"We want people to reconnect with the beauty of doing nothing," says Claire Gemes. Hence the private courtyards furnished with hammocks and outdoor showers, and "spa bars" in each suite at Lon, her new retreat and spa on Victoria's Bellarine Peninsula.
The 80-hectare property has been owned and farmed by Gemes' family since the 19th century. The sandstone farmhouse, previously the family home and a B&B run by her parents, has been renovated so each of the seven suites has views of Bass Strait, Lake Victoria and the Point Lonsdale Lighthouse.
With the number of guests capped at 16, an adults-only policy, an honesty bar and a minimum two-night stay, Lon is geared for winding down and switching off. "Sometimes a walk to the beach is all you'll do all day," Gemes says of the short stroll to Point Lonsdale's back beach.
The day spa's three rooms are positioned so guests can watch ships sail past their massage tables, and the heated hydrotherapy pool is fed by a spring that filters through caves beneath the property.
Each suite has a barbecue and access to a pantry of local produce so guests can DIY, while destination restaurants include Oakdene Vineyards and Geelong's Igni.
While much of the new investment in tourism has funded projects on the Mornington Peninsula (Jackalope and Pt Leo Estate among them), the Bellarine Peninsula is catching up.
Campbell Point House, on Lake Connewarre, opened earlier this month in a converted French manor-style home, with eight luxury suites, tennis courts, an infinity pool and a day spa and private jetty, as well as a kitchen garden for the on-site restaurant. There, chef Tobin Kent (last seen at Gladioli) prepares eight-course dégustations and à la carte breakfast for guests.
Meanwhile, artisan brewers and distillers, such as Bellarine Distillery in Dysdale, are moving into the wine-growing region, bringing with them a new dimension and a whole host of new reasons to pay return visits.