Bathe and connect in nature.
We are seeing the revival of bathing as a wellness trend and for so many good reasons. Visiting a communal bath house or hot springs surrounded by nature offers a place to take time out, soak away the aches and pains and calm the mind. It’s a great gift we can give ourselves and a wellness habit that also offers a chance for connection and relaxation with family and friends.
Below we share some of the best hot springs in Australia. Some are already well-known wellness destinations and others are places out in the wilderness that are amazing travel destinations themselves with the bonus of offering all the wellness benefits that comes with emerging yourself in the waters surrounded by nature.
MATARANKA HOT SPRINGS
Located near Uluru, experience stunning turquoise waters, incredible scenery among the Mataranka waterfalls, palm forests and the chance to spot a red flying fox as this area is a natural breeding ground for them. Come to experience the healing and soothing benefits of this pool after a hike in the surrounding trails.
Two kilometres away within Elsey National Park, is the relaxing Bitter Springs Thermal pool, among palms and tropical woodlands, often much less crowded.
KATHERINE HOT SPRINGS
These springs are situated on the banks of the Katherine River, with several pools, with the top one located at the source of the springs. The average temperature of the pool is 25-30 degrees Celsius and there is a café onsite called Pop Rocket Café. There are also picnic grounds and scenic walking tracks to enjoy close by.
INNOT HOT SPRINGS
This is a geo-thermal experience, located halfway between Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands and Mount Garnet. Even as far back as the 1900s, the spring water at Nettle Creek was bottled up and shipped back to Europe to spread its rejuvenating benefits. Today, visitors can pay a fee to access one of six temperature-controlled thermal pools at the Innot Hot Springs Leisure and Health Park, or go natural, and venture into the shallow sandy creek to bask in the revitalizing waters for free. Come for a soak after exploring the nearby natural attractions such as Millstream Falls National Park.
TALAROO HOT SPRINGS
A 65-million-year-old geological wonder, the Talaroo Hot Springs are one of only two mound springs in Australia and the only one that is not fed by the Great Artesian Basin. It features private soaking pools, new boardwalk to view the springs, a caravan park and campground, onsite cafe, “Yarning Circle” firepit, and tours led by the Ewamian Traditional Owners. Located within 31,5000ha of rugged Savannah landscape, the hot springs are fed by water that travels for
20,000 years after falling in the neighbouring Newcastle Ranges. The main bathing pools a balmy 35 degrees Celsius catering for year-round dips. This experience allows the Ewamian people to share their culture and provide visitors with a deeper spiritual connection to the land through their guided tours.
CARDWELL HOT POOLS
A natural swimming hole and a geological phenomenon 2.5 hours south of Cairns. Thanks to the mix of minerals and natural underground water source, the eye-catching colours of the pools can change between a soft turquoise and a mystical milky blue depending on the time of day, brightness and angle at which the sunlight hits the water. This popular swimming spot is located a short drive from the town of Cardwell and best visited following the summer season when the pools flow deep with refreshing clear-running water.
NEW SOUTH WALES
GREAT ARTESIAN DRIVE
This is a driving trail that takes you through seven hot artesian spa facilities and their associated towns, with the chance to experience a multitude of attractions along the way. The Great Artesian Basin lies underneath approximately one-fifth of the Australian continent. Basin water emerges through cracks in the rock and flows into springs, creeks and rivers. Kamilaroi Aboriginal people used the natural springs from the Great Artesian Basin as a source of water in times of drought.
GREAT VICTORIAN BATHING TRAIL
Inspired by international examples like the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop and Switzerland’s Grand Tour Deluxe, The Great Victorian Bathing Trail is a vision and plan for 2030 to create an iconic, world-class tourism trail linking hot springs and bathing tourism destinations. Boasting subsurface geothermal water right along its southern coastline, Victoria is uniquely positioned to define itself as the nation’s hot springs state.
There are now six existing facilities along the proposed trail:
- Geelong Eastern Sea Baths
- Warnambool Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs
- Hepburn Bathhouse
- Peninsula Hot Springs
- Metung Hot Springs in East Gippsland
- Alba Thermal Springs Spa
HASTINGS CAVE SPRINGS
Explore the Hastings Caves, an impressive and stunning dolomite cave system, then take the 5-10 minute Platypus and 20 minute Hot Springs forest walks. There is a fee for the swimming pool area, with water at 28 degrees, set in a lush forest glade, with picnic facilities and barbecues available. Water from mountains to the west soaks into the Earth, where it’s heated by hot rocks deep underground before bubbling back to the surface at Hastings.
DALHOUSIE MAIN SPRING
Full of rich and ancient culture, Dalhousie Main Springs in Witjira National Park consists of 120 springs, at 37 to 43 degrees Celsius, located on the edge of the Simpson Desert. It is known as Irrwanyere (‘healing waters’) by the local Aboriginal custodians, as they were used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years as a source of food, shelter and medicine. This mound springs complex is the largest flow rate hot springs in the world with enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool is less than 60 seconds. The area is home to unique species of fish such as the Dalhousie hardyhead and other rare aquatic life found nowhere else in the world. There are delightful camping spots around in this outback area.
In the heart of the Kimberley’s El Questro Wilderness Park, there are a multitude of walks within the spectacular rainforest, including Emma Gorge, one of the best known and spectacular gorges of the Kimberley, El Questro Gorge Trail and the Zebedee Springs Walk, which then leads to a natural oasis of rocky thermal pools of 26°C to 34°C, among lush palms. Zebedee Springs is only open between 7:00am and 12:00pm to reduce environmental impacts on this scenic spot.
List compiled by Tracey Cheung for Spa & Wellness magazine.
Read the full tory about the Revival of Bathing in our online magazine HERE.
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