As I eased my tired and tense body into the 40C (104F) hot artesian springs I felt a sense of relaxation which had eluded me for a while. Soaking in peace in a swimming pool sized hot spa bath was an unmissable pleasure of visiting the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre.
Across outback northern New South Wales and Queensland lies a string of ten towns which have affordable artesian swimming pools which are outback Australia’s unique version of hot springs. The naturally hot mineral rich water is pumped from the hidden Great Artesian Basin which lies underneath approximately one fifth of Australia’s landmass.
- The Great Artesian Basin of Australia
- Hot Springs NSW
- Moree Hot Springs NSW
- Bonus – Hot Springs Queensland
The Great Artesian Basin of Australia
The Great Artesian Basin stretches through the arid and semi-arid sections of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory. The Great Artesian Basin consists of a vast underground freshwater reservoir of pressurised water which can be accessed through drilled bores.
Evidence of the proliferation of artesian bores is visible with the ubiquitous presence of windpumps across the Australia outback landscape. Each windpump is attached to a bore which is used to either water livestock or irrigate crops.
In many areas the artesian water is very hot which has led to a proliferation of hot artesian pools across the Great Artesian Basin. Here are ten locations where publically accessible artesian hot pools are available. This article is separated into two main sections with the first part of the article focused on natural hot springs NSW and the second part about natural hot springs in Queensland. All of the options are readily accessible by 2WD vehicles. However you may come across other options which the local farmers are keeping quiet!
Hot Springs NSW
Many European cities and towns are steeped in spa culture but Australia also has many places where you can relax and enjoy the health benefits of hot springs. The leading location for artesian hot springs in New South Wales are the Moree Hot Springs. The Moree artesian baths are very reminiscent of some French spa complexes, so much so that you could justifiably rename the wonderful Moree thermal pools as Spa Moree (imagine an accent over the ‘e’ to make it sound even more French). We have also found four other NSW thermal springs for you to enjoy located in Lightning Ridge, Burren Junction, Pilliga and Boomi.
Moree Hot Springs NSW
The leading artesian hot springs in the northern New South Wales region are the Moree Hot Springs NSW. The Moree natural hot springs can be found at the Moree Pool. The Moree Aquatic Centre contains two public hot pools, and a general swimming complex. The two outdoor Moree hot pools have temperatures of 38C and 40C (100F and 104F). If you want an even more special Moree spa experience, you can luxuriate in your own private bath. The private baths are part of the Wellness Centre within the Moree water park complex.
The Moree spa baths originated in 1895 when a bore was sunk underground into the Great Artesian Basin whilst looking for water suitable for irrigation. When the water emerged at a natural 41C (105F) the Moree springs (probably most accurately described as Moree bore baths) were quickly established. The Moree baths are now visited by 300 000 people annually.
We recently visited the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre and you can read more about our visit in Mini Australian Road Trip: Brisbane to Sydney via Moree and Narrabri.
Around the area there are additional smaller artesian hot springs options co-located with motels. Two additional hot spring options found in Moree motels include:
- The Artesian Spa Motel has two artesian hot pools and one cool water pool for guests only. One of the artesian pools is enclosed so is useable in all weather conditions. This motel has a 4-star rating and has good reviews. It is located 1.8km from Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre and offers single, twin and family rooms. Click here to check out the latest pricing and to make your booking.
- The Dragon Phoenix Resort is in a great location only 0.4km from Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre and features hot spring spa baths, a pool and a restaurant. It offers standard queen rooms, premium queen rooms as well as 1 and 2 bedroom apartments. Click here to check out the latest pricing and to make your booking.
I would also suggest Jackaroo Apartments as a terrific Moree accommodation option. It has an excellent location and is highly rated.
- Jackaroo Apartments are only 300 metres from Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre and have a fabulous rating. They offer queen rooms, twin rooms and studio apartments (some of which can sleep 5 people). Click here to check out the latest pricing and to make your booking.
Lightning Ridge Bore Baths NSW
The Lightning Ridge Bore Baths are a free local attraction in the opal mining township of Lightning Ridge. Lightning Ridge has a population of just over 2000 people. In addition to the bore baths there are plenty of other interesting things to do including visiting the Australian Opal Centre, participating in an underground mine tour, trying your luck looking for opals in the fossicking heap, and checking out quirky attractions such as Amigo’s Castle and the Chambers of the Black Hand.
The Lightning Ridge hot springs are open 24 hours per day 7 days per week. The Lightning Ridge artesian bore baths consist of two pools. The large open air pool is heated to around 40C (104F) and there are hotter and colder spots so you can pick the temperature which suits you best. There is also a smaller shallower pool to one side which is at a cooler temperature.
Lightning Ridge Accommodation
One good accommodation option in Lightning Ridge is Sonja’s Bed and Breakfast. It has a 3-star rating and has a very good rating. It has rooms which can sleep 2 to 4 people. Click here to check out the latest pricing and to make your booking.
Relaxing in 41 degree artesian bore water. This water comes from 1km underground and straight into these “pools”. The water is full of minerals and takes away all your aches and pains. Believe me you won’t make it to the middle of the pool.⚡️♻️💆🏼♀️🧖🏼♀️#veryhot #greatartesianbasin #lightingridge #artesianbore
Burren Junction Bore Baths NSW
The Burren Junction Bore Baths are a free local attraction in the township of Burren Junction, near Wee Waa. The Burren Junction Bore Baths were first created in 1921 and have a temperature of approximately 41.5C (106F). The Burren Junction artesian hot springs are in the open air and are open 24 hours per day 7 days per week.
Accommodation options for Burren Junction and Pilliaga can be found in nearby Narrabri, NSW.
Pilliga Bore Baths NSW
The Pilliga Bore Baths are a free local attraction in the township of Pilliga, near Wee Waa. The Pilliga artesian hot springs were first created in 1902 and maintain a consistent temperature of 37C (99F). The Pilliga Bore Baths are in the open air and are open 24 hours per day 7 days per week.
Boomi Hot Springs NSW
The Boomi Artesian Hot Spa and Cold Pools are located in the small township of Boomi. The artesian hot springs include an open air hot artesian pool, a cold swimming pool and a cold wading pool.
Bonus – Hot Springs Queensland
As a bonus extra, we are suggesting an additional 6 hot springs in Queensland. These Queensland hot springs can also be found in the Great Artesian Basin. Two of the hot springs are located in the region of Cunnamulla. The other hot springs can be found in Mitchell, Blackall, Ilfracombe and Bedourie.
Cunnamulla Artesian Hot Springs QLD
Around Cunnamulla there are two options where you can experience artesian hot springs.
Charlotte Plains Farmstay is 54km (34 mi) east of Cunnamulla and is a massive working sheep and cattle property. On site camping options are available with the advantage of being able to access the onsite open air hot artesian baths. Other options are also available to tour and visit the farm.
Eulo Palm Grove and Artesian Mud Baths is 67km (42 mi) west of Cunnamulla and offers a hot artesian mud bath experience for both singles and couples. You need to prebook and a 1 ½ hour experience will cost $65-75 per person.
Other accommodation options for Cunnamulla are also available.
Mitchell Hot Springs QLD
The Mitchell Great Artesian Spa is located in the township of Mitchell and contains two large pools of artesian water. The Mitchell artesian spa includes an open air hot pool and a cooler pool. The Spa complex adjoins the local swimming centre.
Blackall Artesian Hot Springs QLD
The Blackall Aquatic Centre has a decadent 50m open air swimming pool which is heated by artesian waters to 36C (97F). In addition there is an artesian spa area at one end which has water at 40C (104F).
Ilfracombe Artesian Spa (near Longreach) QLD
The Ilfracombe Artesian Spa is a free local attraction in the township of Ilfracombe which is located 27km (17 mi) east of Longreach. The open air artesian hot springs pool has a constant temperature of approximately 34C (93F) and there is an adjoining cooler swimming pool.
Bedourie Artesian Hot Springs QLD
The Bedourie Aquatic Centre is a free local attraction of the township of Bedourie. The artesian hot springs complex contains a 22 person open air hot artesian spa which has a temperature of 40C (104F) and there is an adjoining 25m cool swimming pool and wading pool.
More information about Australian hot springs is contained in 10 More Hedonistic Australian Hot Springs You Haven’t Tried Yet.
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Have you travelled to or are thinking about visiting the artesian hot pools of outback New South Wales and Queensland? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.