Floating in Bitter Springs, Elsey National Park, Northern Territory © Tourism NT/Let's Escape Together
The best hot springs in Australia
Harness the power of Australia’s therapeutic thermal baths at these top 10 heavenly hot springs.
Nature’s answer to a relaxing water park ride lies nestled in the tropical woodland of Katherine’s Elsey National Park. Embrace the natural current and gently glide along Bitter Spring’s spring-fed waters, past floating lilies and baby turtles. Bring your swimmers and a snorkel mask – at a balmy 34°C (93°F), these hot springs are as clear as they are idyllic.
Feel the healing benefits of the Peninsula Hot Springs’ geothermal water, fed by springs more than 600m (1,968ft) below the earth’s surface. If the warming water encapsulating your body doesn’t soothe your soul, the breathtaking backdrop of the Mornington Peninsula no doubt will. Hop between the 70-plus bathing experiences that are sprinkled around this luxury oasis, finishing with a wellness treatment at the hot springs’ onsite spa.
The journey to Zebedee Springs begins with the iconic Gibb River Road and ends with a gentle 1.5km (1mi) walk through the lush El Questro wilderness. You’ll hear the tranquil trickling of the Zebedee Springs before you catch sight of them. This enclave of natural thermal pools is enveloped by pandanus and Livistona palms – which can soar more than 18m (60ft) high – and feels like nature’s secret spa.
Fancy a soothing soak after a long hike? Perched upon a hill overlooking the Blue Mountains, a seat in one of the Japanese Bath House’s mineral-infused (indoor or outdoor) pools offers unbeatable views. The bath house promotes Ikigai – a Japanese term that refers to ‘finding happiness through your reason for being’ – with their collection of pools, Japanese treatments and refreshing teas.
Winding along on the Great Ocean Road, you’ll discover staggering rock formations, dense temperate rainforest and perhaps a lesser-known attraction: the Hot Springs Sanctuary. A haven for wellness, the Warrnambool-based springs draw inspiration from the region’s wondrous natural landscapes. Absorb the powerful mental and physical benefits of mineral-rich water as you slip in and out of the 15-plus rock pools, sensory caves and tumbling waterfalls.
The semi-human-made Mataranka Thermal Pool is filled with the same irresistible turquoise water that you’ll find at its Katherine neighbour, Bitter Springs. Towering paperbark palms surround the pool, painting a picture of a tropical hideaway – with plenty of shade. The wheelchair and pram-accessible path is an easy 20-minute walk. From here, you can step into its goodness from the steel staircase – complete with a handrail. Laze your afternoon away soaking, swimming and spotting cute native wildlife, including fruit bats and endemic flying foxes.
Talaroo Hot Springs put the ‘surprise’ in Mount Surprise. This remote outback town – located along the legendary Savannah Way – is the gatekeeper of the 65-million-year-old mount springs, a living cultural landscape for the Aboriginal Ewamian people. At Taraloo, the drawcard goes far beyond warming waters. Take a walk with an Ewamian ranger to connect with the world’s oldest living culture and discover an ecosystem infused with Jurassic remnants, where evidence of human history and megafauna dates back 100,000 years.
Despite its gorgeous temperature, a day trip to Hastings Thermal Springs – just 90 minutes from Hobart – will give you goosebumps (of the best kind). These natural springs share a prehistoric ecosystem with Australia’s largest dolomite cave. The Newdegate Cave chambers began to form over 40 million years ago and are filled with stalactites, stalagmites and helictites that decorate the walls like ancient, gold-tinted icicles that defy gravity. After an eye-popping tour, dunk into the mineral water that feels like a warm hug against Tasmania’s crisp fresh air.
The Mornington Peninsula’s newest thermal springs sanctuary has taken hot springs to a new level of luxe. Step into a pair of white fluffy slippers in Alba’s beautifully modern complex and enjoy a collection of more than 31 experiences, including geothermal pools, saunas and an irresistible menu of spa treatments. Bathe in botanical-infused geothermal pools, or float weightlessly in salt water. Afterwards, dine at Alba’s sustainable restaurant Thyme, the brainchild of renowned chef Karen Martini. You’ll feel like a million bucks after a pamper in this peaceful paradise.
They say it’s all about the journey, but when your destination looks like Witjira-Dalhousie Springs, you might disagree. Located deep within Witjira National Park in South Australia, these hot springs remain a sacred site to the Lower Southern Arrernte and Wangkangurru Aboriginal people. You’ll most likely have the springs to yourself as you float in the expansive 37°C (98°F) natural spa water at sunset, where the rising thermal water meets the peaceful sounds of the outback.