The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd

Industry insights

Still water

With a growing number of hot spring developments in the pipeline in Australia and New Zealand. Co-founder of Peninsula Springs, Charles Davidson, talks us through some of the activity and the reasons behind the boom

All water bodies, whether hot springs, oceans, rivers, lakes and pools, all have positive associations with escape, holidays, relaxation and nature. This may be because we are largely made up of water: 70 per cent by mass and 99 per cent by molecule.

However, unlike other waters, hot springs make the water experience both comfortable and reliable. No matter what the weather conditions, lying back in thermal waters provides a soothing experience. The colder the weather, the nicer the bathing experience.

Hot spring bathing is synonymous with the origins of the spa industry – Salus Per Aquam or health through water. The most appealing form of water for humans to enjoy is when it flows naturally warmed from the earth. Thermal waters provide the buoyancy and weightlessness of bathing, with the healing energy of heat, and the health giving properties of minerals.

Bathing in nature
With the pandemic as a backdrop and wellness as a way of life in high demand, hot springs with an offering of nature-based wellbeing practices, are on the rise. An industry and a thermal bathing culture which celebrates the gift of natural thermal mineral waters is rapidly emerging in Australia.

Until the recent renaissance, hot springs bathing was not a primary motivator for travel, but this is changing with purpose-built, multi-facted thermal bathing facilities emerging, which are weaving together the best practices from traditions around the world.

The Aussie bathing culture incorporates reflexology walks from China; outdoor nature bathing from Japan; hammam steamrooms from Yemen, Turkey and Morocco; saunas and ice plunges from Scandinavia; clays and muds from Europe, all wrapped up in the nature found at the individual locations.

For me, the ultimate Australian hot springs bathing experience is found in the remote outback, where thermal mineral waters have been flowing from the earth for millions of years. These locations offer a place where one can live for a moment feeling at one with all that is.

Busy pipeline
With a small base of six commercial and 30 identified natural hot springs across Australia there are new developments being delivered, under construction or planned in every state. In January 2020, Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs, in Warrnambool, Victoria opened a AUS$3.5m (€2.25m, £1.89m, US$2.53) cave-based hot springs bathing park in the grounds of its oceanside hotel.

In December 2020 Peninsula Hot Springs, on the Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne, introduced a luxury glamping experience which has achieved 95 per cent occupancy and AUS$650 (€418, £351, US$469) a night room rates with rave reviews since opening.

In June 2021, Talaroo Hot Springs in the Gulf Savannah country in outback Queensland also opened. This million-year-old mound spring has been made available and is operated by the Ewamin people, the Aboriginal custodians of the country.

In 2022, three new hot springs developments in the State of Victoria will come on-line including Metung Hot Springs, in East Gippsland, in January, which boasts spectacular views over rolling hills with tea trees and gum trees, wombats, echidnas, dolphins and swans.

Alba Hot Springs on the Mornington Peninsula launches in September and a month later Phillip Island Hot Springs in South Gippsland opens its doors, with rolling sand dunes, native grasses and views over the Bass Strait and the ocean, with whales, dolphins and penguins.

Peninsula Hot Springs will add a further 35 rooms, relaxation dining lounges, and a food bowl where produce and herbs are grown, gastronomic education is offered and music and arts concerts are held for events with audiences of up to 1,000.

At the same time other hot springs will be under construction in 2022 opening in 2023 including Tawari Hot Springs in Perth in Western Australia and Cunnamulla Hot Springs in an outback town in South West of Queensland.

Broadening access
There are at least 20 other significant hot springs developments across Australia, in various stages of the planning and development process. Hot springs are rapidly emerging to be a driving force for wellness practices which are accessible to the masses. One of the advantages is that they allow a wellness experience with a large footfall, making them more accessible to a broader range of guests. If the experience includes self-guided activities then overheads can be kept down, which can reduce the price point, further widening the accessibility.

The challenge is to keep cohesion and connection between the various people and organisations in the sector, a role which is being filled by the newly launched Australasian Hot and Mineral Springs Bathing Alliance.

The skill in design is to provide enough facilities and experiences for guests to feel like they have had a complete wellbeing escape in the core offering, while also providing additional optional services, at a supplementary price, for guests seeking a deeper journey.

About the author:

Charles Davidson is the Co-founder, chair and creative director of Peninsula Hot Springs and the Chairman of the Global Wellness Institute Hot Springs Initiative.

Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Barr + Wray Ltd
Founded in 1959, Barr + Wray is recognised as a world-leading provider of spa design, engineering and pool & spa equipment.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
The Smile aimed to showcase the possibilities of timber construction
Alison Brooks
"The profession is changing"

We need to help the public understand that architects are on their side, argues The Smile designer

The hotel’s historic Art Deco features were carefully restored
Respecting the hotel’s heritage was key, says Maria Vafiadis
"We were very conscious of the heritage we were dealing with"

MKV completes the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane redesign

RCR recently unveiled the steel-clad La Cuisine Arts Centre in Nègrepelisse, in France
"Winning the Pritzker is a great joy and a great responsibility"

On winning the Pritzker Prize

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Enea has offices in New York, Zurich, Miami and Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland
"Sociology and functionality are the two most important aspects when we design – how an individual lives and interacts"

On saving trees, working with Zaha Hadid and changing the face of Miami

The open air bar/event space Jardins Gamelin features an illuminated suspended sculpture
"A vast yet understated investment in cultural institutions and tourist infrastructure is taking place without lavish budgets, starchitects or international fanfare"

The amazing projects transforming Canada’s second city

Beckham is determined to bring MLS soccer to the city of Miami
Beckham has purchased the land he needs for a stadium
"Now’s the time for MLS to move forward in helping us deliver the soccer club that Miami has been waiting for"

Miami soccer stadium land sale gets approval

Din has worked on a range of sustainability-focused projects
"It’s imperative the architecture profession takes a proactive approach to tackling the realities of climate change"

Perkins+Will’s new sustainability director

Some 1,100 trees of 
23 different species will line the building façades
Stefano Boeri is working on a number of major green schemes in China
"We’re creating new spheres, where people, trees and animals can coexist in an environment of wellness"

On how the vertical forest model promotes wellness

The Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku. Zaha Hadid described the building as “an incredible achievement” when it won London Design Museum’s Design of the Year in 2014
Schumacher joined Zaha Hadid Architects in 1988 after studing architecture in Stuttgart and London
"Zaha was a star… very courageous, very driven in terms of wanting to excel"

The director of Zaha Hadid Architects on how ZHA plans to keep innovating with passion

cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
cladkit product news
Ojmar introduces battery-free electronic locker to cut carbon footprints in health clubs and spas
Ojmar says the batteryless lock is easy to install and features a user-friendly interface
Megan Whitby
Smart lock manufacturer Ojmar has released the OTS20 Batteryless – the first battery-free electronic locker lock on the market. The ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
cladkit product news
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
CSI Design Expo Americas 2024 announces new Attractions & Entertainment Technology Zone
The event will allow buyers and suppliers to meet
Magali Robathan
Cruise Ship Interiors (CSI) invites cruise lines, shipyards, design studios, outfitters, and suppliers to take part in CSI Design Expo ...
Eco Resort Network conference to convene in Mauritius this May
The event will be hosted in the Mauritius in 2024
Megan Whitby
Hospitality industry event Eco Resort Network is set to take place at the Ravenala Attitude Hotel, Turtle Bay, Mauritius, from ...
The Leisure Media Company Ltd
The Leisure Media Company Ltd