You can’t beat a good soak.
Hot springs have long been a drawcard, delivering the essential ingredients for a truly soothing experience.
Fortunately, Australia has an amazing assortment of thermal springs to enjoy.
Sit back, relax, and get to know these hotspots.
Before we start, let’s take a quick science lesson, particularly related to our neck of the woods.
While hot springs – or thermal springs – are often associated with volcanic activity, in Australia it’s a different story.
With no active volcanoes to contend with, our hot springs are instead created by groundwater permeating bedrock and reaching reservoirs found deep below, where it is heated by radiation emanating from the planet’s molten core.
Over time, this hot water rises under stress, emerging to the surface through cracks and bores where it creates natural springs.
The Great Artesian Basin is a major influence. It is one of the world’s largest groundwater basin complexes and is responsible for stoking many Australian springs.
The mineral-rich waters of thermal pools have been long been linked to a host of health benefits.
These include helping to heal skin ailments, relieving pain to sore joints and muscles, and reducing stress.
Whether definitively true or not, there’s no doubt that thermal pools are perfect for relaxing.
Now, let’s get on with exploring some super springs…
Where: Mornington Peninsula.
These natural geothermal mineral springs are among the most popular in the country. Soothing warm water fills a host of pools and private baths dotted among tranquil, tree-lined surrounds that heighten the relaxing ambience. Highlights include a Japanese-influenced cave pool and a hilltop pool that delivers delightful panoramas. It’s backed by a spa dreaming centre and other additions that create a complete wellness experience.
How to get there: It’s 45km southwest of Frankston, near St Andrews.
Where to stay: BIG4 Mornington Peninsula.
Conveniently located within the centre of town, along the banks of the Katherine River, these natural thermal springs are a must-visit. A collection of clear thermal pools is set within beautiful natural surrounds, fed by spring water that averages temperatures between 25-30 degrees Celsius. There’s a wheelchair access ramp and handrail at the main pool and shaded, grassy areas nearby that have ‘perfect picnic spot’ written all over them.
How to get there: The hot springs are located on Riverbank Dr, just off Victoria Hwy.
Where to stay: BIG4 Breeze – Katherine.
Where: Lightning Ridge.
The famous Lightning Ridge bore baths are ‘powered’ by the mineral-rich waters of the ancient Great Artesian Basin. This hot water maintains a temperature that hovers around 41.5 degrees Celsius, creating the perfect environment for a soothing soak. The ultimate experience is to sit in these artesian baths under a star-cloaked sky and simply relax. Delightful!
How to get there: The free community baths are located on Pandora St on the outskirts of town.
Where to stay: BIG4 Opal.
Where: Witjira National Park, Flinders Ranges and Outback region.
Planted deep in Outback SA, Dalhousie is in fact part of a series of 100-plus mound springs connected to the outer rim of the Great Artesian Basin. The National Heritage-listed spring possesses thermal waters derived from deep underground, which hover around 37 degrees Celsius. A setting that is fringed by trees and shrubs creates the perfect outback oasis.
How to get there: Dalhousie Springs are located 350km northeast of Coober Pedy, reached via Oodnadatta.
Where: Hastings, Huon Valley.
Stunning dolomite caves are the headliners within this resplendent reserve, but there is another enticing feature at surface level: a large, thermal spring-fuelled swimming pool. Flanked by greenery, the pool has a year-round water temperature that sits at a pleasant 28 degrees Celsius, enhancing the reserve’s reputation as a day-trip must from Hobart.
How to get there: The reserve is 105km southwest of Hobart; 5km from the Hastings Visitor Centre.
Where to stay: BIG4 Hobart Airport.
This small Outback QLD town is home to a facility that boasts two sizeable pools filled with artesian water. One pool contains heated waters originating from the Great Artesian Basin while the other offers cooler temperatures. It’s joined by a wellness centre and café.
How to get there: Mitchell is 565km west of Brisbane. The town is 85km west of Roma, a destination located on the quickest route for those driving from Brisbane to Carnarvon National Park.
Where to stay: BIG4 Breeze - Carnarvon Gorge is around a 3.5hr drive.
Where: Elsey National Park, near Mataranka.
Located south of Katherine, Elsey National Park is home to a pair of the most popular natural thermal pools in Australia. Mataranka is one of them. It’s pretty as a picture, surrounded by palm trees with gin-clear waters that constantly hover around the 34 degrees Celsius mark. Bliss.
How to get there: The pool is 9km east of Mataranka and 120km south of Katherine. It’s accessed via an easy 500m walk from a nearby car park.
Where to stay: BIG4 Breeze - Katherine is approximately 80 minutes away by car.
Where: Elsey National Park.
This is the second of two thermal beauties within Elsey National Park, and Bitter Springs is also backdropped by palms and other gorgeous greenery.
How to get there: The springs are just 3km east of Mataranka and they too require only a short walk to reach from a car park.
Where to stay: BIG4 Breeze - Katherine is around a 70 minute drive.
Where: Hepburn Springs, near Daylesford.
A search for ‘where are the hot springs in Victoria’ is guaranteed to land in this historical area, renowned as Australia’s first mineral reserve. Created in 1865, it’s home to more than 80% of Victoria’s mineral springs, and visitors are encouraged to bring empty bottles to sample the waters. A leading feature within the reserve is Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, which provides various private bathing and wellness experiences.
How to get there: The reserve is located on the fringes of Hepburn Springs and just 5km north of Daylesford.
Where to stay: Daylesford Holiday Park.