes open and that’s not a safe way to drive.
The Mala Mayi Ritual is AUS $215 for 1.5hrs and a 60min pass to The Retreat is AUS $70.
The Mineral Spa is located at 124 Main Road, Hepburn Springs, Victoria Australia 3461.
Have you heard of Daylesford or Hepburn Springs previously? Do you like the sound of The Mineral Spa? Let me know by commenting below!