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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Five Dreamy Hot Pools Around Australia to Plan Your Next Winter Adventure Around

From multimillion-dollar luxury retreats to bush baths that are open 24 hours a day.
By Jasmine Crittenden
June 02, 2019
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Five Dreamy Hot Pools Around Australia to Plan Your Next Winter Adventure Around

From multimillion-dollar luxury retreats to bush baths that are open 24 hours a day.
By Jasmine Crittenden
June 02, 2019
  shares

If you can find us an activity more decadently wintry than slipping into a steaming bath of natural mineral water in the middle of the wilderness, we'll eat our collective hats. You might usually associate the likes of Iceland, the French Alps or New Zealand with thermal baths, but the good news is that we have our fair share of stunning bush hot pools where you can indulge in some serious mineral water therapy. Plus, we've got some serious mountaintops complete with supersized hot tubs, so there's that.

Here are five ways to warm yourself that are just a hop, skip and a jump away from your favourite downtown bar. How long you stay in these pools is your business.

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PENINSULA HOT SPRINGS, VICTORIA

This is where Victorians escape winter via thermal means. The drive down the Mornington Peninsula to the Peninsula Hot Springs retreat is basically a Melburnian pilgrimage — especially as it underwent a $13 million upgrade last year. This includes the addition of two cold plunge pools, seven new hot spring pools and an impressive outdoor Bath House Amphitheatre to the site's remote and picturesque hilltop location. This is in addition to the existing hamam, underground sauna, cave pool and the pool at the top of the hill which affords 360-degree views of the area.

You can also try out the new 'ice and fire' experience. The latter allows bathers to switch between hot and cold therapy — the hot being two new 30-person saunas, and the cold being a new (and Australian-first) ice cave and a 'deep freeze' treatment room, which will be kept at a cool 25 degrees below freezing. The idea is that, by jumping between hot and cold, you will sweat out toxins, cleanse your skin and potentially burn calories. The venue also has a new cafe, a cultural meeting space designed in collaboration with local Indigenous elders, and a multipurpose wellness centre for classes and talks.

Where? Springs Lane, Fingal, Victoria. How much? $25–55 entry.

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YARRANGOBILLY CAVES THERMAL POOL, NSW

It's not hard to see why this thermal pool in the Kosciuszko National Park is a local favourite. Quiet and secluded, with heaps to explore in the surroundings, it's the perfect destination for a crisp winter weekend. Filled with water from a natural hot spring, the 20-metre pool remains at a perfect 27 degrees all year-round. Get there via a short (but steep!) 700-metre walk from the nearby car park, or wind your way along the three-kilometre River Walk. If the temps aren't too frosty, have a post-swim feed in the adjacent picnic area before exploring the surrounding caves.

Where? Yarrangobilly Caves Entrance Road, off Snowy Mountains Highway, Yarrangobilly Caves, NSW. How much? $4 per car (national park entry fee). 

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Destination NSW

LIGHTNING RIDGE ARTESIAN BORE BATHS, LIGHTNING RIDGE, NSW

Located just outside the opal-mining town of Lightning Ridge, these delightful baths are surrounded by remote bushland and gloriously removed from all signs of civilisation. Open 24 hours a day (except from 10am–noon each weekday for cleaning), you can soak in the hot waters at sunrise, sunset, or any other time your little heart desires. Night swims are particularly recommended as you can float in the 40-degree water while taking in the stunning expanse of the starry rural sky. A popular meeting place for Lightning Ridge residents, the baths are also a great place to get a feel for local life. Best of all? Entry to the baths is totally free.

Where? Pandora Street, Lightning Ridge, NSW. How much? Free!

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HEPBURN BATHHOUSE, VICTORIA

Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, about two hours northwest of Melbourne is another achievable day trip for Melburnians. The bathhouse, built back in 1895, is the oldest in the whole country. An array of communal indoor swimming experiences are on the menu, including pools specifically devoted to therapy and relaxation. Plus, there's a cafe that has been serving up goodies to visitors since 1908 (go for the Devonshire Tea) and a day spa. Once you've bathed, try drinking the waters: various springs are dotted around Hepburn Mineral Springs Reserve.

Where? Mineral Springs Reserve Road, Hepburn Springs, Victoria. How much? $42–52 entry. 

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DALHOUSIE SPRINGS, SA

The most remote point on this list is Dalhousie Springs — this group of natural hot pools is located on the edge of the Simpson Desert, in the north of South Australia and about 600 kilometres south of Alice Springs. But it's certainly worth seeking out if you're driving towards the Red Centre. The water here ranges from 38–43 degrees, so don't say in for too long at a time — if so, you might expect to find yourself a little dizzy and pruney.

Where? Witjira National Park, South Australia. How much? Free.

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By Jasmine Crittenden and Yelena Bidé. Top image: Destination NSW. 

Published on June 02, 2019 by Jasmine Crittenden

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