In most countries there is a definable link between volcanic activity and hot springs. Australia is the exception to the rule as there are no live volcanos on continental Australia. Yet there are a surprising number of hot springs across the Australian continent.
Australian hot springs come in one of three types. The first type are more traditional hot springs which come from geothermal sources which are a legacy of Australia’s long past volcanic activity.
The second type are hot springs which emerge from the Great Artesian Basin of Australia. The Great Artesian Basin is a vast underground reservoir of water which covers one fifth of the Australian landmass which is mostly accessed via drilled bores deep underground. Some of the drillers have unexpectedly discovered very hot water, and enterprising drillers have then transformed those waters into artesian baths. In Ten Hedonistic Australian Artesian Hot Springs You Haven’t Tried Yet we explored an impressive array of hot artesian springs across central New South Wales and Queensland.
The third type of hot spring is very rare and you unfortunately cannot swim in this type of hot spring. The third type of hot spring is detailed below as a bonus item following the swimmable options!
Here are ten more locations (plus the bonus) where publically accessible hot and warm springs are available. However you may come across other options which the locals are keeping quiet!
- 1. Mataranka Hot Springs, Northern Territory Australia
- 2. Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park and Douglas River / Daly River Esplanade Conservation Area, Northern Territory Australia
- 3. Katherine Hot Springs, Northern Territory Australia
- 4. Dalhousie Main Springs, Witjira National Park South Australia
- 5. Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Victoria Australia
- 6. Deep Water Baths and Spa, Warrnambool, Victoria
- 7. Zebedee Thermal Springs, El Questro Station, Western Australia
- 8. Innot Hot Springs, Queensland Australia
- 9. Kimberley Warm Springs, Tasmania Australia
- 10. Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, Tasmania Australia
- Bonus! Paralana Radioactive Hot Springs, South Australia
1. Mataranka Hot Springs, Northern Territory Australia
Mataranka Thermal Pools are lushly vegetated natural hot springs located in the Elsey National Park near the town of Mataranka which is a 431km, 268 mi, 5:22 hrs drive southeast from Darwin in the ‘Top End’ of the Northern Territory.
The main hot pool is located at Rainbow Springs which is a short 7km (4 mi) drive on a sealed road from Mataranka which has 34C (93F) temperature water in a crystal clear large pool. Rainbow Springs are regularly visited by tourist coaches so the number of visitors can peak and ebb significantly.
The alternative less visited option is Bitter Springs which is a short 3km (2 mi) drive on a sealed road from Mataranka which has a constant 32C (90F). The water is crystal clear and you can swim along the very deep creek which has multiple access points. A range of accommodation options are available in Katherine.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Darwin+NT&daddr=Mataranka+Thermal+Pool+and+Rainbow+Springs,+Mataranka+NT+to:Bitter+Springs,+Martins+Rd,+Mataranka+NT&hl=en&ll=-13.688688,131.989746&spn=5.793937,10.821533&sll=-32.62087,138.603516&sspn=10.042504,21.643066&geocode=FRXVQf8dsXzMByk_BFmf_KDALDEgfCQqqBcCAw%3BFWVMHP8dYHXvByHO5Si3MYyV4SmJ84vMnbOvLDHO5Si3MYyV4Q%3BFYF3HP8dBLnuByHI3oPpQe01MynfN2iCuravLDHI3oPpQe01Mw&oq=bitter+springs&t=h&mra=ls&z=7 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
2. Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park and Douglas River / Daly River Esplanade Conservation Area, Northern Territory Australia
The Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park and the Douglas River / Daly River Esplanade Conservation Area are both located a short distance along the sealed Oolloo Road, which is a turn off from Dorat Road north of the township of Hayes Creek which is 165km (102 mi) south of Darwin.
The final 7km (4 mi) of the turnoff to Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park is unsealed but is passable by 2WD vehicles during the Dry season.
The Tjuwaliyn (Douglas) Hot Springs Park consists of a camping area which adjoins the Douglas River. A section of the park is not accessible by visitors as it is sacred to the local Wagiman people who use the area to conduct women’s ceremonies.
The hot springs emerge at multiple points into the Douglas River and close to the source it is too hot to swim. Approximately 200m (656 ft) up and downstream of the source the hot water mixes with the cooler river waters to make a good temperature for soaking. There can be hot spots in the river so test the water temperature before entering, particularly if you are supervising children.
The Douglas River / Daly River Esplanade Conservation Area is also located a short distance off Oolloo Road. The campsite adjoins the Douglas River and enjoyable walking is available to explore the pools, beaches and cascades. There are also hot springs in the area. Do not swim as there may be crocodiles in the area.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Darwin+NT&daddr=Douglas+Hot+Springs,+Hayes+Creek,+Northern+Territory&hl=en&ll=-13.143678,131.363525&spn=2.904385,5.410767&sll=-13.688688,131.989746&sspn=5.793937,10.821533&geocode=FRXVQf8dsXzMByk_BFmf_KDALDEgfCQqqBcCAw%3BFQ9QMf8dMVnVByGFyWm0JxK2DinJ9Hndn0-5LDGFyWm0JxK2Dg&oq=douglas+hot&t=h&mra=ls&z=8 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
3. Katherine Hot Springs, Northern Territory Australia
Katherine Hot Springs are a free attraction on the banks of the Katherine River which is located close to the Katherine town centre. The Katherine Hot Springs have a temperature of 25 – 30C (77 – 86F) and are fully accessible by the disabled. Multiple accommodation options are available in Katherine.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Darwin+NT&daddr=Katherine+Hot+Springs,+Riverbank+Drive,+Katherine+South,+Northern+Territory&hl=en&ll=-13.464422,131.550293&spn=5.799405,10.821533&sll=-13.143678,131.363525&sspn=2.904385,5.410767&geocode=FRXVQf8dsXzMByk_BFmf_KDALDEgfCQqqBcCAw%3BFegFI_8dng3iByH7iIGaga2R9iktvyNEdb-6LDH7iIGaga2R9g&oq=katherine+hot+spring&t=h&mra=ls&z=7 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
4. Dalhousie Main Springs, Witjira National Park South Australia
The Dalhousie Main Springs are located in Witjira National Park in South Australia which is close to the South Australian and Northern Territory border. The closest town is Finke which is a 421km, 261 mi, 9:16 hr drive south east of Alice Springs. The Witjira-Dalhousie Springs are a group of approximately 60 natural artesian mound springs which range in size from a few meters to large pools which are scattered across an area of over 50,000 hectares.
4WD travellers across the Simpson Desert almost ritually stop to visit the Dalhousie Main Springs camping area which has easy access to the massive tree lined warm pool which has 38 – 43C (100 – 109F) temperatures. A 4WD vehicle is usually required to access the springs, however in good weather a conventional vehicle may be able to get there from the western side but carefully check the road conditions prior to committing to the route.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Alice+Springs+NT&daddr=Finke,+Northern+Territory&hl=en&ll=-24.816654,133.879395&spn=5.413322,10.821533&sll=-25.337504,135.092159&sspn=5.390533,10.821533&geocode=FQ5dlv4dI9v6BykxE4–RBkyKzHQTyUqqBcCBQ%3BFeCsef4duIYFCCmblkQkegMrKzGgQiUqqBcCBA&oq=finke&t=h&mra=ls&z=7 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
5. Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Victoria Australia
The luxurious Peninsula Hot Springs are located a 100km, 1:13 hr drive south of Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula, which has many accommodation options available. Peninsula Hot Springs is a day spa which offers a series of pools at different temperatures, along with a range of private bathing and spa treatments. The highlights are the pool at the top of the hill with lovely views across the area and the underground cave pool.
The hot mineral rich water is pumped from its source which is an aquifer deep below the ground. The water is 50C upon reaching the day spa, which is then diffused to make a series of bathing pools which range from 37 – 43C (98 – 110F).[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Melbourne,+Victoria&daddr=Peninsula+Hot+Springs,+Springs+Lane,+Fingal,+Victoria&hl=en&sll=-38.110507,145.024627&sspn=1.173466,2.705383&geocode=FaUAv_0d0PajCCn3TbrStUbWajGQzYwhdVYEBA%3BFWj1tf0dpiKiCCFFd46HNTT-2Snnv3WvvLXVajFFd46HNTT-2Q&oq=peninsula+hot&t=h&mra=luc&z=9 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
6. Deep Water Baths and Spa, Warrnambool, Victoria
The Deep Water Baths and Spa is located in the Quality Suites Deep Blue Hotel in Warrnambool which is located 269km, 167 mi, 3:09 hr drive west of Melbourne, Victoria. Hotel accommodation can include complimentary access to the main spa pool.
The Deep Water Spa utilises water from the local aquifer which arrives at a temperature of 42C. The hot water is then fed into a large pool (35 – 37C) (95 – 99F) and four private spa rooms (38 – 39C) (100 – 102F). A range of day spa treatments are also available.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Melbourne,+Victoria&daddr=deep+blue+spa,+warrnambool&hl=en&ll=-38.108628,143.723145&spn=2.346989,5.410767&sll=-38.110507,145.024627&sspn=1.173466,2.705383&geocode=FaUAv_0d0PajCCn3TbrStUbWajGQzYwhdVYEBA%3BFVgdtv0dI_p9CCEKesXwIDXMFSkZPjx96UzNajEKesXwIDXMFQ&t=h&mra=ls&z=8 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
7. Zebedee Thermal Springs, El Questro Station, Western Australia
The Station at El Questro is located near Kununurra in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which is a 829km, 515 mi, 9:51 hr drive south west of Darwin along sealed roads. El Questro Station consists of over one million acres of land and offers a range of tourist accommodation and activities.
For guests staying at the El Questro Homestead an exclusive experience is the daily excursion to Zebedee Thermal Springs where a series of thermal pools and waterfalls are set within sheer cliffs and local vegetation.
[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Darwin+NT&daddr=El+Questro+Wilderness+Park,+Coolibah+Drive,+Kununurra,+Western+Australia&hl=en&sll=-14.243087,130.495605&sspn=11.54661,21.643066&geocode=FRXVQf8dsXzMByk_BFmf_KDALDEgfCQqqBcCAw%3BFfZTD_8dImesByHf_Z6Sl6__vCldOiTWffOZLDHf_Z6Sl6__vA&oq=darwin&t=h&doflg=ptm&mra=luc&z=6 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
8. Innot Hot Springs, Queensland Australia
The Innot Hot Springs are natural geothermal hot springs providing water heated to a very hot 75C (167F) located 149km, 93 mi, 2:15 hr drive southwest of Cairns in Queensland. Options include the Innot Hot Springs Leisure and Health Park where you can utilise one of their seven public pools, or alternatively you can dig a hole in the river sand along Nettle Creek.
Be aware that the pools can be really hot so check the temperature before entering the water. There are three indoor pools which are for adults only, and four outdoor pools for the whole family.
[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Cairns+QLD&daddr=Innot+Hot+Springs,+Queensland&hl=en&ll=-17.329664,145.670471&spn=1.423672,2.705383&sll=-17.294056,145.509415&sspn=1.423956,2.705383&geocode=FfLQ_f4dbEmwCCkTJKJbVWJ4aTFgeCB_8e4ABA%3BFaho8v4dcyyoCCGtm3KoQWnsOynX7jPMTPGBaTGtm3KoQWnsOw&oq=innot&t=h&mra=luc&z=9 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
9. Kimberley Warm Springs, Tasmania Australia
The geothermal Kimberley Warm Springs are located near the town of Kimberley, which is a 72km, 45 mi, 0:49 hr drive west of Launceston in northern Tasmania. Launceston has a good range of accommodation options available. A pool and basic facilities have been constructed on the site to enable visitors to swim in the balmy 24 – 25C (75 – 77F) warm (but not hot) water.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Launceston,+Tasmania&daddr=Kimberley+Springs+State+Reserve,+Kimberley,+Tasmania&hl=en&sll=-41.471544,146.817169&sspn=0.558743,1.352692&geocode=FWG4h_0dMSvFCCld_YQu4aZwqjGQGd7QTckDBQ%3BFVBwiP0dkEK7CCEgd7WTRf0L1SkPcMhIXEF6qjEgd7WTRf0L1Q&oq=launceston&t=h&mra=luc&z=10 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
10. Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs, Tasmania Australia
The geothermal Hastings Caves Thermal Springs is located 100km, 62 mi, 1:31 hrs southwest of Hobart in Tasmania and provides a warm swimming pool experience from naturally generated 28C (82F) spring water. After experiencing a tour through the limestone caves you can enjoy a warming (but not hot) dip in the thermal pool. A good range of accommodation options are available in Hobart.
[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Hobart,+Tasmania&daddr=Hastings+Caves+and+Thermal+Springs,+Hastings+Caves+Road,+Hastings,+Tasmania&hl=en&sll=-43.149094,147.106934&sspn=1.088102,2.705383&geocode=FZGscf0dp_vHCCntzyzlhHVuqjEwFd7QTckDBQ%3BFRiRaf0djx7BCCFXBXf86XYASykthTcX-xlsqjFXBXf86XYASw&oq=hastings+cave&t=h&doflg=ptm&mra=luc&z=9 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
Bonus! Paralana Radioactive Hot Springs, South Australia
Australia also has the distinction of having one of only three radioactive hot springs in the world! In the Flinders Ranges in South Australia (600km/372 mi north of Adelaide) near Arkaroola are the Paralana Radioactive Hot Springs. A range of accommodation options are available in the Flinders Ranges region.
Scientists believe that the water is heated as a result of there being high levels of uranium in the surrounding rocks. As the uranium breaks down heat is generated which heats the water trickling through the rocks. The water emerges at a heat of 62C (143F). Radioactive radon gas is also emitted.
The hot springs contain some unique extreme life forms including a green slime.
Swimming is definitely not recommended at these springs and you also need to be careful not to enter the area during non-windy times as the radioactive radon gas can also be harmful.[cetsEmbedGmap src=https://maps.google.com.au/maps?saddr=Adelaide+SA&daddr=Arkaroola+Wilderness+Sanctuary,+Umberatana+Rd,+Arkaroola+SA&hl=en&ll=-32.62087,138.603516&spn=10.042504,21.643066&sll=-32.619813,138.598514&sspn=5.023851,10.821533&geocode=FRMI6_0dF95CCCk_sybFxzW3ajFAxo5iVDYDBA%3BFfh9Mf4dEhpOCCHeyxDJ_se3Kylf_v_____KKjHeyxDJ_se3Kw&oq=ark&t=h&mra=luc&z=6 width=600 height=480 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 frameborder=0 scrolling=no]
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Have you travelled to or are thinking about visiting any of the Australian hot and warm springs? Or have you found one that I have missed? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments below.