Talaroo Hot Springs, you’ve heard its name and might have seen some photos, but what is it, where is it and is it worth going? It’s a unique destination combining geological wonders, set amongst an iconic, outback landscape and presented by the Ewamian people and yes, it’s worth going. The ancient hot springs are stunning in presentation, and their natural and cultural significance is shared with you on a guided discovery tour, at the end of which you can immerse yourself in the mineral rich waters of the original soaking pool.
On a guided Talaroo Hot Springs Tour you'll learn about the Ewamian people's enduring connection to country.
Talaroo Hot Springs launched on to outback Queensland’s tourist map in 2021. Located between Mount Surprise and Georgetown in the Gulf Savannah, it’s a great place to drop in and stay awhile, during any outback adventure in this part of the country. The jewel of the Talaroo Hot Springs crown is definitely the guided tours, which not only enable you to explore the hot springs but provides an insight into the ever-lasting connection the Traditional Owners – the Ewamian people – have had with this country, for thousands of years.
“We’d seen images of Talaroo Hot Springs and were keen to check it out – what we discovered was the most amazing, natural hot springs and modern, well-maintained amenities for campers and caravans. The caravan park and campground has powered and unpowered sites and in 2022, they introduced Eco Tents to the accommodation offering. All of the sites have lots of space, and the communal facilities include a well-equipped camp kitchen, with gas BBQs, a microwave, fridges, freezers, sinks and benchtop space, as well as amenities block. By night you’re camping under a million stars and by day you can take a hot springs tour, chill out at the adjacent Einasleigh River or explore your surroundings – we drove over to Copperfield Gorge for one of the days.” – Julie Johnston
The landscape of the actual Talaroo Hot Springs is visually interesting, with lots of different coloured pools and miniature-like lagoons, crusted around the edge with what looks like (but obviously is not) coral formations. In places the water bubbles from beneath, in others it sits quietly reflecting the sky back at you. For the Ewamian people, the springs are a spiritual and sacred women’s place; and the surrounding country has many culturally significant sites, where artefacts have been found and preserved. Their connection to country was legally recognised in 2013 when the Federal Court declared Native Title Determination over 2.9 million hectares of traditional lands, including Talaroo Hot Springs.
The geological value of the site is also significant, and there is no other hot springs in Australia similar to Talaroo Hot Springs. The water you see here fell from the sky about 19,000 years ago, flowed deep underground and on encountering hot granite rocks, started to rise up through faults in the bedrock and creating the flow that is Talaroo Hot Springs. These hot springs are in no way related or connected to the nearby Undara Lava Tubes, or Innot Hot Springs, on the edge of the Atherton Tablelands. In fact, our guide told us that the only other hot springs in the world to have a similar mineral composition was in Yellowstone National Park in the United States of America.
We took our camper trailer to Talaroo Hot Springs and stayed at a powered site for 2 nights. There’s 30 landscaped sites in the campground, all of which can utilise the communal facilities of the camp kitchen and amenities block. As the campground only opened in 2021, the trees and shrubs are still quite small and do not provide shade, but they do provide privacy between sites. The powered sites are 12m x 2.5m while the unpowered sites are slightly smaller at 8m x 6m; these sites are all together and set back from the road. For those who want to glamp, the Eco Tents have a Queen bed (but there’s no power or water) and are located away from the campground, about 100m from the camp kitchen and bathrooms.
Due to the limited number of sites, we strongly recommend booking ahead and make sure you book your Hot Springs guided tour at the same time. We stayed during the school holidays and there were some kids’ activities, which included rock painting and boomerang painting. You can swim in the Hot Springs pool as a part of the tour, but can also book your own private soaking pool, which we recommend! They are shaded and it was just so relaxing! We believe they are also putting in a ‘standard’ (not hot spring water) swimming pool in time for the 2023 season and the other swimming option is in the nearby Einasleigh River.
Pet friendly campgrounds at Talaroo Hot Springs, means you can bring your fur baby along too.
It’s around a 335km one-way drive from Cairns to Talaroo Hot Springs, which should take approximately 4.5 hours (with no stops). The roads are mostly sealed but there is some dirt, graded roads. The journey is accessible by 2WD and 4WD.
Talaroo Hot Springs is about 146km from Cobbold Gorge Village, by road. The roads are a combination of sealed and graded dirt, and the trip should take you about 2 hours and 15 minutes (with no stops). The journey is accessible by 2WD and 4WD. If you wanted to stop somewhere for lunch, to get ice or fuel up, you can do this at Georgetown and/or Forsayth.
Talaroo Hot Springs – like many of the other Gulf Savannah tourist attractions – is only open seasonally. Exact dates are not available (check their website), but generally speaking, it opens in April and closes in October. It is closed over the hotter late-Spring and Summer months (November – March).
The road to Talaroo Hot Springs is not sealed, but it is graded dirt. We visited at the end of the season – in October – and the road was in good condition. It is also well sign-posted.
Talaroo Hot Springs is an attraction and accommodation provider in the Gulf Savannah region of North Queensland. They have a campground with powered and unpowered sites, Eco Tents, reception building with small café and provide guided boardwalk tours of the hot springs. You can also book a private soaking pool and enjoy the nearby Einasleigh River.
As a rule ‘no’, you cannot fly your drone at Talaroo Hot Springs, but you can approach management and make enquiries, as it is at their discretion.
Yes you can take your pets to the campground – as long as they are secured and stay with your tent / camper trailer / caravan. You cannot take your pets to the Hot Springs themselves, or the pool, or the private soaking pools, or on tour.
There is no definitive answer to this, as it all depends on what you are looking for. From our perspective though, we enjoyed Talaroo Hot Springs more than Innot Hot Springs. Why?
Talaroo Hot Springs is in the Gulf Savannah – between Mount Surprise and Georgetown – and as such, is quite remote. You can access it on 2WD and 4WD and you should bring in your own food and beverages (and we suggest stocking up either in Cairns, on the Tablelands or at Georgetown – Mount Surprise does not stock many grocery items). The campground has a well-stocked communal camp kitchen and amenities block, but please note there are no laundry facilities. It is a seasonal attraction and does get busy, so you should pre-book and plan if you want to stay there. You can book the tours, without staying there.
© I Love Cairns 2023