Most visitors go to this hidden gem to ride mountain bikes, but a steamy new addition is set to seduce hedonists and get endorphins flowing.
Most visitors go to this hidden gem to ride mountain bikes, but a steamy new addition is set to seduce hedonists and get endorphins flowing.

SNEAK PEEK: Inside this little town’s big steamy secret

Steamy sessions are set to seduce visitors to Derby from early July.

Sauna master Nigel Reeves is today finally able to take bookings for what is believed to be Australia's first floating sauna.

Technically allowed to open from noon today with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions relating to saunas, spa baths and bathhouses, Mr Reeves said he would welcome guests to Floating Sauna Lake Derby from Saturday, July 4.

The European-style water therapy experience is the latest tourism offering at the small northeastern town going gangbusters as a mountain-biking hub.

 

Floating Sauna at Derby. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR
Floating Sauna at Derby. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR

 

Mr Reeves, 48, of North Hobart, spent summer building the sauna and two months over autumn refining the art of steam-and-plunge curation.

"I planned to open the week before coronavirus hit, but I've spent the past few months in lockdown in Derby enjoying the sauna on my own," he said.

"It has honed my skills to master level."

Designed by local firm Licht Architecture, the Finnish-inspired steamroom is cedar-lined and wood-fired.

Resembling in gloomy weather a diminutive dwelling from a Nordic fairy tale, it sits on Lake Derby, better known to locals as Briseis Hole, a rainwater-fed former tin-mine crater.

Floating Sauna on Briseis Hole, the former mine hole also known as Lake Derby, will open in Derby, Tasmania, in July 2020. Believed by owner Nigel Reeves to be the first of its kind in the country, the timber-lined wood-fired Floating Sauna was designed by Licht Architecture. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR
Floating Sauna on Briseis Hole, the former mine hole also known as Lake Derby, will open in Derby, Tasmania, in July 2020. Believed by owner Nigel Reeves to be the first of its kind in the country, the timber-lined wood-fired Floating Sauna was designed by Licht Architecture. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR

Mr Reeves said Tasmania was the ideal Australian location to establish an outpost of a northern European and North American freshwater tradition.

"Finland has five million people and 3.3 million saunas but we don't have a sauna culture," he said.

He was confident guests would embrace his "exhilarating" hot and cold water sessions.

"You have a series of sauna and cold lake plunge rotations over an hour, and the temperature fluctuations release all of the natural endorphins," he said.

"Regardless of medical benefits you feel amazing afterwards."

 

Nigel Reeves, 48, of Hobart, contemplates the COVID-19 delays besetting the launch of his Floating Sauna at Derby. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR
Nigel Reeves, 48, of Hobart, contemplates the COVID-19 delays besetting the launch of his Floating Sauna at Derby. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR

 

Dive right in … if you dare. Temperature fluctuations between steam room and chilly lake activate endorphins for an exhilarating natural high. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR
Dive right in … if you dare. Temperature fluctuations between steam room and chilly lake activate endorphins for an exhilarating natural high. Picture: ANJIE BLAIR

The addition of the floating sauna to the travel scene was timely.

"Tasmanian tourism has matured from great food, wine, bushwalking and visuals now to the feeling and experience side," Mr Reeves said.

"The floating suanca is about new tourism products that meet what people visiting Tasmania want to feel."

amanda.ducker@news.com.au

Originally published as SNEAK PEEK: Inside Tassie town's steamy secret


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