June 30, 2023

hot springs happenings | talaroo hot springs

Written by Amelia

This year’s NAIDOC Week celebrations will be held from 2 July to 9 July, in recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have championed change across generations.

In a special Hot Springs Happenings, we explore Talaroo Hot Springs - a visionary landscape that unites one of outback Queensland's most extraordinary geological wonders with the Aboriginal hospitality of the Ewamian people.

Set within ancient ground that has transformed over time, Talaroo is a sacred place seeped in history and dreaming stories. Today, the cultural landscape hosts hot springs, trails and star lit accommodation, owned, and managed by the Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation.

Image credit: Talaroo Hot Springs

australia's natural wonder

Talaroo Hot Springs is located over 4 hours from Cairns, between Mount Surprise and George Town in the heart of Queensland's untouched Gulf Savannah.

Mounded travertine terraces and hot springs designed in respect to the surrounding landscape, are what position this visionary site as a natural wonder. Talaroo is one of only two mound springs in Australia. A mound spring is a natural outlet for the waters of the Great Artisan Basin, where artesian pressure forces water to the surface. What makes Talaroo incredibly unique is that this spring is the only one in Australia not fed by the Great Artisan Basin and instead is fed from water seeping kilometres underground heated by hot granite rocks. It takes 20,000 years from falling as rain in the nearby Newcastle Ranges to discharging from the springs.

Despite the surface temperature of the waters at Talaroo Hot Springs reaching an extraordinary 68°C, there is a presence of a thriving aquatic ecosystem. There are few geothermal systems on earth that can be studied in such extreme environments, positioning Talaroo as a place of global significance and much more than a tourist location. The springs are too hot to bathe in when first discharged, therefore as it cools, it is slowly released into the social bathing pool and four private soaking pools.

To protect the ancient landscape and living ecosystem, Talaroo Hot Springs offers guests the opportunity to bathe and wander the hot springs exclusively during guided tours, along the purpose-built boardwalk. During the tour, guests are joined by an expert guide who describes the historical significance of Talaroo and the connection the Ewamian people have had with their country for thousands of years to the present day.

Image credit: Talaroo Hot Springs

the ewamian people

The Gulf of Carpentaria savannah lands in the upper Gilbert and Einasleigh River catchments, including townshops Georgetown, Forsayth, Einasleigh and Mount Surprise make up the Ewamian Peoples’ Country.

In 2012, Talaroo Station was purchased on behalf of the Ewamian people through the National Reserve System and since that time has been managed by Ewamian Rangers as an Indigenous Protected Area and Nature Refuge. The acquisition of the 31,500-hectare property on the Einasleigh River combined with the determination of the Ewamian Native title in 2013 gave Ewamian people the ability to live and work on country, and to maintain a physical and spiritual connection to their lands, water, culture and ancestors.

Today, Talaroo Hot Springs represents a site deeply rooted in cultural significance, offering a platform for Ewamian people to share stories based on the Indigenous markings within the surrounding landscape, and showcase a deeper reconciliation between people, culture, and place.

cultural connections

Peninsula Hot Springs acknowledges and pays respect to the Boonwurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation and their living cultural connections to the land and waters of the Mornington Peninsula through their Elders past, present and emerging. Our region is a place of healing where different types of water (fresh, salt and geothermal) come together, along with peoples of many different cultures, to be and to dream in harmony with nature.

Since 2005, Peninsula Hot Springs has created deep cultural partnerships with Willum Warrain Aboriginal Bush Nursery, Baluk Arts in Mornington, and Bunjilwarra, a local residential recovery program for First Nations youths. We have sought counsel and have been inspired by their traditional stories and practices to help shape the landscape and indigenous experiences. N’arweet Carolyn Briggs, Boon Wurrung elder, has been part of the Peninsula Hot Springs journey since its inception, and is still consulted on cultural matters today.

Resources for further information

Talaroo Hot Springs

Ewamian People Aboriginal Corporation

Living Culture

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