I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright. Henry David Thoreau
I needed a break from the gnawing madness of constant deadlines and we needed some family time. Even my seven-year-old who was bouncing between school, swimming, Yia Yia’s and Nintendo DS, needed a weekend away.
An obligatory segue from daily life to catch nature’s light, smell the sea, have a walk in bushland and relax, indulge in fine food and wine and wallow in guiltless comfort.
Silverwater Resort, which is only 90 minutes from Melbourne, and prides itself as being at the gateway to Phillip Island, was a natural choice.
Strangely, from the moment we arrived at the resort my son’s DS did not see the light of day. Why would it?
The resort, is made up of 170 self-contained one, two and three bedroom apartments.
The resort arches over undulating hills and enjoys astounding views of the bay .
All apartments and resort rooms overlook the gardens, landscapes and the waters glistening silver across the bay and are beside the lakes, or Village Green, while most the rooms face north.
Ground-floor apartments feature garden terraces and those on the first and second levels have private balconies, from ours we could see out as far as the sea meets the sky.
Yet, regardless of the size of the resort it does not impose on the natural beauty of the location, in fact it seems to be born of nature itself.
The people at Silverwater Resort are friendly, accommodating and gracious. I met Marc Fletcher, Assistant General Manager, who expressed the vision of the resort simply, “Silver Water is for everyone, look around, we have a wedding tonight,” he said as people were arriving, checking in, greeting friends, all gearing up for the big day.
“We host events, conferences, parties, we are completely flexible yet, the same time, Silver Water is great as a romantic get-a-way, as much as it is for a family.”
The resort has a well stocked bar and guest lounge, a heated indoor lap pool, solar-heated freeform outdoor pool, spa pool, steam room and gym, tennis courts, basketball and volleyball courts, billiards and table tennis rooms, children’s playroom and playground as the Village Green.
What makes Silverwater Resort unique are the range of options it offers, from sporting, and entertainment to fine dining, or simply, in-room-service.
You may just wish to hide and simply enjoy a BBQ on your balcony as you take in the majestic surrounds.
At the heart of the resort is Watermark restaurant with it’s great a la Carte menu.
“There is something there for everyone”, says Marc, “if you want a nice French or Italian sauce, a unique creation, fresh seafood, or simply, a great steak, we can do it.”
On the first day we ventured out of the resort to Phillip Island, over the bridge that connects the mainland to the island.
In the superb koala sanctuary we found ourselves walking on elevated boardwalks eyeing the epitome of ‘cute’, the koalas.
When strolling through reserve we also met wallabies and saw some truly amazing birds. We too often forget the beauty and uniqueness of Victoria, which draws in tourists from around the world, yet is on our doorstep.
That night we ate out at one of the hotels in San Remo among the locals – a mix of surfies, country people, artists, families, sea-changers and tourists.
The atmosphere was replete with casual beach town charm.
The next day we woke with the full splendour of the Phillip Island’s hills heralding us from across the bay. We had a full breakfast ready for a day on Phillip Island.
Our first stop was Maze’N’Things, a necessary stop for a seven-year-old. A great house of fun, with mirror mazes, bits of optical illusion.
Fun for a while but the place was looking a little tired, in need of a revamp, particularly given it needs to compete with new digital entertainment.
Panny’s Chocolate Factory was next. This chocolate fantasyland is fun as well as a great learning experience.
The chocolate museum includes interactive chocolate making, exhibitions of old chocolate TV and magazine ads, the history of the coca bean and a version of Michelangelo’s David and a large wall mural of Dame Edna Everage made of chocolate. This is Nirvana for chocoholics like my family.
We were exhausted by 3pm and decided to head back to the sanctuary of Silver Water Resort, to relax, take a nap maybe, or just sit take in the great drama of nature from our balcony before going out to Phillip Island by 8pm for one the parade of the Little (aka Fairy) Penguins.
My boy and I took time go for a swim while my wife did what she needed most, she had some ‘me time’.
By 6pm we were famished and headed for Silverwater’s Watermark whose menu is endowed with seasonal produce, seafood, poultry and meats, much of it sourced locally.
We began by sharing grilled butterflied prawns, on top of a florence fennel, witlof and crab salad, with avocado dressing.
I elected to feed my basic instincts with a 300g Sirloin steak, which was cooked to perfection -tender with a deep rich flavour.
My wife ordered the grilled salmon which was perfectly cooked.
The selection of wines and beer is impressive.
My boy had a mountain of nachos, salsa and cheese followed by an oversized Banana Sundae smothered with hundreds and thousands and chocolate sauce.
By 8pm we were sharing the rises with Japanese, Chinese, Swedish, German, Italian and local tourists, scanning the surf whilst waiting for one of the greatest nature shows on earth, the Little Penguin parade.
The silence was broken by a collective “ahhh…” as the penguins began to walk out of the surf and head to their grassland burrows.
While seeing Little Penguins march may seem a tad kitsch, we were in Nature’s cathedral and this was a sanctified moment.
Our weekend away was simply unforgettable.
Silverwater Resort is a necessary adjunct to some of the most spectacular coast in Australia.
It is a resort that addresses the need to respect nature while at the same time not forsaking the pleasure of urbane living.
Silverwater Resort is a spectacular leisure, event and conference venue, unlike anything else in Victoria, surrounded by surf and swimming beaches and inspiring beauty of Phillip Island – it should not be avoided.