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NSW’s Best Family-Friendly Hot Springs

Warmth, Wonder and Wellness

NSW’s Family-Friendly Hot Springs Getaways

Hey mums, let’s talk winter escapes with a twist! NSW might be known for its outdoor adventures but, when the chill sets in, we Sydneysiders can be a conservative (ie warmth loving) bunch. As the temps drop, enter the state’s naturally heated Hot Springs, most clustered inland, around the Great Artesian Basin – Australia’s largest underground freshwater resource. Whilst those geographically inclined will know the basin is a good 7 hours+ drive from Sydney, the good news is these hot springs are typically free and mostly open all-year round. So, forget waiting for Summer – pack your cozy knits and your cossies, grab the kids, and get set for a hot springs adventure that’ll warm your body and soul. From sunset soaks to mountain retreats, NSW’s hot springs offer a Winter family escape like no other.


Lightning Ridge Bore Bath by night, image courtesy of Walgett Shire Council

💧 Lightning Ridge Bore Baths

Distance from Sydney: 720km, about 8 hours drive
Average water temp: 40°C
Cost: Free

These free baths in the opal mining town of Lightning Ridge are a marvel. Fed by ancient aquifers, the mineral-rich waters bubble at a cosy 40 degrees, making them a local favourite. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, these baths are perfect for enjoying the sunset. Whilst you’re at Lighting Ridge, be sure to pop into one of the many opal shops or join an Outback Opal Tour to learn more about these homegrown gems.

More info: Lightning-Ridge-Artesian-Bore-Baths


Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool, image courtesy of National Parks

💧 Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool

Distance from Sydney: 490km, about 5 hours+ drive
Average water temp: 27°C
Cost: Free to use the pool, $4 National Park entry,

Fancy a walk to get those muscles fired up before your dip? Yarrangobilly Caves, tucked away in Kosciusko National Park, is just the location to do both. Surrounded by bushland and undulating hillside, this thermal pool offers a surreal escape and fed by year-round warm water from deep underground,  it’s perfect for a relaxing soak after a scenic hike. And scenic hikes there are aplenty. From the 3kms Yarrangobilly River Walk Loop beside the crystal clear river, where, if you’re lucky you might spot a platypus or two, to the nearby Yarrangobilly Caves rich with limestone deposits of the stalactite and stalagmite variety. Want to make a weekend of it? From individual guest rooms or even a self-contained wing at the heritage listed Yarrangobilly Caves House to the Lyre Bird eco-house, which sleeps up to four, there are local accommodation options to suit families of all sizes.

More info:Yarrangobilly Caves Thermal Pool


Pilliga Artesian Bore Bath Visit NSW, image courtesy of Visit NSW

💧 Pilliga Artesian Bore Bath

Distance from Sydney: 620 kms, around 7 hours drive
Average water temp: 37.1°C
Cost: Free

In the heart of a designated ‘primitive campground’ ie one with only basic facilities (toilets, cold water and electric bbq), you’ll find the Pilliga Artesian Bore Bath – a hidden gem in outback Narrabri. Known for its health-giving waters, these baths can have a slight sulfuric odour – a giveaway that it’s mineral rich – and are free to visit, although there’s a small fee if you plan to stay on the campsite overnight. A roof covers the pool area and it has lighting for nighttime so an evening dip is definitely on the cards. Like many attractions in outback towns, these baths are quite popular with locals so expect busy and quiet periods depending on when you drop by. There’s Pilliga Café nearby for a light bite or meal, or venture further to Pilliga National Park home to largest forest west of the Great Dividing Range.

More info: Pilliga-artesian-bore-baths 



Burren Junction Bore Baths, image courtesy of Great Artesian Drive

💧 Burren Junction Bore Baths

Distance from Sydney: 600km, around 7 hours+ drive
Average water temp: 36°C
Cost: Free

For a rural hot spring experience, head to the campgrounds at Burren Junction in Walgett Shire – about an hour’s drive from nearby Lightning Ridge . One hundred metres off the Kamilaroi Highway on a sealed road, amidst caravans and camping tents, you’ll find these unassuming baths – reputed to relieve aching muscles thanks to their mineral rich waters. With the baths running since 1921 when the bore was first sunk, these hundred-year-old hot spring is a popular meeting spot for locals. There’s free amenities on site too – toilet showers, a powered amenities block and BBQs – and you can camp on the grounds for a small fee.

More info: Burren-junction-bore-baths-and-camp-ground


Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre, image courtesy of Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre

💧 Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre

Distance from Sydney: 625km, around 7.5 hours+ drive
Average water temp: 41°C
Cost: $8 adults, $5 kids, kids under 5 free

With over a century of history, Moree’s hot springs have evolved into a family aquatic paradise since they were first discovered in 1895. Dive into an Olympic-sized pool, splash in the hydro-play area, or unwind in the newly redeveloped $7 million facilities. With two external Artesian spring pools (ie hot spring pools), a 10m high waterslide for kids, aqua-aerobics classes, learn to swim squads, a fitness area and a wellness centre in the works, it’s no surprise this aquatic centre logs over 200, 000 visitors annually. With many making the trek for the water’s therapeutic benefits, this regional swimming has become something of a destination. Add in an on-site café and it’s easy to see how families can while away the day in Moree’s mineral rich waters.

More info:


Japanese Bath House outdoor solo bath, image courtesy of Destination NSW

💧 Japanese Bath House, Blue Mountains

Distance from Sydney: 140km, around 2 hours drive
Average water temp: 41°C
Cost: From $90 for 3 hours

Wade through the foot bath at the to the Japanese Bath House – a nod to Buddhist purification rituals and the cleansing of unwelcome spirits – and feel the world as you know it slip away. This slice of Japan in the gorgeous Blue Mountains is best suited for couples and older kids (ie young adults), as onsen (a Japanese traditional bath house) etiquette prevails. Whilst you won’t be expected to bathe in the nude, the baths have been designed for hushed tones and quiet contemplation – especially in the communal areas. There are outdoor pools, indoor pools, baths inside caves with views of Lyell Lake, along with solo outdoor baths – all bubbling with heated mineral spring water sourced from a depth of about 300 meters. Want more? Add in a massage, lunch at the onsite Japanese Tea Room with zen garden, or even an overnight stay and this is the perfect couple’s getaway, or a lovely bonding experience with an older teen or adult child.

More info:


💦 Hot Spring Etiquette

Whilst there are no hard and fast rules on bathing in Aussie hot springs and baths, for public hygiene we’re sharing a few guidelines:

  • Shower before and after using the springs and public baths – pretend it’s a public swimming pool and adopt the same practice as you would if you were about to take a dip at your local
  • Don’t immerse your head under water – 40 degrees might be too hot for some people’s facial skin, plus you risk the chance of contracting an eye or ear infection
  • Got an open wound or sore – don’t go in the water, you’ll limit the chance of infecting yourself and others
  • Whilst these are called ‘baths’, leave detergents and bubble baths at home
  • With water temps around 40 degrees, infants, babies and small toddlers may find the water too hot and uncomfortable so we suggest they give the hotter springs a miss.


🌟 Have you visited a hot spring in NSW or beyond that you loved? Leave a comment below and let us know – we love hearing about family-friendly destinations you personally recommend that we can share with our community.

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