Metung Hot Springs

Locat­ed in the Lakes Entrance Region, Metung Hot Springs has a unique geo­graph­i­cal con­nec­tion between moun­tain and sea on the banks of Lake King where three alpine rivers cul­mi­nate. Water that runs through the site has trav­elled from high in the New South Wales and Vic­to­ri­an forest­ed hills as it has done for mil­lions of years, form­ing the con­tours of the land and shap­ing the stone as it pass­es. As you expe­ri­ence the well­ness offer­ings of the hot springs, the adopt­ed design approach brings into focus the dis­tinct nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment which is intrin­si­cal­ly linked to the pas­sage of water and to high­light the pas­sage of time.

The under­ly­ing mes­sage of the com­pre­hen­sive hot springs facil­i­ty is to allow nature to dom­i­nate the expe­ri­ence. Sig­nif­i­cant works are ongo­ing to restore the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment to its pre-colo­nial state, and the built envi­ron­ment has been posi­tioned to sit sec­ondary to the landscape.

Respond­ing to the con­text, the design encour­ages organ­ic forms and a weath­ered palate. The occa­sion­al curat­ed hard edge archi­tec­tur­al inter­ven­tion is designed to make the nat­ur­al more appar­ent. Large site works and build­ings alike promi­nent­ly fea­ture raw nat­ur­al mate­ri­als sourced local­ly. Nat­ur­al stones soft­ened by thou­sands of years of water ero­sion are used through the project, cre­at­ing an imme­di­a­cy to the eco­log­i­cal ideas of water’s fil­tra­tion through min­er­als and stones. Lay­ers of raw iron­bark tim­ber slabs con­tin­ue the explo­ration of nat­ur­al mate­ri­als, form­ing show­ers and baths through the project.

At points where struc­tur­al com­po­nents were required, such as the entry pavil­ion and shad­ing through the site, inspi­ra­tion was abstract­ed from coastal Banksia leaves, elon­gat­ed and fold­ed. These struc­tures inten­tion­al­ly omit gut­ter­ing sys­tems so that the water can dra­mat­i­cal­ly fall, and cycle back through the site, ulti­mate­ly being recy­cled to water the land­scape and near­by golf course. Show­ers and change rooms use an ash bat­ten appli­ca­tion to ship­ping con­tain­ers, cre­at­ing a rus­tic fil­tra­tion of light and shade. Details through the site using white-washed tim­ber allude to the site’s link to water nav­i­ga­tion, ref­er­enc­ing nau­ti­cal elements.

Nes­tled into the old­er por­tion of the Banksia For­est, accom­mo­da­tion is cur­rent­ly pro­vid­ed in 10 lux­u­ry camp­ing vil­las posi­tioned direct­ly along the lagoon edge. The inte­ri­ors offer a refined expe­ri­ence in har­mo­ny with nature. There is a con­tin­ued use of nat­ur­al mate­ri­als and thought­ful details such as small lamp shades fash­ioned by an arti­san in mud from the site. The tents open onto a bal­cony set to expe­ri­ence the lake and sur­round­ing nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment, includ­ing two geot­her­mal hot bar­rels inte­grat­ed into the deck.

The pin­na­cle of the recent­ly opened facil­i­ty is a series of hot baths set on a cliff’s edge over­look­ing the immense lake and ocean beyond, includ­ing dra­mat­ic pic­turesque views for sun­set bathing. In addi­tion to the pools and bar­rels, the venue hosts a mul­ti­tude of mind­ful­ness and well­ness activ­i­ties includ­ing mas­sage and yoga.

The momen­tous open­ing of Metung Hot Springs is the first indi­ca­tion of an exten­sive mas­ter plan intend­ed to be rolled out over the next decade or more. Future stages of the project include a main bathing gul­ly with an adja­cent amphithe­atre designed to host music events, which is cur­rent­ly in con­struc­tion. The site will even­tu­al­ly host a few larg­er build­ings to sup­port the well­ness pro­gram. The accom­mo­da­tion offer­ing will be great­ly extend­ed with a diver­si­ty of expe­ri­ences includ­ing a full hotel, stand-alone cab­ins, fam­i­ly-style lodg­ing and even a mari­na with berths to dock yachts and house boats includ­ing inte­grat­ed bathing barrels.

Cre­at­ing a har­mo­nious rela­tion­ship between the nat­ur­al and built envi­ron­ment, Metung Hot Springs is an immer­sion into the site and a rein­tro­duc­tion to what this ancient land­scape holds. As the sub­servient addi­tion, the archi­tec­ture enables vis­i­tors to ful­ly expe­ri­ence the ele­ments, both large and small, that make it so unique and special.

Back to Projects