Yarrangobilly thermal pools are a must-do this winter
WHETHER YOU’RE resting tired bones after a morning at Selwyn, or you’re the friend that tagged along on the snow trip with no intention of participating in any kind of adrenaline-fueled dash down the slopes, the Yarrangobilly area needs to be added to your list of destinations this winter.
The name of the area is drawn from the Wiradjuri words yirra (teeth) and bila (river) which identify the two key features of the area – a beautiful network of limestone caves, and the river that cuts through the valley.
Situated in the plains of the upper Kosciuszko National Park, the turn-off to the Yarrangobilly Cave area is only ten minutes north along the Snowy Mountains Highway past the turn-off for the Selwyn snowfields.
Once you arrive at the Visitor Centre, where you can pay your $4 vehicle fee and also buy a pass for the caves, you’ll be directed to take a short and steep path down into the Rules Creek valley.
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As you descend, surrounded by soaring gum trees and the occasional wallaby, the 20m cement pool comes into view. In winter, stripping down to your togs mightn’t seem that enticing – but the temperature of the mineral water sits is a constant 27°C.
Occasionally through winter, floating foamy clumps of pobblebonk frog eggs might be spotted in the water as well – a sign that the water is clean and healthy. Some lucky swimmers have even had a local platypus drop by for a paddle.
After sitting and soaking in the shallow section, or swimming some leisurely laps in the 2.5m-deep pool, a quick and vigorous towel-off and change will be necessary.
Once you’re rugged up again, the best path out is not back up the steep slope, but rather the walk along the Yarrangobilly River (depending on what time of day you’re there, quiet, keen-eyed walkers can keep their eyes out for basking water dragons, shuffling wombats and the endangered smoky mouse) which loops you back up the top of the valley through the amazing karst features of the South Glory Cave.
There are six caves in the Yarrangobilly area open the public, some only on guided tours, like the 2 million year old Jillabenan Cave, which is filled with delicate formations.