Everything you need to know about visiting the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs in Tasmania’s Far South. Includes details on how to get to the caves from Hobart, what to expect, as well as photos from my trip.
Visiting the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs is an opportunity to experience Tasmania’s best cave system. The main event of this experience is Newdegate Cave, a deep dolerite cave featuring incredible subterranean formations and tiny creatures found nowhere else in the world.
Visiting the Hastings Caves State Reserve also includes entry to the thermal springs where you can enjoy a warm swim after walking some of the short scenic tracks.
In this blog post, I’ll outline everything you need to know about visiting the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs in Tasmania. I hope to answer all your questions and inspire your visit to this incredible hidden gem in Tassie’s deep south!
Where is Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs?
The cave and thermal springs are located in Hastings Caves State Reserve, approximately 90 minutes south of Hobart in the southern end of the beautiful Huon Valley. Access for both the caves and thermal pool is at the Visitor Centre, located on Hastings Caves Road. The closest town is known as Hastings.
If you’re visiting Tasmania or interested in seeing the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs from Hobart, then I highly recommend booking a tour on GetYourGuide which also includes the famous Tahune Airwalk. This ticket is really cost-effective since it includes all of the entry fees to both attractions as well as transport and hotel pickup and drop off.
Book a Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs Tour from Hobart: Cave & Tahune Airwalk Day Tour
How to get here from Hobart
To get to Hastings Caves from Hobart, you’ll need your own transport. You will want to head to the Visitor Centre, where you can book your tickets and start the tour. I’ve pinned the exact location of the Visitor Centre below which is accurate.
The road to the Visitor Centre is sealed the entire way and accessible by all vehicle types. Navigating to Hastings Caves from Hobart is quite easy. Just follow the Hyon Highway south all the way until you see signs for Hastings, where you will need to take a right turn onto Hastings Caves Road, just before the township of Southport.
From Hastings, continue on Hastings Caves Road for approximately 5 kilometres before you reach a large car park at the Visitor Centre.
Entry to the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs requires a ticket, purchased from the Visitor Centre. These tickets can be purchased up to 14 days in advance since there is currently a limit of only 8 people per tour and as a result, sell out quickly.
Below I’ve summarised all of the information you need to know about booking a cave tour.
How to book:
You can book a ticket by either showing up at the Visitor Centre or by phoning in advance on (03) 6298 3209. As mentioned above the other option is to book a guided Hastings Caves tour from Hobart. We arrived at the Visitor Centre at around 12 PM and were told that all tours were sold out for the day. However, it was possible for us to book for the following day with plenty of spots.
Opening & Tour Times
Hastings Caves opening hours:
The Visitor Centre at Hastings Caves opens at 10:00 AM (10:30 AM in Winter) and closes at 4 PM.
Hastings Caves Tour Times:
The tour times vary by season. Below is the most up-to-date information on the tour times for Hastings Caves (the Newdegate Cave tour).
|1 February to 30 April||11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00PM; 2:00 PM; 3:00PM|
|1 May to 30 September||11:30 AM; 12:30 PM; 2:00PM; 3:00 PM|
|1 October to 24 December||11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00 PM: 2:00 PM; 3:00 PM|
|25 December||Closed for Christmas Day|
|26 December to 31 January||10:00 AM; 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM; 1:00PM; 2:00PM; 3:00PM 4:00 PM|
Hastings Caves Prices
Below is a summary of the current prices for the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs.
|Adults (over 18)||$24|
|Children (free for under 4 years)||$12|
|Concessions (government concession card)||$19.20|
|Family 2 adults & 3 children||$60|
What’s included in your ticket:
Purchasing a ticket at the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs includes a 45-minute guided tour of Newdegate Cave, one of the largest caves in Hastings Caves State Reserve. Visitors also get access to the thermal pool for swimming, hot showers and a BBQ area. There are also several short walking trails behind the Visitor Centre worth checking out.
About Hastings Caves State Reserve
The Hastings Caves State Reserve is a Karst landscape with plenty of lush eucalypt forest and temperate rainforest. Karst systems are landscapes where the dissolved bedrock creates many sinkholes, streams, caves and springs.
To protect these 40-million-year-old cave systems, Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife have only opened one cave system to visitors. This is known as Newdegate Cave, which is one of the most impressive cave systems in Tasmania.
However, there are other things to do near Hastings Caves, including checking out the flooded sinkhole at Duckhole Lake. And, if you’re an experienced bushwalker, you could also consider the Adamsons Falls walk.
ACCOMMODATION NEAR HASTINGS CAVES: Stay at the Oyster Shack (9.5/10)
What to Expect on the Hastings Caves Tour to Newdegate Cave
After booking our ticket, we were told to arrive at the Visitor Centre at least 45 minutes prior to the cave tour time to pay for our tickets. That’s because the actual Hastings Caves tour is found 5 kilometres from the Visitor Centre at the end of Hastings Caves Road.
After paying, we needed to drive our own car (there is no transport shuttle), to the Hastings Caves State Reserve Carpark at the end of the road.
Rainforest Walk to Newdegate Cave
There is a dedicated car park at the end of the road which can accommodate at least 30 vehicles. After parking our car, we walked the roughly 5-minute scenic rainforest walk to the entrance of Newdegate Cave.
This is incredibly beautiful, with towering old-growth eucalypts and lush, temperate rainforest surrounds. The track is boardwalked the entire way and features a bridge crossing a gentle stream below.
RELATED POST: Guide to Visiting the Remarkable Cave in Tasmania
Hastings Caves Tour of Newdegate Cave
The Hastings Caves tour included in your ticket runs for 45 minutes and is conducted by an experienced Parks and Wildlife Guide. We were told to aim to be at the cave entrance at least 5 minutes before the tour.
The tour was incredibly informative and well-run. It is clear that Tasmanian Parks and Widllife have done a lot to ensure that conservation is the forefront of priorities when it comes to managing this cave.
The cave system is apparently around 3 kilometres deep. However, visitor access is limited to the first 300-metres, where stairways and even concrete floors have been constructed to protect the delicate subterranean ecosystem.
In my opinion, Hastings Caves is one of the best caves to visit in Tasmania. There are loads of great opportunities to take photos of formations including stalactites and stalagmites, huge flowstones, vertical columns, shawls, thousands of thin straws, and helictites.
The best part of the cave experience was the “blackout”. I’ve been on several cave tours around the world now, and I think that experiencing the true darkness only possible in caves like this is always a must!
How did the caves form?
The informative guide will be sure to explain all of these technical aspects of Hastings Caves. However, if you want to one-up them with some witty responses, you can read the details below. Otherwise, skip this section for the tour!
Cave systems in Karst landscapes form from water erosion. Since the caves in Hastings Caves State Reserve are mostly dolerite caves. This means that water had dripped in slowly over millions of years, causing small sinkholes and tunnels to form. Eventually, these filled with water, eroding the soft sedimentary dolerite which caused crevasses and large voids to form.
How old are the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs & When Was it Discovered
The Hastings Caves systems began to form over 40 million years ago. It was discovered by loggers working in the area. These loggers felled a tree, which landed right at the entrance of the cave. They then entered the cave and began exploring. Eventually, the word got out and the area was claimed for conservation.
The caves were named after Sir Francis Newdegate. He served as the Governor of Tasmania between 1917 and 1920.
What Animals Live in The Caves?
Don’t worry, there are no bats living in these caves In fact, there are no cave-dwelling bats living in Tasmania. Instead, the only creatures that inhabit the cave are small Tasmanian cave crickets and cave spiders.
Our cave guide was lucky to find a cave cricket and showed us using the low-setting of her torch as to not damage the cricket’s light-sensitive skin.
Back At the Visitor Centre: Hastings Caves Pool, Thermal Springs & Short Walks
After the cave tour, we headed back to the Visitor Centre to enjoy a few scenic walks.
These include the Platypus Trail and the Thermal Springs Walk. They are both possible on a short 20-30 minute circuit following mineral-rich thermal springs and cold water creeks. This loops back to the pool where you can then enjoy a warm swim.
Truthfully, I was expecting more of a natural thermal pool. However, The Hastings Caves Pool looks more like a regular backyard swimming pool. The only difference is that it’s fed by naturally-heated and mineral rich water from the spring below.
The Thermal Pool at the Visitor Centre is a comfortable 28 degrees Celcius all year round. There are also hot showers and BBQ areas that you can enjoy after your swim.
Hastings Caves Accommodation: Where to Stay in Southern Tasmania
Are you cruising around Tasmania and looking for accommodation near Hastings Caves Tasmania? Below I’ve recommended some of the best-rated hotels and accommodation options to help you out.
This incredible lodge is the closest accommodation offering to Hastings Caves. Located in Hastings, the Oyster Shack is also the best-rated lodge in Southern Tasmania, featuring a fully-equipped kitchen, fireplace and views of the ocean.
Ashdowns of Dover
One of the best bed and breakfasts in the area is Ashdowns of Dover, just a short drive from Hastings. This place has some of the best reviews in the area, with guests raving about the breakfast (poached eggs is a favourite).
Southern Forest Accommodation
Located in nearby Southport is a beautiful cottage in the southern forests. This stunningly beautiful place is quiet and features a pretty garden, lovely forest, abundant birdlife and pademelons at your doorstep.
More Things to do near Hastings Caves
I hope that this quick guide to visiting the Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs in Southern Tasmania has been useful for planning your trip. While you’re here, why not check out some more things to do near Hastings Caves Tasmania including the Duckhole Lake walk or even the Adamsons Falls hike.
Also, I’ve written comprehensively about other parts of Tasmania. So, make sure to check out some of my other articles too. I’m sure that you’ll find some great travel and adventure inspiration for your trip around this beautiful part of Australia.