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Seeking warmth and wellness in the Off Season? Here are some of Tasmania's best saunas.

For Elsewhere Sauna owner Selena de Carvalho, the sauna is a place to come together.

“The simplicity of the ritual of sitting with a fire and sitting in community in that space feels very reverent,” de Carvalho says.

“It's that sense of vulnerability and a welcome stripping back of all of the artifice that we carry. Everyone is equal in the sauna.”

A woman wearing a loose-nit woollen sweater and half-cut pants sits on the steps of a portable sauna built on a trailer.

The scent of sea salt and wood smoke mingle in the brisk morning air at Randalls Bay, a serene southern Tasmanian community that plays host to Elsewhere Sauna each week. The bespoke mobile sauna travels to different beaches, allowing guests to move between the heat of the wood-fired sauna – a balmy 80–90°C – and the “cool respite” of the ocean.

Tasmania’s crisp climate lends itself perfectly to sauna, particularly during the Off Season. The Finnish tradition has made its way to the tiny island and de Carvalho believes a movement is growing.

“We have this impeccable coastline ... and the water here is clean and beautiful,” she says.

“The partnership with the wild waters is different to when you have an urban bathhouse. For me, having the relationship with the ocean here is vital.”

The polarity of the heat from the fire and the bracing chill of the water is an important part of the sauna ritual.

The bravery to step into the cold water first is something that I encourage, because it means that you can then greet the heat in a different way.

Whether you prefer to work up a sweat or start with an icy plunge, the experience is an immersive one.  

A portable sauna built on a trailer with a canopy and tall chimney is parked near a beach.
Elsewhere Sauna
Tourism Tasmania

The art of sauna

de Carvalho is an interdisciplinary artist and Elsewhere Sauna is undoubtedly a work of art. A decade in the making, this project has been brought to life with impeccable attention to detail, featuring reclaimed materials and artisan-made finishings.

“It felt important to invite people into a space where the same attention to materials was considered as their experience of seeking healing, support and wellness,” de Carvahlo says.

Before soaking in the sea, guests are encouraged to lather up with an invigorating body scrub, while refreshing herbal teas, infused with the likes of cinnamon and cardamon or local saltbush and leatherwood honey, are on tap for hydration.  

The purported benefits of this modality go beyond relaxation, encompassing aspects of cardiovascular health, decreased inflammation and the elimination of toxins in the body.

“You also have hormetic stress, so a positive stress response where you're building up and tonifying your nervous system,” de Carvahlo says.

“All of these flow-on effects … are just like a big hug for your immune and nervous system.

“And this feels like a speculative benefit,” she adds, “but what I witness is so many people bonding. People come to celebrate one another.”

As an artist, de Carvahlo loves the quality of light that comes with the Tasmanian winter. “There's something about the way that the light falls across the environment,” she says.

For her, finding wellness in winter is all about layering up and heading outdoors to be with the season.

A little bit of discomfort can go a very long way, and winter is an invitation to step into that.

Feel the heat

There are saunas dotted right across Tasmania, ideal for Off Season immersion. Here’s where else to seek warmth this winter.  

A woman jumps from the end of a patio attached to a floating sauna into water.
Kuuma Nature Sauna
Nina Hamilton
Kuuma Nature Sauna

Float atop southern Tasmania’s waterways and pay homage to the season with a dawn sauna session, where the morning glow of sunrise meets the warmth of the crackling fire.

Hobartica, Beaker Street Festival

Three wood-fired sauna tents and five ice-plunge pools will grace the Hobart waterfront during Beaker Street Festival (6–13 August), in a nod to a mid-summer Antarctic ritual: the polar plunge.

Swan River Sanctuary

Ease into the sauna’s embrace at this off-grid stay on the banks of the Swan River near Swansea. Cool down in the river and kick back at the private lodge.

Aquila Eco Retreat

Seek wellness in the Coal River Valley: melt in the heat of the wood-fired sauna then relax onsite in a glamping tent or eco-pod at this tranquil sanctuary.

A couple sit inside a large sauna room with a floor-to-ceiling window looking out over a misty lake.
Floating Sauna Lake Derby
Dearna Bond
A man wearing a gown made of towelling reclines on a large lounge while a woman wearing a similar gown stands next to a large window looking to an adjacent room with a spa bath and the forest outside.
Waldheim Alpine Spa at Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge
Jason Charles Hill
Floating Sauna Lake Derby

Embrace the natural surrounds of Derby and rinse off between sauna sessions in the icy waters of the lake – an ideal way to soothe sore muscles after a day on Blue Derby’s mountain bike trails.

Bass Lodge, King Island

Unwind in seclusion on the wild King Island coastline at this peaceful retreat. Mark your days in the sultry sauna and timber hot tub, both with ocean views.

Waldheim Alpine Spa

Enveloped by Cradle Mountain’s World Heritage-listed rainforest, Cradle Mountain Lodge’s decadent spa features a dry-heat sauna, steam room, hot tub and cool plunge pool.

Still at Freycinet

Find hygge on the east coast at this Nordic-inspired sauna escape. Embrace the polarity of hot and cold while moving between the steamy sauna and the cool waters of the Freycinet coast.

A close up of a woman's face looking over her should to a man who is sitting on a wooden bench in the corner of a large sauna.
Still at Freycinet
Harrison Candlin - Vagary

Wellness frequently asked questions

Wellness retreats in Tasmania

In Tasmania, wellness is about reconnecting with yourself and with nature. Across the island are bespoke and nourishing experiences that harness the island’s wild natural environment, providing a chance to slow down and become more grounded. Gather your tribe and head offshore for a wintry wellness getaway on Flinders Island, tune into yourself on a weekend at Bruny Island, or unwind during a Huon Valley stay with a contrast therapy and breath session. Here’s some more ideas for improving your wellbeing in Tasmania.

Where to forest bathe in Tasmania

Getting outdoors and amongst nature is one of the best forms of medicine: wander among tall trees, contemplate the meaning of life while gazing at the intricacies of forest fungi, feel the soft spray of a rushing waterfall tumbling down a cliff... More than 40% of Tasmania is protected as national parks, reserves and UNESCO World Heritage areas, meaning there’s no lack of wild places to immerse in. Pick a national park, rug up and spend the day exploring on foot.

Find an outdoor bath in Tasmania

The Off Season lends itself perfectly to long hot soaks under starry skies. The crisp, dark nights are best spent submerged with a glass of pinot or a steamy herbal tea in hand. Find tubs with ocean views, wide alpine vistas, or tucked among trees. Grab a towel (and a beanie) and check out some of Tasmania’s top outdoor tubs.

Stay in the know

A flurry of unmissable Off Season offers and events has blown in for the winter. Subscribe for curated Off Season updates and handy tips.

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