Make the hour-or-so drive out of Melbourne to the small Mornington Peninsula town of Red Hill and you’re most likely on the prowl for some wine and cheese; maybe even some wild surf. It’s unlikely you’re heading out to visit a tiny hobby farm that’s largely unknown across the country, and yet is deeply admired around the world, from building a cult-following in Europe, to piquing interest from celebrities like Zac Efron and Anna Kendrick. Why is this farm so adored? The answer is Three Bays Mineral Water.
900 metres beneath the irrepressible beauty of Mornington Peninsula lies a prehistoric aquifer called the Palaeolithic Basement, estimated to be around 600 million years old. The catchment reportedly took 2,000 years to push water up to a spring in the backyard of this family-owned farm, discovered by owners Olaf Lyche and Dayle Purcell after they noticed that the local wildlife would regularly gather around this 18x9m hole that was periodically filled with water from deep underground. The water rises without any drilling, filtered by 900 metres of undisturbed soil and rock.
After getting the water tested by hydrologists, Lyche and Purcell began bottling the mineral water as a product, sold under the brand name Aqui-Live. A name change last year, due to copyright reasons, transformed that label to Three Bays, although the composition of the water – I assume – remains exactly the same.
That composition, for those interested, is apparently 92mg/litre of magnesium, a great balance of chloride, sodium, zinc, iodine, and potassium, plus a perfect pH level of 8.3 for the ideal balance of alkalinity and hydration. Three Bays mineral water also only has 0.008mg/litre nitrate, compared to tap water which has 45mg/litre. That profile leaves room for 1,300mg of mineral content per litre, making it the only known mineral water to supply the body with 23 of the 24 minerals considered essential to good health.
This high minerality was documented in Zac Efron and Netflix’s Down to Earth, something which has since seen demand for Three Bays mineral water absolutely skyrocket in the US.
According to Broadsheet, Three Bays is also set to supply their premium mineral water to several high-end restaurants in Dubai, as well as supermarkets dotted across the United Arab Emirates.
And yet, despite popularity overseas, Three Bays mineral water remains largely obscure in Australia. There are signs of that beginning to change though, with luxury hotels like the newly minted W Melbourne and Hilton Melbourne stocking the brand. Gold-winning performances at the annual FineWaters Taste Awards in Ecuador have certainly help boost that profile.
And that’s certainly something worth paying attention to, since Three Bays’ premium mineral water has even been called the most unique in the world. Even Martin Riese, the world’s leading water sommelier and one of the judges in the annual Fine Water Society awards, describes it as the “olive oil of water” with a “sweet and creamy” palate.
Olaf and Dayle seem to be ready to take Three Bays water – available as both still and sparkling – to the next level, now that the brand has a mighty cushion of acclaim to rest on. Once their artesian spring has reached full utilisation of its 20,000 litres/day capacity for a year, the owners plan to redirect all profits towards establishing a safe house – called ‘Hope House’ – for victims of family violence.