The mineral hot springs in Australia rival the best of what any country has to offer, and most are set up for some wholesome family fun. Oz is rife with exotic wildlife and untouched nature, fantastic for relaxing away from the crowds.
This giant island is full of thermal springs spread throughout the country. Stop in at one of these stellar soaking spots on your next trip Down Under.
Here are the best thermal springs in Australia, in no particular order:
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Head to South Australia to Dalhousie Springs, also known as Witjira-Dalhousie Springs, on the edge of the Simpson Desert for a taste of what central Australia has to offer. While there are technically over 60 springs under the Dalhousie name spread out over a 50,000-hectare area, swimming is only welcome in the pools of the main one.
The highly mineralized water varies between 100-107℉ (38-43℃) and is host to fish like the Dalhousie hardyhead, goby, and catfish, unique to this location. While you’ll be amidst sand dunes and desert pavement, or gibber plains, the pools are lined by trees and are irresistible to the local waterfowl. Plus, there’s plenty of hiking to enjoy in the national park when you’re ready to dry out.
Three campgrounds sit near the springs–Dalhousie Springs, 3 O’Clock Creek, and Purni Bore– were expanded in the ‘90s and have hot showers, toilets, laundry, etc. for overnighters. Also, on-site payphones are a lifeline in an area that is essentially off the cellular grid. Keep in mind, you’ll need 4WD for the journey here.
Katherine Hot Springs
Katherine Hot Springs, a gem of the Northern Territories, is perched next to the Katherine River, a spot ideal for fishing, caving, and canoeing. It’s a ten-minute walk from the parking and public toilet area to the thermal pools. The Pop Rocket Cafe is available to grab a meal along the way during parts of the year.
Six pools are shaded by leafy foliage for a tropical feel. They are connected by a stream with lots of space to jump in in-between, with the main pool being wheelchair accessible. The crystal-clear water of the springs is a bit cooler than some with a temperature of 77-86℉ (25-30℃). As usual, the warmest pool is closest to the source, and it gets cooler as you move away.
Enjoy wandering through nature on several walking paths through the property. For even more chances to see wildlife, head 30 minutes north to Nitmiluk Park or 30 minutes south to the Cutta Cutta Caves.
Zebedee Thermal Springs
Dropped right in the middle of El Questro Wilderness Park in Western Australia, Zebedee Thermal Springs is an awesome place for some family fun. It’s open year-round, but can be hard to get to during the rainy seasons. You can take a 4WD vehicle down the Gibb River Road from Kununurra or book an air or land transfer. Or, you can join a guided tour.
It takes about an hour to hike the 1.5km trail from the parking area to the pools, but it’s well worth the trek. Getting there is half the fun, as you pass two permanent waterholes, seepages, billabongs, lagoons, and sometimes, crocodiles enjoying the sun on the sandbanks.
Along with the stunning spring pools with mini waterfalls, there’s a play area for the kids, a sauna, a spa pool, a basketball court, and hiking trails to take advantage of. Guests can camp near the springs or rent a nearby cabin.
There’s a general store on the property, as well, with plenty of supplies if you forget anything at home. As an added bonus, this is one of the best places in the country you can fish at night.
(Mornington) Peninsula Hot Springs
Just 90 minutes from Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs is the ideal weekend getaway. This is the place to try over 70 “globally-inspired bathing and wellness experiences”. These are just a few of the options: an ice cave, an underground sauna, a Turkish bath, a hilltop pool with a view, a Japanese-inspired cave pool, and many more.
One of the highlights of their consistent programming is musical performances put on in an amphitheater made of different levels of pools for in-water viewing. The adults-only Spa Dreaming Centre also offers private bathing pavilions and moonlight bathing experiences into the wee hours of the morning.
While there are dining rooms featuring seasonal produce grown onsite, there also are plenty of restaurant options in town. Partnered businesses can help you tour the peninsula, visit wineries, kayak in a dolphin sanctuary, ride horses, rent a waterbike, etc. There’s no end to the activities, so plan to stay at one of the glamping sites with lovely decor that’s as luxurious as a hotel room but closer to nature.
Deep Blue Geothermal Baths
An hour west of Melbourne and deemed a “hot springs sanctuary”, the Deep Blue Geothermal Baths, are a popular spot for all different forms of bathing. 15 open-air thermal rock pools, sensory caves, and waterfalls offer a wide range of opportunities.
It’s also within walking distance of Australia’s south coast beaches. There’s even a bathhouse with an indoor thermal pool for a basic, swimming pool-type experience.
Guests can also indulge in one of the many day spa treatments, an infrared sauna, and salt therapy to reach the pinnacle of relaxation. Those spending the night can choose from an array of guest rooms, some with ocean views and spa baths, all with calming, cozy decor. At mealtimes, an in-house chef prepares seasonal dishes with local produce in the restaurant and cafe.
Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs – Tasmania
Down in southern Tasmania, Hastings Caves & Thermal Springs pair adventure with relaxation. Start with a cave tour of natural wonders that started forming over 40 million years ago. Newdegate is the largest dolomite tourist cave in Australia and is dripping with stalactites and stalagmites.
Above ground, a large swimming pool is fed with thermal water and remains at around 82℉ (28℃) year-round. Bring a picnic for some good old-fashioned fun, or grab light snacks, coffee, and souvenirs at the Visitor Centre. Barbeques, toilets, and changing rooms are located nearby, and the outdoor fireplace is a lovely place to cozy up on colder days.
Don’t miss out on a walk through the forest for a chance to see some spectacular wildlife: platypi, quolls, pademelons, birds, and more. The Platypus Walk, a short trail behind the pool designed for checking out the fauna, is wheelchair accessible.
Artesian Mud Baths
In the southwest corner of Queensland, geothermal rises to the surface and presents the lucky Artesian Mud Baths guests with a type of therapeutic mud. A series of colorful, Victorian clawfoot tubs are set up under the open sky, the perfect setup for stargazing when the sun dips under the horizon.
The whimsical tubs are surrounded by a corrugated tin wall for privacy and the red dirt of the outback. Wine, beer, or tea is accompanied by delectable snacks and are included with the price of admission, as is the locally made moisturizing cream for when you dry off.
Portable fire pits heat the area on chilly days, making it a good option for any time of year. It’s a bit of a trek here from the major cities, so if you don’t want to drive, fly into the unsealed airstrip that’s walking distance from the property.
Lightning Ridge Bore Baths
The Lightning Ridge Bore Baths sit in the tiny rural New South Wales town by the same name. Many fossils have been dug from the bottom of this ancient inland, and you can feel the history soaking in the mineral-rich water. They’re basic but lovely.
These simple, circular concrete pools host water that stays around 107℉ (42℃). Poolside showers make cleaning up a breeze, and the wide open sky creates lasting memories when bathing under the magnificent display of stars in the evenings.
South Australia’s Sequoia Lodge is an adults-only luxury experience waiting on the side of Mount Lofty. A 150-year-old sequoia tree grows at the entrance to this lavish lodge with sweeping views of the Picadilly Valley from the panoramic infinity pool.
Not only does the thermal spring water fill the pool, but it feeds every tap on the estate. With only 14 rooms, some with private sun terraces, there is never a crowd here. Walls of glass take advantage of viewpoints all around the lodge, including in the cocktail lounge and restaurant.
This region boasts the largest koala population in the world, and on top of that, there are rescue kangaroos and wallabies that make their home on the property. Curated onsite experiences like sunrise yoga, winemaking classes, 4WD tours to the coastline, and feeding the animals at the wildlife park will make any trip here something you’ll never forget.
Mataranka Thermal Pool
Mataranka Thermal Pool, one of two natural thermal pools in Elsey National Park, is located in the Northern Territory. The water here stays around 93℉ (34℃) which, during the summer, can be cooler than the temperature on dry land. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen if you come on a hot day.
It’s easy to see why this pool has received a Travelers’ Choice 2022 award on TripAdvisor. Guests can grab a noodle and float in the pristine water, the distant sounds of waterfalls lulling them into a relaxed state.
As a breeding ground for the red flying fox, these majestic creatures are often running around in the background. A wheelchair- and pram-accessible loop walk with easy grade twists and turns throughout the Livistona trees.
Overnights can be booked at Jalmurark Campground, a non-powered 2WD site with spots for trailers and caravans. It’s also located within Elsey National Park. Toilets, showers, and barbeques are available.
Two kilometers from Mataranka township, Bitter Springs, the other thermal pool in Elsey National Park, is kept as natural as possible. These pristine turquoise waters are surrounded by foliage giving the impression of a lazy river with a tropical feel. It was given its own Travelers’ Choice 2022 award on TripAdvisor.
Many visitors like to float with the current for a while before walking back to the entry point and repeating the circuit.
While it’s relatively remote, there are public toilets and a picnic area that make it convenient for a day of fun. Just be sure to avoid the rainy season–November through May–when it shuts down. The closest place to spend the night is also the Jalmurak Campground.
Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool
Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool is tucked into the bottom of an Isolated valley in Kosciuszko National Park. A grassy lawn follows the sides of the 20-meter pool and makes an excellent place for a picnic or soaking up the sun. At over eight feet deep, the main pool isn’t for everyone; small children and non-swimmers can use the smaller wading pool that catches the overflow.
At 81℉ (27℃), the water here is a bit cooler than most hot springs but is constant, making it a good option for winter soaking. If you’re lucky, you’ll also spot some of the local inhabitants on one of the many nature trails in the area.
From the parking area, it’s a steep 700-meter walk down to the pool, or you can take the easy slope of the river walk, three kilometers along the Yarrangobilly River. The latter gives you a chance to explore some caves on the way to the pools where, if you plan in advance, you can also reserve accommodations at the Yarrangobilly Cave House.
If you want a one-of-a-kind hot springs experience, consider adding one of these top thermal springs in Australia. It’s a country full of natural wonders, and with a sparse population outside of the major cities, it’s not hard to get out in the midst of them.