Camping at Innot Hot Springs

The warm thermal waters of Innot Hot Springs on the Atherton Tablelands have been attracting visitors for over 100 years. In fact, way back in 1891 the Australian Medical Gazette said ‘the springs have gained a reputation for their curative properties in chronic rheumatism, gout, liver and kidney diseases’. Then and now, people come here to soak in the mineral rich waters and enjoy the bushland surrounds. Camping at Innot Hot Springs is popular with locals, and the Innot Hot Springs Caravan and Leisure Park has a selection of powered and unpowered sites, as well as basic motel rooms and self-contained units. It’s just over a 2 hour drive from Cairns and is family and pet friendly.

Innot Hot Springs Caravan Park

When you are camping at Innot Hot Springs Caravan and Leisure Park, you have free access to their 6 thermal pools. Each pool has a different temperature and the water is filtered from the natural hot springs in Nettle Creek, which is a short walk away.

Camping at Innot Hot Springs Review on the Atherton Tablelands

The Innot Hot Springs Caravan and Leisure Park is located on the Kennedy Highway, between Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet. The park has 23 unpowered sites and 17 powered sites, set amongst grassy grounds with established trees for shade. The powered sites are a short walk from the thermal pools, with some facing the nearby Nettle Creek. The unpowered sites are mostly around the border of the park, with bushland views and some lagoon views. All can use the shared camp kitchen facilities, showers, toilets and laundry. There is also a small café / takeaway on site where you can purchase hot and cold beverages and snacks.

“This camping review of Innot Hot Springs has been written following our stay in April 2024. The Tablelands and Cairns has had a very ‘wet’ summer, and as a result there was still a lot of water running in Nettle Creek. We have been at different times during the year and note there is less water in the creek during winter. The campsite was lush and grassy with lots of shade. The drawcard was definitely the 6 thermal pools, which range in temperature and are well maintained. Three of these pools are outdoor pools, with water features and shade sails, there is table and chair seating adjacent to these. The other three pools are located in an enclosed room, and you must be aged 16 years and over to visit these pools. All guests are welcome to visit Nettle Creek, which is the source of the thermal waters.” – Julie Johnston

Innot Hot Springs Caravan and Leisure Park Facilities

Camping at Innot Hot Springs is by far the most popular choice for guests, although the park also has 6 standard rooms and 4 self-contained units, for those that do not have a swag, tent, campertrailer or caravan. The standard rooms share the camp kitchen, showers, toilets and laundry facilities with campers. These rooms have a Queen bed and a single bed, a bar fridge, television and kettle. The self-contained units have their own ensuite and kitchen facilities. If you are camping and using your own accommodation* (tent, campertrailer or caravan) then you can bring your pet to the park. Pets must be on a leash at all times. Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up after them. Pets are not allowed in the thermal pool area, or any of the shared spaces including camp kitchens, showers and toilets. You are welcome to take your pet to Nettle Creek. [*If you do not have your own caravan or campertrailer, then you can also hire ours – see below for more information.]

The park maintains six thermal pools, which contain filtered water from the nearby Nettle Creek. As guests you are welcome to use the pools at any time between 6am and 10pm. Each of the pools has a different temperature and please note that three of the pools are only open to those aged 16 years old and over. The camp kitchen has a fridge, kettle, microwave, toaster and stove top. BYO plates, cutlery and utensils. There is a guest laundry, and the washing machines are $4 per load. There is also showers and toilets. The park is a short walk from Nettle Creek, which is the source of the thermal waters at Innot Hot Springs.

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The Waters of Innot Hot Springs & Dreamtime Story

What makes the water at Innot Hot Springs hot? Well, according to the signage on site – ‘Sandy alluvial sediment and fractured rocks of the Hodgkinson Formation combine underground with large faults extending tens of kilometres beneath the springs. The water filters down along the fractures until it comes into close proximity with the magma chamber, some 600m below. Here the water becomes heated and expands … the pressurized and heated water discharges to the surface [at Nettle Creek] to create the Innot Hot Springs.’ The water temperature has been recorded up to 75 degrees Celsius so if you are exploring the creek bed, then please exercise caution as to where you stand.

There is a Dreamtime Story of the Hot Springs, which is also recorded at on-site signage. “Father and son went hunting for sugar bag (wild honey). Anytime they did, the father would leave some sugar bag behind in the tree for the spirit. The son would sometimes stay behind to eat the left sugar bag and he was scolded by his father. This day, while he was eating, a Yamanie (Rainbow Serpent) came up behind him and swallowed him. As it did this, the Yamanie made a thumping sound. The father heard the sound and realized his son was missing. He rushed back to look for him. The old man soon saw the Yamanie trail and followed it. When he came upon the Yamanie it was resting and hiding in the muddy water of Nettle Creek. The old man could not see his son anywhere and he knew the animal had swallowed him. The father tried everything to hit the Yamanie on the head, but the animal would always be on guard and defend itself. So the father threw a gunamore (wild potato) in the water to the catch the Yamanie’s eye. When it turned its head the old man hit it with an axe and cut if off. He cut open the Yamanie’s belly and pulled out his son. As the serpent lay in the water bleeding, steam began to rise from the water, becoming hotter and hotter. Because the serpent temper was hot, his blood flowing into the creek caused the water to boil and that is why there is a hot spring in Nettle Creek today.” – Told by the keeper of the story.

Innot Hot Springs  - Drone

Camping at Innot Hot Springs is popular with locals. The grassy campgrounds are well maintained and have established trees for shade.

Questions About Camping at Innot Hot Springs

Is Innot Hot Springs worth it?

If you are looking for value for money, then yes – Innot Hot Springs is worth it. At the time of our stay [April 2024] powered sites started from $35 per night for 1 person and unpowered sites started from $30 per night for 1 person. As a guest, you have free access to the six thermal swimming pools at any time between 6am and 10pm and of course, to the nearby Nettle Creek.

How far is Innot Hot Springs from Cairns?

Innot Hot Springs is just over a 2 hour drive from Cairns, if you take the Gilles Range Road. If you come up the Kuranda Range Road, then it takes around 2 hours and 21 minutes. It is located on the Kennedy Highway, between Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet.

How far is Innot Hot Springs from Talaroo Hot Springs

Innot Hot Springs is 195km from Talaroo Hot Springs and would take on average around 2 hours to drive in normal conditions. The road from the National Highway to Talaroo is around 10Km and is an unsealed dirt road.

What is better - Innot Hot Springs or Talaroo Hot Springs?

This all depends on what you are looking for. Innot Hot Springs is closer to Cairns than Talaroo Hot Springs, and when you stay here you have unlimited access to the thermal swimming pools at no extra cost. You can also walk to Nettle Creek. Talaroo Hot Springs is over a 4 hour drive from Cairns [so twice as far as Innot Hot Springs]. Access to the Hot Springs at Talaroo is only possible on a guided tour, which must be pre-booked and is an additional cost to the camping. The 1.5 hour guided tour costs $40 for Adults and $20 for Children and is guided by one of the Traditional Owners, the Ewamian people. You can also book a Private Soak Pool for $50 per session. The camping sites are also more expensive at Talaroo. You can walk to the nearby Einasleigh River. Innot Hot Springs is open all year round. Talaroo Hot Springs is open seasonally, usually between April and October.

Is Innot Hot Springs open?

Innot Hot Springs is open throughout the year. Talaroo Hot Springs is open seasonally – usually April to October.

Is the road to Innot Hot Springs sealed?

Yes, Innot Hot Springs is located on the Kennedy Highway, between Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet. You do not need a 4WD to get to Innot Hot Springs.

Can you take your pets to Innot Hot Springs?

Yes – you can take your pets Innot Hot Springs – as long as they are secured and stay with your tent / campertrailer / caravan. You cannot take your pets to the thermal swimming pools or any of the communal areas, including the camp kitchen, laundry, showers and toilets. You can take your pets to Nettle Creek, but please be aware and cautious of hot water.

Camping at Innot Hot Springs, What You Need To Know

Innot Hot Springs is on the outskirts of the Atherton Tablelands, located between Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet. It takes around 2 hours to drive to Innot Hot Springs from Cairns and there are plenty of shops along the way, for food and other provisions. You can access Innot Hot Springs in all conventional vehicles – 2WD and 4WD – and there is a camp kitchen, showers, toilets and a laundry. There is a small café on site and the Reception sells a limited range of snacks and souvenirs.

  • Open All Year Round
  • Suitable for People of Reasonable Fitness
  • Accommodation and camp sites must be pre-booked
  • Access to Thermal Pools is included in the camping cost
  • You do not need to stay, to use the Thermal Pools
  • Bring your own supplies
  • Small cafe onsite
  • Motel Rooms available
  • Self-contained Cabins available

About the Author

Julie was born in Cairns and grew up running around in the cane fields south of the city. She has explored, breathed and loved everything about our amazing Cairns region her whole life. Excited to be able share this wonderful place with our son and see it all again through ‘new’ eyes. Watch this space for more info on the people, places, destinations and things you can do up here.

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