While Australians will need to wait a while longer to enter any Nordic-Baltic travel bubble, a new experience in Tasmania is set to bring the best of its culture to our shores with the country's first floating sauna
On the waters of Lake Derby, the sauna is in the heart of the former tin mining town that has experienced a revival following the establishment of the Blue Derby Trail Network attracting mountain biking enthusiasts to the state's north-east since 2015.
Ideally-suited to Tasmania's fresh weather, a sauna master will guide guests through the experience which includes 10 minutes of dry heat starting at 60 degrees, then an increase in temperature and steam, followed by a plunge into the lake's waters (also known as Briseis Hole).
"People can take the cold plunge by diving straight in or there's a ladder that you can lower yourself into. You can come back in and add some more steam," owner Nigel Reeves says.
Reeves, a mountain biking enthusiast and Derby accommodation owner, is hopeful the centuries-old rituals of the sauna and cold plunge therapy will be adopted in the tiny town. While aimed at the pedal-weary rider, it's also an experience for non-riders .
"Australians are yet to fully embrace this culture and the sense of community that it brings, but you can't help but have that when you're sitting next to someone in this environment talking about your day and the trails you have ridden. And after a ride there's nothing better to recuperate," he says.
"It's all about being in nature and having an hour to disconnect from the world and to push some boundaries. It's part of the reason why the change-rooms are translucent. You can't see anything other than shadows."
Reeves says extreme heat and cold produce natural highs as they release natural endorphins.
"It's nothing new in countries such as Finland which has 2 million saunas in a country of 5 million people."
Mountain bikers now have more than 125 kilometres of purpose-built tracks in an area that attracts 30,000 visitors annually.
It costs $45 a person for the one hour public session or $300 to exclusively hire the facility that accommodates up to 10 people.