June 21, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Thermal Pools Near Melbourne

Written by Amelia

When we imagine thermal pools, we might think of the hot springs found in places such as Japan, New Zealand, Hungary and the United States — but there are plenty of these pools in Australia, too. In fact, you can even find thermal pools in the Melbourne area.

Whether we’re talking about natural hot springs (like Peninsula Hot Springs) or heated mineral pools, Victoria has a vast array of wellness-inspiring spots to de-robe and immerse yourself in warmth and relaxation. Allow us to guide you through everything you need to know about thermal pools, including where to find them and how they can boost your wellbeing.

The culture of thermal pools in Australia

Hot springs have been enjoyed and regarded as sacred by First Nations Australians for millennia, and thermal bathing has become a larger part of Australian culture in recent decades. There are thermal pools here in Australia ranging from completely natural hot springs surrounded by nature to bath houses that have been established to give people the experience of thermal bathing in a constructed setting.

Exploring natural thermal pools

Natural thermal pools are those that are heated by their closeness to the Earth’s mantle, or by subsurface magma. Sometimes they occur on fault lines. The pools at Mataranka in the Northern Territory, Dalhousie Springs in South Australia, Innot Hot Springs in Queensland and Zebedee Thermal Springs in Western Australia are examples of completely natural thermal pools.

The pools at Peninsula Hot Springs are true hot springs, which means the water is naturally heated by a true hot spring source. Hot springs and thermal pools are typically very rich in minerals and, combined with their thermal properties, offer a long list of health benefits. Cunnamulla Hot Springs, on the banks of the Warrego River in Outback Queensland, is a true hot spring like Peninsula Hot Springs.

Experiencing Mornington Peninsula hot springs

The Mornington Peninsula has hot springs because of its position on the Selwyn fault line. Our hot springs are infused with minerals such as boron, magnesium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate, and our water comes from 637 metres underground, where it’s estimated to have been circulating for up to 10,000 years. When this water reaches the surface, it’s extremely hot — so we temper it with cool mineral water to ensure our guests’ comfort. Our thermal pools range from 34 to 42 degrees Celsius.

The hot springs at Peninsula Hot Springs are surrounded by native and indigenous plants and wildlife, meaning soaking in our open-air thermal pools involves immersing yourself in the beauty of nature, too. When you bathe in Melbourne's thermal pools, you also get a sense of the area’s flora and fauna.

The benefits of visiting thermal pools in Melbourne

There are so many reasons to explore Victoria's thermal pools. In addition to the benefits of bathing in mineral-rich water, soaking in geothermal springs can deliver a diverse range of health-boosting effects. Even just immersing one’s legs in thermal waters can encourage full-body circulation, which allows blood and oxygen to flow through the body more effectively, improves heart health and reduces high blood pressure.

Bathing in thermal pools can also help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and alleviate conditions such as back pain and muscle soreness. Visiting thermal pools in Melbourne and surrounds can be especially helpful for these conditions given the area’s typically cool weather.

And, from a mental health perspective, thermal bathing has been shown to improve sleep, reduce stress and encourage social connectivity.

Finding other hot springs in Victoria

As well as the thermal pools on the Mornington Peninsula, there are various other kinds of bath houses and hot springs in Victoria.

Metung Hot Springs is just under four hours’ drive from Melbourne in the popular seaside town of Metung. Metung Hot Springs taps into local hot springs for its water source, and features a variety of pools and other bathing experiences (including the famous ‘Hilltop Escarpment' pools overlooking the magnificent Lake King).

Phillip Island Hot Springs, which will resemble Peninsula Hot Springs, Metung Hot Springs and Cunnamulla Hot Springs in many ways, will be opening in 2025 in its unique oceanfront location two hours south of Melbourne — providing another opportunity to experience thermal pools near Melbourne.

Hepburn Springs, to the north-west of Melbourne, is home to mineral springs and historic bath houses. The pools at these sites are filled with natural mineral water that is artificially heated, as opposed to geothermal. Geothermal pools can also be found on the popular Great Ocean Road.

Enhancing the magic of thermal pools in Victoria

Soaking in hot springs and geothermal pools surrounded by nature is an incredible holistic wellbeing experience — and there are some other activities that wonderfully enhance the magic of bathing.

If visiting thermal pools in Victoria with a day spa attached, combining spa treatments with thermal bathing can make for a deeply restorative experience. Bathing in thermal pools helps release muscular tension and relax the body and mind in preparation for massages and other body treatments. Peninsula Hot Springs has a wide range of treatments and packages at our hot springs and day spa near Melbourne on the Mornington Peninsula.

What to bring when exploring thermal pools on the Mornington Peninsula

The Mornington Peninsula is about 90 minutes’ drive from Melbourne CBD, making it an easy day trip. Of course, there is so much to see and do on the Peninsula that finding overnight accommodation can be a great idea.

If visiting thermal pools on the Mornington Peninsula, you will be in the area of Fingal — near the ocean beaches of Rye and St Andrews Beach. As well as bringing your swimwear and waterproof shoes such as flip flops to enjoy the hotsprings, you might like to pack activewear and walking shoes so you can enjoy the many stunning bush walks and beach walks in the area.

Other activities in the area include visiting wineries and high quality restaurants, boutique shopping and water sports such as stand-up paddle boarding and surfing.

Discover more about thermal pools in Melbourne and beyond

From relaxation to social connection to nature immersion, there are countless reasons to immerse yourself in the unique experience of geothermal bathing. Whether you’re travelling to Victoria or the Mornington Peninsula or simply venturing down from the city for some rest and recreation, a soak in our healing thermal pools near Melbourne is always a special way to unwind.

You can explore bathing options here, or get in touch to speak to our friendly Reservations team. Or, if you’d like to share the gift of bathing with a loved one, explore our gift certificates for thermal pool experiences.

Frequently asked questions

Are thermal pools good for you?

Thermal pools have been enjoyed and even prescribed for medical conditions for hundreds of years. Bathing in hot springs and thermal waters can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis and chronic pain, boost circulation and detoxification, improve sleep and promote healthy skin, among other benefits.

How hot are thermal pools?

Thermal pools vary greatly in temperature, with some natural pools being too hot for bathing and others at more of a lukewarm or thermoneutral temperature. The water that flows into the pools at Peninsula Hot Springs surfaces at around 54 degrees Celsius, and we cool it down to between 34 and 42 degrees Celsius, depending on the pool.

How do thermal pools work?

Thermal pools that come from true hot springs are fed by geothermal water that makes its way to the Earth’s surface naturally due to geological pressure, or is brought to the surface using a bore. This geothermal water, which is heated by magma or by the Earth’s mantle, has usually been underground for thousands or even millions of years.

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