Could the Bellarine Peninsula’s days of living in Mornington’s shadow be over?
The seaside stretch that is the Bellarine Peninsula has welcomed two new luxury properties recently that might just put the ‘other’ peninsula firmly on the map for gourmet-seekers. A two-hour drive south-west of Melbourne, the Bellarine Peninsula has stiff competition when it comes to upmarket accommodation and foodie fare, with the regional Victorian hotspots of Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Ranges, and Gippsland having long been favoured over the sleepier western lakeside peninsula. But with a burgeoning epicurean scene complete with craft breweries, local wineries, farm gates and providores as well as tranquil seaside villages, family-friendly beaches, surf and swimming spots, this is a region that deserves consideration when booking your next weekend escape.
In the past month, the modern yet coastal-inspired seaside Lon Retreat and Spa has opened as an exclusive spa-focused property where the interior is as calming as the treatments themselves. There is a two-night stay minimum, an adults-only policy and a total guest maximum of sixteen people per night, the sum of which creates a destination that’s equal parts exclusive and luxurious.
Lon Retreat’s 80-hectare estate offers private courtyards furnished with hammocks, outdoor showers, and spa bars in each suite. The building itself is a sandstone farmhouse previously run as a B&B which has been recently renovated to offer seven suites, all with views of Bass Strait, Lake Victoria and the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse. Each suite is custom designed and unique yet all seven suites take inspiration from the ocean, lakes and surrounding farmland, combining earthy tones with contemporary luxury.
With an ethos that emphasises slowing down and reconnecting with the moment, guests can watch the boats on the water from the view of their massage table or float in the heated hydrotherapy pool, which pumps water from a spring beneath the property.
Campbell Point House, a French Provincial-inspired, country manor-style property on Lake Connewarre, is equally exclusive, offering just eight suites, but offers an altogether different style of luxury from Lon Retreat. A converted French manor-style home as well as a cottage and lake house are available for larger parties, along with facilities including tennis courts, an infinity pool, a day spa and a private jetty. The on-site dining option is provided by chef Tobin Kent in a kitchen garden, and guests can dig into eight-course degustations as well as a la carte breakfasts.
Lon Retreat and Campbell Point House are joined aby the new Bellarine Distillery in Dysdale, marking the entrance of artisan brewers and distillers into this wine-growing region.