Hastings Caves State Reserve and Thermal Springs
Spectacular caves, thermal springs and forest walks make for a unique experience at Hastings Caves State Reserve. Located south of Hobart in Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area and next door to Hartz Mountains National Park, the ancient Hastings Caves were discovered by timber workers a century ago and are now protected and popular natural attractions.
The jewel in the crown is the richly decorated Newdegate Cave, one of the few dolomite caves in Australia. Inside are spectacular subterranean formations including flowstone, stalactites, columns, shawls, straws, stalagmites and unusual helictites.
Strange and fascinating animals also live here with many never seeing the light of day. In fact, they are so adapted to life underground that they no longer need sight, and many have developed extra-long antennae for getting around.
Take a guided tour of Newdegate Cave's stunning dolerite chambers with a park ranger and meet these curious cave-dwelling creatures. The caves are surrounded by a beautiful forest environment and a local population of platypus, wallabies and pademelons.
The Hastings Cave Visitor Centre is the first point of call, and tells the history and geology of the reserve. The reserve provides a range of great nature experiences, from relaxing in the warm waters of the thermal pool to an easy, wheelchair accessible forest trail.
The longer Hot Springs Track leads to where the warm waters of one creek meet the cold waters of another. Hastings Pool is fed by pure spring water and maintains a constant temperature of 28 degrees Celsius all year round. It's a peaceful place surrounded by forest and ferns, with picnic tables, barbeques, toilets, change rooms and showers.
No camping is allowed in the Reserve, but there are campgrounds at Cockle Creek and at the Esperance River Campsite.
Hastings Caves State Reserve is 125 km south of Hobart via the A6 Huon Hwy.
For more things to do in Tasmania's south see our self-drive journey, Southern Edge.