Moree Hot Springs
Experience | artesian | camping | hot springs | Moree | Central West | New South Wales

Moree Hot Springs

Taking the waters

by Susie Baber  |  23 July 2022

Australia’s Great Artesian Basin is the largest, deepest artesian basin in the world. Stretching from northwest NSW into northeast SA and most of Queensland – it covers almost one fifth of Australia’s landmass.

For generations this water has been tapped to feed livestock and water crops. Even before white settlement Aboriginal communities sought out groundwater bubbling up from natural springs in this otherwise arid land. It is a long held belief that the mineral waters of these artesian springs have healing powers. The warm waters infused with calcium, sulphur and magnesium are thought to relieve a range of complaints.

Many outback communities have tapped into the popularity of thermal pools with a variety of private and public pools available. From basic open-air baths to modern aquatic centres, there is a soaking spot to suit everybody.

When planning our big adventure to the top of Cape York I knew there would be some long drives ahead of us. I was keen to find some overnight camping that allowed for an evening of rest and relaxation in the mineral infused waters.

In Moree you are spoilt for choice when it comes to bathing in a bore bath. The outback town offers a multitude of soaking options including an impressive Aquatic Centre where natural mineral waters bubble up at 41°C, right in the middle of town. The centre has an Olympic-sized pool, children’s “hydroplay” area, a wellness centre, gym, and a day spa. As well as the public pools, many of the town’s accommodation options come with their own offerings of curative hot springs, to attract visitors to their doors.

With our van in tow the Gwydir Caravan Park and Thermal Pools seemed to be just what I was looking for. This was the first time we had stayed in the van in a caravan park, bush camping being our preference, and it was quite different to our usual camping experience.

The van park is expansive and despite being there outside of school holidays it was still very busy. Thankfully we had booked ahead and arrived after just after sunset to check in at reception where we were given instructions to find our camp site and a map of the park. The pools are just behind the reception area so I poked my nose over the fence to check them out and noted that they too were very busy. Maybe later it might quiet down a bit.

By the time we set up camp and had dinner it was about 8.30. Hoping that many of the bathers had headed off to have dinner and retire for the evening we donned our swimwear and wandered over to have a look. There are five pools in total, all kept at different temperatures, a bit like any public pool complex you might go to – just hotter. The largest and coolest pool is about 20m long and a mild 32°. The two most popular are round pools about 10m in diameter and are kept at 38° and 39°, the warmer one being the most crowded. The last two are smaller and are 34° and 35°. The 34° pool was empty so we headed over there. 34° is still quite nice on a winters evening so we floated contentedly in the warm water for a while until the people in the 35° pool left and we moved up a degree, it felt much the same. Shortly later the 38° pool became vacant and I quickly jumped in, the extra three degrees was noticeably warmer. By now my better half had had enough and I could wait no longer, if I wanted to try the hottest of the hot pools I was going to have to join the crowd. I had a quick dip just so I could say I have done it and tick that goal off the list. The difference between 34° and 39° was more than I expected, warm bath V hot bath, and I could see why they say not to stay in for more than 15 minutes before giving your body a break to cool down.

These thermal pools were not really what I had expected, more commercial pool centre than natural bathing. But my muscles did appreciate the warm soak after our long drive and once we were done we headed back to the van for a good nights sleep.

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