The Hastings Cave State Reserve is a splendid day trip from Hobart or a great stop for anyone exploring the south of Tasmania. It’s the perfect setting for a picnic, soaking in the thermal pools, and/or exploring the unique formations of the Newdegate Cave.
Formed tens of millions of years ago, Newdegate Cave is the largest dolomite cave open to tourists in Australia. It was discovered in 1917 by timber workers and named after the Governor of Tasmania at the time (1917-1920), Sir Francis Newgate. The caves can be easily explored, with handrails provided along any stairs, and spacious openings and well-lit areas shining lights of the fascinating stalactites, columns, and other unusual formations.
For a relaxing experience, visitors can soak in the warm thermal waters. With a year-round temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), they can be enjoyed during any season. The surrounding forests and reserve provide a dramatically beautiful backdrop and a peaceful atmosphere for a picnic or a walk. The Platypus loop walk from the swimming pool takes about 10 minutes through the Forrest over the springs where platypus can often be seen. There is also a longer thirty minute hot springs walk from the pool which is worth the walk. The warm springs feed a swimming pool at the Hastings Visitor Center, which is available to visitors to swim in. The pool has change rooms and hot showers, free barbeques, picnic tables and picnic shelters with open fires. Image Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Rob Burnett
Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs are a 90-minute drive (102 km/63 mi) south of Hobart. Head to the Visitors Center, which offers information, free public WiFi, food and drink, and souvenirs. 45-minute tours of the cave led by a Parks and Wildlife guide are available. Since operating hours and tour times vary, be sure to check in advance and arrive 20-30 minutes at the Visitor Center before the tour begins. Cave tour tickets include pool entry, access to BBQs, walks and facilities. Visitors can also opt to purchase tickets for the thermal springs only. Change rooms, showers and toilets are available near the pool.
Both the thermal pool and the trail which leads through the surrounding forests are accessible to wheelchair users. Image Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Richard Bennett