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