HOT: Peninsula Hot Springs, Springs Lane, Fingal, Mornington Peninsula

Peninsula Hot Springs

Peninsula Hot Springs is a natural hot springs and day spa centre in Fingal on the Mornington Peninsula. It’s the perfect place to relax and recover after the post-Christmas madness. 

The general Bath House bathing area features over 20 open air natural thermal mineral pools set out over a hillside. Each pool has a different theme and with water ranging between 37°C and 43°C. The mineral springs are said to help skin conditions, improve circulation, alleviate muscle stiffness and articular rheumatism.  
Peninsula Hot Springs

You can move from pool to pool and enjoy features such as the cave pool, reflexology walk, Turkish steam bath (Hamam), sauna, cold plunge pools and massaging thermal mineral showers.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Head first to the stunning hilltop pool where you relax in the warm water while admiring the panoramic views of the Mornington Peninsula. It’s a unique and amazing experience and shouldn’t be missed. After 10am it’s for adults only.

If you are likely to be moving from pool to pool frequently then a bathrobe (rather than a towel) is essential – it can be very cold and breezy as soon as you get out of the water. Don’t worry if you forget your water bottle – it’s important to keep hydrated but there are water fountains around and it’s one less thing to carry.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Those without young kids can enjoy The Spa Dreaming Centre. It is reserved for guests 16 years or older and offers a choice of thermal mineral pools, indoor private bathing pavilions, outdoor private pools, saunas, a Hamam and spa treatments.

During peak times (Friday to Monday and holiday periods) it is essential to pre-book your bathing. Bookings are also recommended during off-peak times to prevent disappointment.

Peninsula Hot Springs

Peninsula Hot Springs is a unique place to bathe, relax and dine just 75 minutes from Melbourne CBD. Go early in the morning or late at night for a quieter, more serene experience – you could even time it for sunset or sunrise for the best views. 

Peninsula Hot Springs, Springs Lane, Fingal, Mornington Peninsula (03) 5950 8777

The Bath House 7:30 am till 10 pm daily.

The Spa Dreaming Centre 8 am to 9 pm daily.

Closed Christmas day

Phone reservations 8.45am – 6pm Monday to Friday and 8:45am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday

Full schedule of fees here.

HOT: Dumbo, 11 Argyle St, West Footscray

dumbo west footscray

Dumbo is presumably named after the funky area in Brooklyn (short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) rather than the big-eared elephant, and as such it’s the perfect name for a cafe that is part of the rapid gentrification in West Footscray.

Dumbo West Footscray

The on-trend cafe transforms a building that is notorious for previously housing a clothing sweatshop. It’s in a prime position next to Footscray West Primary School so I guess it is just a matter of time before the outworkers are moved on and the coffee machine is brought in.

dumbo west footscray

I try the avocado smash piled high with with heirloom tomatoes, goats cheese, red onion, watermelon radish and almond dukkah ($16.50). It’s fresh, light and satisfying in its proportions. You generally can’t go wrong with a dish like that if you stick to simple and good quality ingredients.

Dumbo West Footscray

Doughnuts for breakfast are completely ok for breakfast if they come with fruit, right? These fried balls of ricotta dough are crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. There’s cocoa custard, caramelised banana, poach rhubarb, berries and ‘vanilla soil’ as frills ($15). Completely instagrammable!

dumbo west footscray

On my visit early in their opening period they were still working through issues with service and availability of menu items. Hopefully all those kinks have been ironed out now as my food is great and it’s worth returning for. 

Dumbo, 11 Argyle Street, West Footscray (03) 9078 2645

Monday – Friday 7:30am – 4pm

Saturday Sunday 8am – 4pm

Dumbo  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: Cafe Lafayette, 55 Beach Street, Port Melbourne

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

Cafe Lafayette is a Port Melbourne cafe with the fortunate aspect of 180 degree views of Port Melbourne beach, passing cruise ships and the Spirit of Tasmania.

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

The interior reflects its surroundings with a calming palette of white, wood and soft green, blue and yellow.

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

The all day brunch menu comprises cafe standards and Asian elements. 

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

The French toast is a thick slab of eggy bread with raspberry infused mascarpone, fresh fruit and pistachios. For $16.50 my gripe is that really it should be served with more than one slice of toast.

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

The housemade granola is as pretty as can be and so generously proportioned that it could easily serve two ($16.50).

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

I have the matcha hot cakes ($15.50) which are served with a very similar accompaniment to the French toast and granola – berry compote, honeycomb, vanilla mascarpone, red bean crème and sprinkling of pistachio. Maybe I am just drawn to the same ingredients but it feels a bit like menu deja vu!

As they bill themselves as an ‘Asian-fusion’ cafe you will find a dim sum selection on the menu. I try one of the bao with braised pork bell, which was a bit heavy-handed in flavour for my taste though the bun casing is delightfully soft. 

Cafe Lafayette Port Melbourne

Cafe Lafayette is also one of the few places in Melbourne where you can try a raindrop cake, a New York via Japan food trend. Essentially it’s jelly that’s lightly flavoured, not really my style but very Instagrammable!

Cafe Lafayette is a great option if you’re around Port Melbourne beach and need to make a pit stop. It brings some unique flair to beach eats and makes a relaxing location for a lazy brunch. 


Cafe Lafayette, 55 Beach Street, Port Melbourne, 03 9078 9808

Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm

Sat-Sun 8:30am-4:30pm

Cafe Lafayette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: Second Home, 21 Brougham St, Eltham

second home eltham

Second Home in Eltham is an award-winning cafe housed in an Alistair Knox-designed brick industrial building. It’s the latest venture from cafe maestro Jason Jones (The Stables of Como, Friends of Mine, Go West) and well worth a special trip to the leafy ‘burbs.

second home eltham

Formerly a factory, workshop and gallery, Second Home has taken the bones of the building and transformed it into a light-filled, expansive dining room, courtyard and art gallery set amongst the gum trees.

second home eltham

The kind of stylish, warm place that we WISH we could call home.

second home eltham

I adore the olive tree taking centre stage.

second home eltham

The menu is large and shares many similar traits to menus of Jones’ other cafes, with separate sections for bready things, healthy things and eggs and sprinklings of cheekiness. Lunch is a build-your-own affair with a rotation of proteins and salads as well as main meals.

second home eltham

A lighter menu has just been installed for spring/summer but I crave the dark hot chocolate from the winter season. Luckily they are still serving it (while there are still some marshmallows left) and the huge huggable mug of slick chocolate is soothing to the soul. Those needing a caffeine hit will note that the coffee is made with Rosso beans, a supplier for most of Jones’ cafes.

second home eltham

I also try the pink dragon fruit bowl of banana, kiwi, berries and buckinis. It’s like a smoothie in a bowl so on my waitress’ recommendation I add the optional granola ($4) for textural crunch.

second home eltham

The hot cake comes straight off the pan, fluffy and warm and topped with berries and mascarpone and maple syrup on the side.

second home eltham

On your way out grab something to go from the mini-providore filled with baked goods, sweet treats and posies.

Second Home brings inner city cool to the suburbs in a uniquely beautiful setting. If you’re not local Eltham makes an enjoyable day trip with Montsalvat art precinct just a short drive away .

Second Home, 21 Brougham St, Eltham

03 9439 5362

Open 7 days 8am-4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm on weekdays)

Bookings available on weekdays only

Second Home Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: Food Truck Park 80 Collins Pop Up, cnr Exhibition and Collins St, Melbourne

Food trucks collins st

For a limited time, the top end of Collins Street hosting a 80 Collins Pop Up, a lineup of new food trucks daily on weekdays thanks to the team behind Food Truck Park.

The forecourt of Nauru House on the corner of Collins and Exhibition Street, is now a cool open air eating and drinking area. The astroturf space adds some greenery to the concrete surroundings, there’s a ping pong table for kicks though not a lot of seating – it’s more of a stand up and go affair.

Food trucks collins st

On my visit there was everything from Polish street food (never knew there was such a thing) to churros, with most items under $15.

Food trucks collins st

I try a falafel souva from Greek Street Food ($9) and some decadent and unmissable loukoumades topped with a ladle of dark chocolate, crushed pistachios and hazelnut ice cream from Lukumades.

There’s something for everyone at 80 Collins Pop Up and during peak lunch hour it is busy, so if you have any flexibility I recommend avoiding 12:30-2pm.

80 Collins Pop Up will only be around for 4 weeks (at the moment) so enjoy the great weather while interesting eats while it lasts.


80 Collins Pop Up Food Truck Park, cnr Exhibition and Collins St, Melbourne

Mon-Wed 8-2:30pm

Thu-Fri 8am-9pm

Free entry

HOT: Paper Fish, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

Paper Fish, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

Paper Fish is the first offering of the revitalised Stokehouse Precinct on St Kilda Beach since the iconic site’s devastating fire in 2014. In a few months Paper Fish will be joined by a relaxed ground-floor bar and grill, Pontoon and the trademark Stokehouse restaurant, lounge, bar and terrace upstairs.

It’s incredible to think that for decades St Kilda Beach, Melbourne’s most famous and most frequently visited beach, hasn’t had a fish and chippery. Now Paper Fish serves high quality fresh fish and chips and other beach bites such as fresh salads, calamari and fritto misto is a giant paper cone. For drinks you can chill out with granitas, Balter beer or even Barokes wine in a can.

Paper Fish, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

Paper Fish location can’t be beaten. You don’t even need to dust the sand off as you stroll in directly off the St Kilda boardwalk to order and you can grab a wooden block stool under the palm trees or take away your fish and chips to the beach.

Paper Fish, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

The panoramic view of Port Phillip Bay is stunning, with a soundtrack of chortling seagulls and swishing of bike tyres on the path.

Paper Fish, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

Head chef Ollie Hansford and executive chef Richard Ousby are the masters of the all the Stokehouse Precinct kitchens. Thus the fish and chips at Paper Fish uses sustainable seafood, the crinkle cut chips are spiked with smoky paprika and you can go off-piste with a coconut prawn taco or soft-shelled crab in a milk bun.

Paper Fish, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

They are aiming to be a healthier alternative to your traditional fish and ships which means you can choose to have your fish grilled or a in a light tempura batter. I highly recommend the grilled blue grenadier, so fresh and flaky, all served in a cute recyclable box with a fish design. I found the chips a little soggy, so I hope that they are able to up the crunch factor a bit more as the kitchen settles in.

Paper Fish St Kilda

The popularity of Paper Fish in its first weeks means that I predict the Stokehouse Precinct and St Kilda’s foreshore will be THE place to hang out in Melbourne this summer. If you’re not up for queuing then Paper Fish is launching an ordering app so you can have your food delivered to your spot on the beach! Plus Pontoon is slated to open in the next few weeks and top-floor Stokehouse will open all-day dining from December 6.  Catch you there!

Paper Fish, Beachside, Stokehouse Precinct, 30 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda

Daily 12 – sunset (except Christmas Day) during Daylight Saving.

Paper Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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