Just a 90-minute drive from Hobart and you can swim in a natural thermal pool at Hastings Thermal Springs then investigate an ancient world at Hastings Cave in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. This natural Tasmanian hot spring is a fabulous way to soak away your aches and pains, and the caves are fascinating to explore.
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Hastings Cave Thermal Springs and Cave
It looks just like a standard swimming pool, but the Hastings Cave Thermal Spring pool is fed by pure spring water, which maintains a constant temperature of 28 degrees Celsius all year round. Swimming here is so good for your body as it absorbs all the natural minerals in the water. Even on a cold Tasmanian day, you’ll jump out of this pool feeling ten years younger like I did! The pool has picnic and barbecue facilities around the perimeter, and there are change rooms, showers and toilets nearby. Souvenirs and light snacks can be found in the Visitor Centre.
While it’s tempting just to relax in that warm water, don’t miss the chance to explore the fascinating cave system. When you walk down the stairs into Newdegate Cave in Tasmania’s Hastings Cave and Thermal Springs State Reserve, and the only sound is an occasional drip of water or the burble of a running stream when it has been raining. The magnesium bloom which covers the cave walls dissipates into the air creating a calming effect for visitors who come to see nature’s amazing work. It is a world of spectacular subterranean formations with stalactites and stalagmites, caverns and cathedrals, columns, shawls, straws, stalagmites and unusual helictites. You will be amazed.
Take a tour of Newdegate Cave
Named after Sir Francis Newdegate, the Governor of Tasmania from 1917-1920, Newdegate Cave, Australia’s largest dolomite cave, began to form more than 40 million years ago. The entrance was discovered in 1917 by timber workers. The Hastings Visitor Centre’s 45-minute ranger-guided cave tour takes you through spacious and well-lit passages. Expect to traverse 500 stairs inside the cave. Although some of the stairs are quite steep, all are equipped with handrails, and it is not hard going. As you walk through the cave, your guide may put a torch on the rocks and show how they light up with different colours caused by tannins in the water resulting from the vegetation outside. It is an amazing transformation.
Inside Hastings Cave
Ranger Jo, who has lived in the area all her life, says nothing changes inside the cave, and it is as though the space is in another time zone. It’s a true escape from the worries of the world, and when you go outside, everything seems brighter and noisier. The largest section of the cave has amazing acoustics and is popular for weddings and concerts. The largest section of the cave has amazing acoustics and is popular for weddings and concerts. A classical concert in the caves would certainly be a not-to-miss event. Afterwards, you can relax in the warm waters of a thermal springs pool or walk in the richly timbered forests.
Where is Hastings Thermal Springs?
Find the Hastings Cave State Reserve at 754 Hastings Caves Rd, Hastings, in Tasmania’s southwest. The cave is about a 90-minute drive from Hobart via the Huon Valley Highway. It’s an easy drive until you reach the last few kilometres, when the dirt road can become slippery. It is best to approach this section with caution and drive slowly. The only way to visit the caves is with a ranger-guided tour. You must be at the centre 30 minutes before your tour starts because there is a further drive to the cave entrance, which takes about 20 minutes. Tours take about 45 minutes. Cave tours cost $24 for adults and $12 for children. Check the Hastings Cave State Reserve website for tour times and book a tour ahead.
What else should you see in Tasmania?
Tasmania is one of my favourite places to visit. Here are some of my top experiences –
Disclaimer: Ed+bK visited the cave as a guest of Tourism Tasmania.