Yarrangobilly Caves: Thermal Pool walk

Yarrangobilly area in Kosciuszko National Park

Overview

Yarrangobilly Caves’ thermal pool, fed by a natural spring, is accessible via a short walk. Enjoy birdwatching en route before swimming in natural surroundings, near Tumut.

Where
Yarrangobilly area in Kosciuszko National Park
Distance
0.7km one-way
Time suggested
15 - 30min
Grade
Grade 4
Price
Free
Entry fees
Park entry fees apply
What to
bring
Drinking water, hat, sunscreen
Please note
  • Though generally easy, some parts of the walk are steep.
  • There is limited mobile reception in this area of the park.

In a pristine mountain river setting, you probably don’t expect to find a pool, never mind one that is permanently heated to 27ºC by a natural spring. But that’s exactly what you’ll discover at Yarrangobilly Caves after a short but steep descent from the carpark. Measuring about 20m long and 2.5m deep, the main pool gently overflows like a waterfall into a children’s wading pool.

Because it is a consistently warm temperature, the pool is perfect year-round. In summer, head there after exploring the caves for a quick swim and a picnic. Keep your eyes open for some of the local residents, including the water dragons that enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the pool and nearby river. In winter, it’s magical to float in the warmth, watching steam rise from the surface of the water, with snow blanketing the ground around you.

There’s a picnic area adjacent to the pool, as well as change rooms and toilets. After your swim, follow Yarrangobilly Caves – Glory Farm walk, there are some great fishing spots, where you can catch introduced rainbow trout. You can also loop back via Yarrangobilly Caves - River walk and South Glory Cave.

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/yarrangobilly-caves-thermal-pool-walk/local-alerts

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Yarrangobilly Caves: Thermal Pool walk.

Track grading

Grade 4

Learn more about the grading system Features of this track
  • Time

    15 - 30min

  • Quality of markings

    Clearly sign posted

  • Gradient

    Very steep

  • Distance

    0.7km one-way

  • Steps

    Occasional steps

  • Quality of path

    Formed track

  • Experience required

    No experience required

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    Yarrangobilly Caves: Thermal Pool walk is in the northern area of Kosciuszko National Park. To get there:

    From the Monaro Highway:

    • At Cooma, take the Snowy Mountains Highway and continue for approximately 110km
    • Turn left into Yarrangobilly Caves Entrance Road
    • Follow the unsealed road for approximately 6km to Yarrangobilly Caves
    • Continue past the visitor centre and turn into the first road on the right and follow to the end

    From the Hume Highway:

    • At Gundagai, take the Tumut exit and follow Gocup Road to Tumut
    • Continue on Snowy Mountains Highway south for approximately 75km
    • Turn right into Yarrangobilly Caves Entrance Road
    • Follow the unsealed road for approximately 6km to Yarrangobilly Caves
    • Continue past the visitor centre and turn into the first road on the right and follow to the end

    Park entry points

    Road quality

    • Yarrangobilly Caves entrance and exit roads are graded gravel. They're suitable for 2WD and 4WD vehicles up to 12.5m in length, however the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) advise that the roads are unsuitable for caravans.
    • RMS recommends snow chains are carried by all vehicles driving in the park in winter, including 4WD and AWD, in case of extreme weather. Visit the Life Traffic website for road conditions.

    Parking

    Parking is available at Thermal Pool carpark. Please note park entry fees apply for vehicles without a Kosciuszko National Park day pass or NPWS All Parks annual pass.

    Bus parking is available – contact the visitor centre on (02) 6454 9597 for access.

    Facilities

    There’s a picnic area adjacent to the pool, as well as change rooms and toilets.

    Maps and downloads

    Safety messages

    Alpine safety

    Alpine areas present special safety issues. Conditions can be extreme and may change rapidly, particularly in winter. It’s important to be prepared and find out how to stay safe in alpine areas.

    Bushwalking safety

    If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

    Mobile safety

    Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

    Water activities

    Beaches, rivers and lakes in NSW national parks offer lots of opportunities for water activities. Please take care in the water and find out how to help your family and friends stay safe around water.

    Prohibited

    Pets

    Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the OEH pets in parks policy for more information.

    Smoking

    NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Learn more

    Yarrangobilly Caves: Thermal Pool walk is in Yarrangobilly area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

    Unique landscapes

    Jersey Cave decorations, at Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: E Sheargold/OEH

    Yarrangobilly’s karst landscapes were created from a belt of limestone laid down about 440 million years ago. Almost all cave formations can be seen here, from stalactites and stalagmites, hollow straws and delicate helictites, to shawls, cave coral, and massive flowstones. Karst environments are nature’s time capsules, preserving evidence of climate change, floods, droughts, fires, animal and human activity. Over the years, Yarrangobilly's caves have hosted researchers from universities, nuclear science organisations and the Snowy Hydro. You can now visit Harrie Wood Cave, which was closed from 2006-2016, to learn how stalagmites have growth rings, and find out about about climate change monitoring.

    • Discover geology at Yarrangobilly Caves Every rock tells a story! Come and experience Yarrangobilly Caves on a special guided tour through geological time. This is a fun tour for all the family.
    • Jersey Cave Step back in time on a guided tour of Jersey Cave. You'll be awed by some of the most colourful and diverse decorations at Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park.
    • Jillabenan Cave Jillabenan Cave may be the smallest and most accessible of the Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park, but it’s packed with incredibly delicate formations.
    • South Glory Cave Take a leisurely self-guided tour through the lofty chambers of South Glory Cave, and absorb the wonders of the largest cave in the Yarrangobilly area of Kosciuszko National Park.
    • Yarrangobilly Harrie Wood Cave tour Yarrangobilly's Harrie Wood Cave has reopened after being closed for the last 11 years for cave research. Join this specialised guided tour in Kosciuszko National Park to find out more.

    Explore above and below ground

    Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

    No visit to Yarrangobilly is complete without a visit to its marvellous caves, so stop by the Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre to get your tickets and tour times. The largest, South Glory Cave, allows you to explore at your own pace on a self-guided tour. Jersey and Jillabenan Caves offer guided tours that run 3 or 4 times daily - Jillabenan even boasts wheelchair-access. The visitor centre can also help with tours of other caves, meetings, weddings, custom tours for groups or students from 10 to 100 people. With caves, tours, walks, and the natural mineral waters of the thermal pool to tempt you, you’ll need to stay a few days. Book your own lovingly restored wing or a great-value room at Caves House. Enjoy the creature comforts of Lyrebird Cottage, or set up camp at Yarrangobilly Village campground, just off the Snowy Mountains Highway.

    A wonderland for wildlife

    The endangered smoky mouse. Photo: Linda Broome/OEH

    Karst environments are complex ecosystems containing highly specialised plants, animals and micro-organisms. The dense shrubs around Yarrangobilly River provide protection for the endangered smoky mouse, as well as being great for bird watching. At night you might be lucky to see a possum or sugar glider, forest bats, tawny frogmouth owl or even an endangered sooty owl. Don’t be put off if you see algae or even springtime tadpoles in the thermal pool. Algae and weed provide a breeding site for eastern banjo frogs, aka pobblebonks, because of their banjo-like ‘plonk’ or ‘bonk’, meaning the water is clean and healthy. School students can learn more about Kosciuszko National Park’s ecosystems and important biodiversity on a school excursion.

    Discover Aboriginal culture

    Learning about Aboriginal culture from NPWS rangers, Birrimal Waga Amphitheatre, Tumut. Photo: Murray Vanderveer/NPWS

    Yarrangobilly is the perfect place to experience the rich Aboriginal culture of the Wolgalu People. Join a NPWS Aboriginal ranger to see the tools and techniques of the Traditional Owners of this unique landscape. Take part in hands-on activities like string making, or learn how to start a fire without matches. Wolgalu culture tours run on select dates during school holidays, and start from the picnic area near Yarrangobilly Caves Visitor Centre (bookings essential).

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

    • Eastern water dragon, Reef Beach, Sydney Harbour National Park. Photo: John Spencer

      Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

      The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

    • Platypus swimming around in the water. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton

      Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

      One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

    • Superb fairy wren. Photo: Ingo Oeland

      Superb fairy wren (Malurus cyaneus)

      The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. The sociable superb fairy wrens, or blue wrens, are Australian birds living in groups consisting of a dominant male, mouse-brown female ‘jenny wrens’ and several tawny-brown juveniles.

    •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

      With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

    • Swamp wallaby, Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

      Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

      The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

    Plants

    • Billy buttons, Mount Kaputar National Park. Photo: Boris Hlavica

      Billy buttons (Craspedia spp. )

      Billy buttons are attractive Australian native plants that are widespread throughout eastern NSW in dry forest, grassland and alpine regions such as Kosciuszko National Park. The golden-yellow globe-shaped flowers are also known as woollyheads. Related to the daisy, billy buttons are an erect herb growing to a height of 50cm.

    Environments in this park

    Thermal Pool, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray van der Veer