June 27, 2023

our story

Written by Amelia

As we near the 18th birthday of Peninsula Hot Springs, we reflect on where we began and how our journey has shaped our ever-evolving site.

Peninsula Hot Springs originated with two brothers: Charles and Richard Davidson. In 1992 Charles, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Peninsula Hot Springs, had a transformative experience while bathing deep within the mountains of Japan at Kusatsu Onsen, inspiring him to envision a more pronounced bathing culture in Australia.

While working at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo in March 1997, Charles discovered the presence of hot water deep underground on the Mornington Peninsula. In the same year, the Davidson brothers along with investor Norm Cleland purchased 42 acres of cleared bushland in the rolling sand dunes of ‘The Cups’ in Fingal. In early 2002 the Davidson brothers finally struck hot springs 637 metres underground after 18 months of drilling. In a powerful rupture, outpoured 54-degree natural geothermal mineral water.

Charles was joined on his venture in 2014 by Bharat Mitra and Bhavani Lev, owners, and founders of Organic India, who continued to develop Peninsula Hot Springs as a world leader in the spa, wellness and ever-growing hot springs industry.

In February 2015, after the site underwent several progressive developments and following his decision to step away from the business, Richard Davidson passed away, yet his lasting signature can be seen everywhere across our site. Over 18 years, Richard helped to create the vision of Peninsula Hot Springs, with Charles explaining ‘Richard transformed the landscape from pastural land to the regenerated oasis you see today, 25 years on.’

architecture & build

The architectural intention behind of Peninsula Hot Springs site was always to support the natural landscape, creating an Australian interpretation of the hot springs locations the brothers traversed across globally.

spa dreaming centre

Before the opening of Peninsula Hot Springs, a trial facility called Mizu Spa was established and operated from 2000 to 2005. Peninsula Hot Springs opened with the Spa Dreaming Centre containing a small bathing area, spa and café. The vision was to provide a natural setting where diverse people from all cultures and walks of life could gather to experience the profound healing benefits of geothermal bathing. The Spa Dreaming Centre opened 18 years ago on 28 June 2005 as the original bathing area for Peninsula Hot Springs.

bath house

In 2009, the Bath House opened as a social, family friendly bathing area where the entire community were invited to come together to relax surrounded by the natural surrounds.

The opening of phase one of the Bath House was coupled with the introduction of further globally inspired bathing experiences including our reflexology walk, Turkish Hamam and cave sauna along with various pools suitable for guests of all ages.

Phase two of construction included a bath at the highest point of the ridge, soon to become our most frequented destination of our site as it stands. The iconic hilltop pool was unveiled in 2012, giving guests sweeping 360-degree views of our beautiful region. We also installed a bronze view dial at the top of the hill so visitors could connect with our geothermal family around Australia and the world – from Japan to Antarctica, Yemen to New Zealand.


In 2018, Peninsula Hot Springs unveiled its biggest expansion to date – the Amphitheatre. Complete with seven new pools, Fire and Ice area, Wellness Activity Centre, new dining precinct, and open-air stage the Amphitheatre build was part of an expansion to broaden the arts, culture and events sector as well as increase the breadth of experiences to more guests than ever.

Since its introduction to our Bath House space, the Amphitheatre has hosted countless Bathe in Cinema events, live musical performances from leading names such as Kate Ceberano and Vika & Linda Bull, as well as aspects of cultural celebrations including Chinese New Year and Diwali, Festival of Lights.

food bowl

After several stages of planting and planning, our three-acre terraced Food Bowl and state-of-the-art Glasshouses opened to guests in 2022. This thriving green space is not just a site for fresh produce, but a place for interactive workshops, connection through group gatherings, learning and insight, all inspired by our seven pillars of wellness – relaxation, movement, sleep, mindfulness, education, and creativity.

Our Food Bowl is championed by our Land & Environment team who employs regenerative practices such as composting kitchen and garden waste, crop rotation, companion planting and cover crops to enhance the availability of soil nutrients and water. We currently supply our on-site restaurants with some of their fresh produce, and our aim is to eventually pluck 5% of our kitchen ingredients from our very own Food Bowl, creating dishes under our S.L.O.W. (seasonal, local, organic, whole) food philosophy.

Our Food Bowl has been designed to fuel both food for nourishment as well as food for thought, with the original intention behind its inauguration to be Peninsula Hot Spring’s University, where depth of knowledge is shared and used to inspire and spark creativity and intuition.

community connections

Since our inception, Charles, along with his wife Yuki, have had a strong tie to the community and aim to support engagement initiatives that have a profound impact. The passing of Richard steered their focus to supporting community physical and mental health and inspired the annual cycling event Ride for Relief. This event was created in partnership with Mentis Assist to raise funds and awareness for mental health and to emphasise the importance of caring for our physical well-being and connection to others. After the completion of the 5th event in February 2023, Ride for Relief has raised over $400,000 for Mentis Assist.

first nations connections

Peninsula Hot Springs acknowledges and pays respect to the Boonwurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation and their living cultural connections to the land and waters of the Mornington Peninsula through their Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the Traditional Owners of this land and forge relationships with local First Nations leaders and organisations. N’arweet Carolyn Briggs, Boon Wurrung elder, has been part of the Peninsula Hot Springs journey since its inception, and is still consulted on cultural matters today.

We also have deep partnerships with Lionel Lauch of Living Culture, Willum Warrain Aboriginal Bush Nursery, Baluk Arts in Mornington, and Bunjilwarra, a local residential recovery program for First Nations youths.

looking ahead

In 1997, we were two brothers with a dream of introducing more Australians to the enchanting experience of bathing. We began with an empty paddock. Today, we are a team of over 350 incredible people, and Peninsula Hot Springs is a wellbeing oasis offering over 70 globally inspired bathing experiences, plus accommodation, immersive cultural events, and transformative wellness activities.

In our future there will be hydronically heated eco lodge accommodations, outdoor massage pods, and sleeping lounges — among many other plans. After all these years our purpose remains the same: to co-create experiences where people can relax in nature with themselves and each other and connect with the deep well of their being.

Stay part of the journey as we continue to grow, evolve and inspire.

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"We rejuvenate and renew through relaxation, movement, nutrition, sleep, mindfulness, creativity and being at one with nature" - Charles Davidson

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