A secluded retreat designed with love – relax with the magic of the beach and the bush, and fall in love with each other all over again.
Imagine yourself relaxing in a luxury cabin set amidst stunning bushland with a secluded, golden-sand beach just a stroll away. Big Blue Backyard’s romantic hideaways are only an hour away from Melbourne CBD, but transport you to a worry-free haven, a world away from city life.
Big Blue Backyard is a boutique retreat which provides the perfect setting for romancing, relaxing, and reconnecting, with the Mornington Peninsula as your playground. Big Blue Backyard is tucked away in National Park bushland on the Mornington Peninsula; a ten minute stroll from St Andrews Beach. Designed with couples in mind, Big Blue Backyard boasts three themed and eco-friendly hideaways; The Bush Hideaway, Beach Hideaway and the African Hideaway. Each hideaway is equally impressive, and has been hand-crafted by the owners, Paul and Lisa, using local materials.
When we arrived at Big Blue Backyard, Lisa greeted us warmly and showed us into our private bush hideaway. A luxury cabin set amidst tangling emerald trees, the bush hideaway is the newest addition to the Big Blue Backyard collection. The hideaway is open-plan and features a king-size bed, lounge area and two private decks tucked in the surrounding bush, one of which features a two person spa bath. A art-deco styled wet-room bathroom is complete with twin vanities and a rainforest shower head. Lots of hand-made and creative touches add character and personality to the hideaway, such as the artistically-decorated floor, handmade light-shades and fresh rosemary planted by the bed.
Impressed from the get-go we asked if it was possible to have a peek at the other hideaways. As the other guests had not arrived yet, Lisa was more than happy to show us around. All three hideaways offer the same amenities, however it’s amazing how different the atmosphere is in each one. Whilst our bush hideaway blended perfectly with Big Blue Backyard’s lush, bush setting, the beach hideaway is bright and airy with a hand crafted bed made from driftwood and a summery blue and white colour scheme. The African hideaway is very romantic with deep red hues and authentic African artworks that Lisa has brought back from South Africa. Whilst all the hideaways are but minutes from each other and the main house, they have been designed to promote a feeling of absolute privacy and seclusion.
Heading back to our bush hideaway we decided to explore and found some handmade biscuits sitting along a fine selection of T2 teas and a complimentary bottle of local bubbly in the fridge. On the back of the bathroom door, Lisa had written a very sweet welcome note in chalk, telling us not to hesitate in going over to the main house at any time if there was anything we needed to make our stay more comfortable. These first few minutes exploring our cabin gave us a sense of the kind of personal touches that we were to expect throughout our stay. Other nice touches were the organic Olieve and Olie bathroom products, and colouring book which was sat by the bed and acted as a visitor book – an absolutely amazing idea.
We decided to go for a walk down to the beach. Big Blue Backyard has a path that leads into National Park bushland, and the path through to the beach has been signposted with stones painted with blue arrows.
A bit of an adventure, the walk is definitely worth it because waiting for you is a stretch of secluded golden beach. Lots of rocks in the water, St Andrew’s Beach is not ideal for swimming, but is absolutely gorgeous and great for a morning walk, taking some time out, or reading with the backing track of the waves.
By the time we got back to our bush hideaway we decided it was time to enjoy those bikkies with a cuppa, before I gave the outdoor spa bath a whirl. There’s something amazing about relaxing in a bubble bath with the breeze blowing across your face, birds chirping, the rustle of the trees and the distant sound of the waves.
Sufficiently unwound, I reluctantly left the spa to get ready for dinner. Needless to say, reluctance turned into excitement as soon as Lisa brought over the first course which was a delicious duck and pistachio terrine which provided the perfect opportunity for us to crack into that bottle of bubbles.
Big Blue Backyard offers guests the option of a romantic dining experience during your stay. The dishes are designed to share and are prepared fresh by Paul, using local and organic ingredients. Dinner is served for couples in the privacy of your own deck, or inside your cabin if you’d prefer. If larger groups or double daters book two, or all cabins, there is also a purpose-built dining area in the main house to facilitate up to eight guests.
Along with the seasonal starter, couples have the option of choosing their shared mains and dessert, or being surprised with whatever the chef is preparing that evening. Leaving it to the expert, we decided to let Paul work his magic.
After giving us time to tuck into the terrine, Lisa was back to clear the table and bring us our main course. We were presented with beef fillet, which had been roasted to perfection, served with Madagascan green-peppercorn sauce. The roast was accompanied by a generous bowl of hand cut chips and a salad of seasonal greens topped with juicy pomegranates. The flavours were incredible and the food was presented beautifully as well. The plates used were even hand-made by Lisa and were a work of art in themselves.
With the sun having set and a cool change coming through, Lisa suggested we cuddle up in the cabin, and told us she’d set up our dessert inside. Giving time for our mains to settle she brought us a decadent Pavlova, slathered with double cream and seasonal fruits which was the perfect accompaniment to our last glass of bubbly as we challenged each other to a game of cards.
We could not have been more impressed by the food and, very satisfied, crawled into our king-sized bed to fall asleep to the sound of the waves.
The following morning we woke up well rested and excited for the day ahead. Lisa came at a pre-arranged time with our breakfast. Breakfast is delivered discretely and can be delivered any time from 9am, and as late as you like. Breakfast options are not specifically ordered, but dietary requirements and requests are happily catered for with notice. Happy to be surprised, we were presented our first morning with a delicious, full continental breakfast. Tucking in, we had a flick through the paper and enjoyed a cup of coffee and fresh orange juice before we headed out for our day’s adventures.
On the agenda was the near-by Peninsula Hot Springs, for which Bath House entrance costs are included in the “Secluded Celebration” package. A choice between a 30 minute private bath experience at the Peninsula Hot Springs and an all day access to the Spa Dreaming Centre, or two one-hour massages in the privacy of your own hideaway, is also included in the “Romantic Indulgence” package.
Founded in 1997, the Peninsula Hot Springs are located on 42 acres of land under which hot geothermal water had been discovered in 1979 and is continuing to expand. The Peninsula Hot Springs currently has two bathing facilities, the Bath House and the Spa Dreaming Centre. The Bath House offers general bathing in the multitude of thermal pools, a Turkish Hamam, reflexology walk, sauna, massaging thermal showers, cave pool and 360 degree hilltop pool.
The Spa Dreaming Centre places an emphasis on tranquil spaces, private pools and offers guests an array of pampering spa treatments which aim to revitalise body, mind and spirit.
Licensed cafes, as well as more casual dining options are also available at the Springs, which are open from 7:30am until 10pm daily.
We spent a couple of hours enjoying the multitude of bathing experiences on offer in the Bath House. Whilst a busy and very popular attraction, you can’t help but be relaxed, and there’s always the option of booking in for a treatment in the Spa Dreaming Centre if you want something that little bit more special.
After we were finished at the Springs, we decided to visit the Cups Estate winery which is located only a couple of kms down the road. Tastings are available at the cellar door, and we, along with Lisa and Paul, rave about their sparkling cuvee. A bottle bought for the evening, we headed back to our hideaway via Rye to pick-up provisions for a hideaway picnic. Whilst we had been out, our room had been tidied and any provisions re-stocked.
With the sun beginning to set that evening, we walked the path to the beach where we were stunned with breathtaking sunset views over the water. We’d strongly recommend making the trip one evening of your stay – with no one else on the beach, it is delightfully romantic.
Back at the hideaway, we cuddled up on the lounge to enjoy our picnic and selected a movie to watch from the carefully picked, and impressive range on offer in our hideaway.
Finishing the evening with a candlelit spa bath, we again retired to our king-sized haven of plush pillows to be sung to sleep by the wind and waves.
The following morning we enjoyed a lie-in, before we got ready for breakfast which was again brought by Lisa. While we were out the day before, she had messaged us saying she hoped we were enjoying the hot springs, and asked about our preferred breakfast time. Sitting out on the deck, we enjoyed Spanish-style baked eggs, with a side selection of breads and fruit salad.
Marking the end of our stay at Big Blue Backyard, our only complaint was that we didn’t want to leave. After promising Lisa that we’d head over to the main house to say goodbye, it was with heavy hearts that we had to turn away and drive back to reality. It was definitely one of the more intimate places we’ve stayed, and one of our favourites. There’s no shortage of places to explore on the Peninsula, and the secluded hideaways provide the perfect setting for some “me-time”, and some “couple-time”.
Most impressive was the level of care taken by the hosts; during your stay we can guarantee you will be in very capable hands. The amount of love and pride Lisa and Paul have for Big Blue Backyard is evident from the moment you step out of the car, and the amount of care they take for their guests makes this retreat truly unforgettable.
For more of the photos taken during our stay, visit our flickr album.