Mornington Peninsula, Vic
45 Placadena Road, Fingal
Phone: (03) 5988 6375; 0419 516 219
The location: Tucked away at the pointy end of Mornington Peninsula, midway between Tootgarook and St Andrews Beach, Fingal is the sort of place you are more likely to drive through than to - which is part of its low-key appeal.
The place: On five hectares of undulating former farming land, the original cottage, modernised in the 1970s, has been remodelled as a guest house and includes three bright, comfortable guest bedrooms, each with views over the property. The grounds, which are being revegetated, include an outdoor spa and a Balinese-style shelter, slightly incongruous in this setting, but perfect for reading a book (there are plenty available) or sipping champagne.
The experience: Ringed by golf courses and wineries, the property is only a short drive from bay beaches to the north and ocean beaches to the south. But it is clear from the guest book that many come simply to relax. Hosts Trish and Bryan are warm and attentive without being intrusive. Restful and unpretentious, it feels a bit like staying at a favourite relative's. The communal living/dining room has a wall-projected TV, a good selection of DVDs and gas log fire. In the mornings you can read the paper over a home-cooked breakfast.
Don't miss: Peninsula Hot Springs (peninsulahotsprings.com.au) is fabulous and fabulously popular (be sure to book in advance).
This spa is a rare blend of great design and natural beauty and offers mineral pools, plunge pools, steam room and massages.
A 20-minute drive away is Sorrento, with its wonderful rock platforms, boutiques and restaurants, including the amiable, Asian-inspired Three Palms (03 5984 1057; threepalms.com.au). kate cole-adams
Need to know
Distance: 100km (1.5 hours' drive) south of Melbourne.
Wheelchair access: Limited.