Located in the centre of Corio Bay on the northern coast of the Bellarine Peninsula, Clifton Springs found its place in the sun in the last quarter of the 19th century.
Fame followed the 1870 discovery by Thomas Bates of 12 springs on the seaside boundary of his property. He dubbed them Clifton - the name of a suburb of Bristol where the English had been taking the hot waters for generations.
Baths and a kiosk rose above the springs and a pier was built to accommodate the ship loads of visitors who came to bathe and to take the therapeutic waters. Fame gradually faded and the spa eventually fell into disuse.
Today they still bubble to the surface at a couple of spots on the beach, and one former spring site, Fairy Dell is a popular, secluded picnic spot with million dollar views across Port Phillip Bay which was once plied by Clifton Springs-bound passenger steamers. There is a chain of wineries off the road linking nearby Drysdale with Portarlington.