When the air is crisp and cool outside, sliding into a steamy bath is the perfect way to relax.

Bathing is an ancient tradition in many cultures and soon, this much-loved past-time may become a major part of the Victorian tourism industry, with the proposal of the Great Victorian Bathing Trail. Mmmmm sounds divine. The idea for the trail was recently proposed by the winner of a grant from Vic Tourism, Matt Sykes, who’s spent six months testing out different baths and bathing styles around the world (pretty sure his fingers are still wrinkled). 

Victoria already has two natural hot springs – The Peninsula Hot Springs down on the Mornington Peninsula and the Deep Blue Hot Springs of Warrnambool. Sykes’ proposal suggests the creation of a possible dozen new natural hot spring areas along the Victorian coast and inland at Traralgon. The proposal outlines the potential development of hot springs on Phillip Island, along the Great Ocean Road and at Lake Wellington.

Photo courtesy of Matt Sykes

But of course, bathing is not a new concept in Australia – we’re just not used to the water always being so warm. ‘For more than 60,000 years Aboriginal people have been and remain custodians of our beautiful, biodiverse water Country. Now, our beach and bathing culture sits as a key pillar in Australia’s national brand’ says Sykes. 

The development of a bathing trail in Victoria would boost tourism to one of the coldest areas of Australia, during the winter off-season. A damn tricky thing to do! The trail is also hoped to add to the ever-expanding wellness market. ‘When you review Tourism Australia’s current suite of signature experiences and align them with wellness tourism themes, two gaps emerge. Breathing (mindfulness) and bathing are primary pillars in day-to-day wellness practice,’ Sykes said.

The proposal envisions this nature-based tourism trail could become a reality by 2030.

Consider me convinced, bring on the bathing!


Feature photo by Pat Suraseang