Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Sydney icon-chevron-right The best hot springs to visit in NSW
Lightning Ridge Bore Baths by day
Photograph: Destination NSW

The best hot springs to visit in NSW

From the Blue Mountains to Lightning Ridge, head to where the spring is king

By Maxim Boon
Advertising

The people of New South Wales are an outdoorsy bunch – and can you blame us? With our fantastic beaches, glorious national parks and stunning natural wonders, it’s no wonder we’re crazy for camping, kayaking, hiking and generally being out amongst all that nature.

Until the chillier months roll around, that is.

Compared to the colder countries of the world, NSW’s winters may not be exactly what you’d call Arctic, but let’s just say our tolerance for low temps isn’t famously high – we tend to rug up with the chunky knits and winter coats as soon as it dips below 20. Which is why the state’s naturally heated hot springs make for the perfect winter or autumn destinations, where you can stay blissfully warm in the great outdoors, regardless of how low the mercury dips.

The majority are quite a drive from Sydney, mostly in the state’s far north, so why not make them the focal point of a getaway? Now all you have to do is choose which of the best hot springs and bore baths in NSW to visit first.

The best hot springs in NSW

Moree Hot Spring Artesian Baths
Moree Hot Spring Artesian Baths
Photograph: Destination NSW

Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre

Travel

Distance from Sydney: 625km

People have been enjoying the mineral-rich, naturally filtered waters of this hot spring since 1895. In the past 130 years or so, an impressive complex has grown up to take full advantage of these waters, including an Olympic-sized pool, children’s “hydroplay” area, a wellness centre, gym, and a day spa attached to the baths. If you’ve got kids and you're looking for a family holiday that has a few perks for the grownups, there’s plenty to give the sprogs a fun day out, before you stick ‘em in front of a Pepper Pig DVD and escape for a massage and a relaxing soak. Best of all, adult admission is just $9 and the whole family gets in for $28.50, although spa treatments are extra.

Lightning Ridge Bore Baths at night
Lightning Ridge Bore Baths at night
Photograph: Destination NSW

Lightning Ridge Bore Baths

Travel

Distance from Sydney: 720km

Located on the fringes of this opal mining town, these pleasant pools are considered to be some of the finest of the state’s naturally heated baths. Which makes the fact that they are both free to access and open 24 hours a day even more remarkable. Percolating through the area’s unique geology (one of only a handful of places in the world where black opals can be found), the water in these bore baths takes almost two million years to reach the surface, fed by the aquifers of the Artesian basin that connect to the majority of the hot springs in Northern NSW. Once it bubbles up, it emerges at a blissful temperature of 40 degrees, rich in minerals and salts. A dip after dark is a particularly popular local pastime, so we suggest, when in Lightning Ridge, do as the Lightning Ridgians do.

Advertising
Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool
Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool
Photograph: National Parks NSW

Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool

Travel

Distance from Sydney: 490km

There’s something faintly surreal about encountering this spring-fed pool, nestled in a quiet valley clearing within Kosciuszko National Park. This 20-metre concrete rectangle, with an attached kiddie's paddling pool, picnic area and well-manicured lawns, looks like your average community lido, save for two crucial details. Firstly, it’s in the middle of dense bushland at least 75km from the nearest town, and secondly, it draws its waters from a reservoir over a kilometre beneath the ground. Warmed to a balmy 27 degrees, this gently mineralised hot spring pool can either be accessed from a nearby carpark, about 700 metres stroll away, or you can make it your reward for completing the three-kilometre River Walk hike. Be sure to factor in a visit to the nearby caves – a 12km system with spectacular rock formations.

Burren Junction Bore Baths
Burren Junction Bore Baths
Photograph: National Parks NSW

Burren Junction Bore Baths

Travel

Distance from Sydney: 600km

NSW is blessed with hundreds of superb campgrounds, but at some of them, it can tough to find a warm shower, let alone a hot bath. Not so at the Burren Junction campgrounds, where the artesian waters of the bore baths are a delightful 41 degrees all year round. Aside from your $5 camping fee, access to the baths is absolutely free and they’re open 24-hours a day. The site also has a handy amenities block where you can find toilets, barbecue facilities, and filtered water. Looking for a few more creature comforts? The small community of Burren Junction is a 2km drive north, where you’ll find the local pub, the Burren Junction Hotel, and its excellent bistro, serving up classic modern Australian fare.

Advertising
Blue Mountains Sparadise Japanese Bath House
Blue Mountains Sparadise Japanese Bath House
Photograph: Supplied

Blue Mountains Sparadise Japanese Bath House and Spa

Travel

Distance from Sydney: 140km

Perched on the slopes overlooking Lake Llyell, just north of Katoomba, is probably not where you’d expect to find a traditional Japanese onsen. And yet, once you cross the threshold of this authentic day spa and bath house, you’ll be left wondering if you’re not, in fact, looking out over the foothills of Mount Fuji. Using naturally mineralised water drawn from underground springs, the heated baths are infused with herbal treatments to soothe aching muscles and energise the soul. For the ultimate pampering, massages, skin treatments, and private baths are also available, and you can even stay in traditional Japanese accommodations on site if you want to make a weekend of it. Day passes start from just $80 for three hours access. Booking in advance is essential and it's recommended you allow at least three weeks' notice.

Hit the road

Car driving over bridge aerial view
Car driving over bridge aerial view
Photograph: Dee Kramer

The best road trips around New South Wales

Travel

Pack the boot, roll down your windows and let gorgeous scenery whizz past – be that soaring coastal cliffs, native bushland, or towering alpine forests. Trust us, no one will be asking if you're nearly there yet.

Recommended

    You may also like

      Advertising