The productive farming town of Moree, in north-west New South Wales, is making the most of its moniker as Australia’s artesian spa capital.

Story By Kirsty McKenzie

Carla Ferrante proudly declares she and her family and friends are the royalty of Moree’s Gwydir Carapark. Every year they enjoy an early spring holiday at the caravan park, relaxing and rejuvenating in the thermal pools, which have earned Moree, NSW, the moniker of Australia’s artesian spa capital. They’ve been coming for 15 years and each year their group expands, so it’s little wonder the owners of the park treat them as privileged guests.
Carla, her three sisters and their extended group travel up from Sydney and the New South Wales Central Coast on the train. “It’s less stressful than driving, we play cards and everyone brings a picnic,” she says. “The McDonalds, the park owners, pick us up from the station and we book into the same cabins every year. This year we have eight cabins and every day is a party.”
Once installed in the park, they settle into an easy routine of soaks in the hot pools and occasional outings punctuated by ritual feasting. “We wanted to have a big get-together the other night, so the McDonalds loaned us big pots so we could cook enough pasta to feed everyone,” Carla says. “When we had a barbecue, they brought in a big one on a truck in so we could cook for everyone, which is often as many as 40 or 50 people.”
Because of their European heritage, Carla and her entourage are well acquainted with the notion of ‘taking the waters’ for their therapeutic benefits. The water in the pools, which are fed by a bore sunk 720 metres beneath the park, comes to the surface at approximately 39 degrees Celsius. The pools are filled on a continuous flow, which keeps the park’s four pools at a constant temperature (there’s also a ‘cold’ 25m lap pool). Once through the system, the water is used in a secondary industry before being evaporated into the atmosphere. No water enters the river system.
As well as its soothing warmth, the artesian water is rich in sodiums chloride, sulphate and carbonate, magnesium carbonate, calcium carbonate and other minerals. Devotees of the thermal pools claim all sorts of therapeutic benefits for ailments ranging from arthritic and rheumatic complaints to joint and muscular injuries, skin conditions and poor sleeping habits.

This story excerpt is from Issue #80

Outback Magazine: Dec/Jan 2012