From rugged and raw natural pools to maintained geothermal facilities, these are the best hot springs across seven states and territories.
Hot springs are so much more than just an interesting natural phenomenon. Research into the effects of bathing in naturally occurring hot springs has found that the temperature of the water and the minerals in it have health benefits. While relaxing muscles and soothing sore joints are the predominant benefits of bathing in hot springs, some studies have even suggested bathing in a geothermal pool can help reduce blood pressure and improve skin conditions. However, most people seek out a hot spring experience simply to unwind, float around and find a sense of peace. Whether you’re looking for a wild hot spring surrounded by bush, a remote outback bath or a luxurious spa facility, these are the best hot springs in Australia.
What are hot springs?
In Australia, most hot springs are fed by groundwater contained deep within the bedrock of the earth where radiation from the core heats it up. After many years, this water is pushed to the surface by internal pressure, eventually emerging as a hot spring through cracks and bores in the earth. Some hot springs verge on just-warm temperatures, while others can bubble away at up to 50°C.
Katherine Hot Springs
Hidden away on the banks of the Katherine River within the Katherine township, Katherine Hot Springs is a secluded series of crystal clear thermal baths surrounded by bush, walking trails and picnic areas. The water sits at or just below 30°C, has full disabled access and is free to enter.
Mataranka Thermal Pool
For those seeking a tranquil hot spring experience that welcomes families, try Mataranka Thermal Pool. Partially man-made, the location is home to fruit bats and flying foxes, has plenty of shade and is surrounded by paperbark palms. The water is clear and clean and the 34°C hot springs have an accessible path. Located 8km from Mataranka in Elsey National Park, all that’s required for entry is a park pass.
Found just two kilometres from Mataranka, Bitter Springs is located in the bush of Elsey National Park in Katherine. This quiet and crystal clear hot spring has gentle currents, is framed by trees and even hosts the occasion turtle. There’s a short 500m loop walk, picnic area, public restrooms and prices start from $10 per person plus park entry fees.
Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa
Located in Hepburn Springs – in the middle of Australia’s largest concentration of mineral springs – 48km northeast of Ballarat, Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa is an elevated facility that has been utilising the wellness properties of the local mineral-rich waters for more than a century. Prices start from $58 per person for a session in the communal bath house.
Metung Hot Springs
Situated in the picturesque region of Gippsland is Metung Hot Springs, a new premier mineral pool bathing facility with views over the Gippsland lakes. Geothermal water was discovered in Gippsland in the 1930s by a company drilling for oil, and since then the mineral-rich waters have been used for leisure and wellness by the local community. You can find this hot spring on Storth Ryes Avenue in Metung, and bath entry is priced from $46 per person.
Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs
There are more than 70 bathing sites at Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs and the facility also provides day spa therapies. With scenic views of the Mornington Peninsula and accessible options for those who require it, these geothermal pools are believed to have healing properties. Located on Springs Lane in Fingal a 90-minute drive from Melbourne, access starts from $35 per person if booked online.
Deep Blue Hotel and Hot Springs
Comprised of open-air rock pools, caves and waterfalls, Deep Blue Hot Springs can be found just off the Great Ocean Road in Warrnambool. The geothermal springs are rich in minerals and designed to promote sensory and mental bliss. This location has 15 pools that bubble away at 39°C and entry starts from $46 per person.
Alba Thermal Springs
One of the newer hot springs on the Mornington Peninsula, Alba Thermal Springs has a spa, sauna, therapeutic treatment menu and geothermal pools. Some pools are infused with botanicals while others allow visitors to float weightlessly in high-density salt pools. Alba’s geothermal water contains natural minerals such as sulphur, calcium, magnesium and potassium, and is naturally heated to between 37°C and 43°C in underground aquifers 550 metres below the surface. Access to the hot springs starts from $80 per person.
Charlotte Plains Outback Station and Artesian Springs
In operation since 1892, Charlotte Plains Outback Station and Artesian Springs is a sheep station and campsite. Located in outback Queensland near Cunnamulla, guests can relax in the naturally heated mineral-rich hot springs on the property. Charlotte Plains provides powered and unpowered sites, free public bathing in the geothermal pools for guests, private bathing that can be booked ahead, plus tours of the station and farm animal encounters.
Talaroo Hot Springs
Tucked away in a remote outback town off the Savannah Way, Talaroo Hot Springs is thought to have formed millions of years ago and hits the surface at a steamy 62°C. The pools and terraces are spread across the land and are home to aquatic animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth. Given the delicate nature of this ecosystem, the communal bathing pool is accessed only on the Hot Springs Discovery Tour.
Innot Hot Springs
The geothermal pools of Nettle Creek on the Atherton Tablelands are a 100% natural, free and rugged bathing experience near Ravenshoe. Although the water level is dictated by recent rain, a walk along the river will usually produce some pleasant pools in which to bathe. However, be aware of the shallow pools as these can reach extremely hot temperatures.
Drive along the Gibb River Road 4WD track in Western Australia then take a leisurely 1.5km stroll through the El Questro pre-historic forest to find Zebedee Springs. This natural thermal pool is framed by palms and open to general visitors from 7am to noon from $11 per person.
Hastings Thermal Springs
Plunge into the depths of the earth at Hastings Cave and Thermal Springs. Just a 90-minute drive on the Southern Outlet from Hobart, these prehistoric hot springs are accompanied by dolomite caves. Check out the stalactites and helictites then take a dip in the warm, rich hot springs above ground. All-day use of the thermal springs starts from $5 per person in addition to site access.
Found deep within Witjira National Park on the western edge of the Simpson Desert, Witjira-Dalhousie Springs is a sacred site to Lower Southern Arrernte and Wangkangurru Aboriginal people. This location allows full immersion into nature and the unique opportunity to soak in 37°C to 43°C mineralised water at sunset, with nothing but the soothing sounds of the outback to accompany you.
Coward Springs Camping Ground
Once a station on the old Ghan railway line, Coward Springs Camping Ground is a unique heritage and conservation property. This small outback eco-camp has a natural mineral salt pool that sits at a constant 29°C, and is set in the Middle of Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs Conservation Park, a true remote outback experience.
Lightning Ridge Artesian Bore Bath
Sit in water sourced from the Great Artesian Basin and believed to be two million years old at Lighting Ridge Hot Bore Bath. Man-made pools hold mineral-rich water that’s pushed to the surface by natural underground pressure at a temperature of 40°C to 50°C. The baths are 2.1km from the centre of Lightning Ridge town and free to enter.
Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool
Requiring a short but steep 700m walk, Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool is fed by a natural hot springs and sits at a cosy 27°C. In winter, steam gently rises from the pools to disappear into the surrounding forest, with snow sometimes blanketing the ground around it. Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool is in Kosciuszko National Park, a three-hour drive from Canberra, and the man-made pools make it easy to take a dip.
Burren Junction Bore Baths
The Great Artesian Basin pushes hot water out of the earth towards the surface, producing geothermal pools of mineral-rich water that soothes aches and pains. Burren Junction Bore Baths are found at Burren Junction campgrounds, where a $6 camping fee buys you unlimited use of the pools. You can find the hot springs 100 metres off the Kamilaroi Highway, 2km out from the Burren Junction township.
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