Australia’s best gay saunas and sex-on-premises venues
Australia has a proud tradition of great gay saunas — some of them have been around for over 40 years, in fact!
Sex-on-premises venues (SOPVs) like gay saunas and cruising clubs provide a discreet space dedicated to meeting other guys for sex. They can also be a much more exciting alternative to scrolling through your Grindr/Scruff grid — there are no headless torsos, endless chats or catfish at the sauna. Best of all, if you find someone you like, you’re both already naked — what’s not to love?
As long-time sauna enthusiasts, we’ve done the legwork and put together a list of our favourite venues across Australia. Read on for our guide to having fun — and staying safe — in some of Australia’s best gay saunas and cruising clubs.
In this article:
New South Wales
With four levels of fun, 357 is packed with good times for gay and bi guys — all right in the inner-city. The popular ‘wet area’ has a steam room and dry sauna (both with dark rooms), as well as private showers and a spa to relax in. Get busy in the numerous cruising areas, relax with a buddy in the cinema or indulge in the Fantasy Rooms on level 3 (the wrestling room, mirror room and sling room come highly recommended). The club prides itself on being inclusive and supportive of all guests, with a great guide for first-timers and some practical rules to make sure everyone plays safely and respectfully.
357 has one of the fullest and wildest weekly programs of any SOPV in the country! Foam parties on Sundays are (literally) loads of fun and tend to attract a younger crowd, and exhibitionists will enjoy Towel Free Nights on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Trans Tuesdays are open to everyone and towels are optional, so you can cruise in your own clothes. If you’re into dark rooms, we’ll see you at Black Out on Fridays — or will we?
While you’re doing the tour, why not take a moment to check in on your sexual health? 357 offers free STI testing in partnership with the Sydney Sexual Health Centre — head up to level 4 to find the self-testing kiosk. Testing is completely anonymous and you can request your results to be sent either by email or phone.
Open 7 days a week, Sydney Sauna has something for everyone, with 23 serviced rooms and spa, sauna and steam room facilities. There are also cruising areas, a spacious cinema and a fully serviced café if you’re feeling snackish. Make the most of your lunch break with lunchtime specials Friday through Sunday, or show off your #gainz with discounted entry for gym members on Wednesdays.
Along with their weekly program of themed nights, Sydney Sauna also hosts ticketed events throughout the year — check out their events page to see what’s coming up. The venue also has private rooms for rent and offers (non-sexual) therapeutic and relaxation massage services by appointment. What better way to unwind after a long week?
Aarows, Rydalmere, Sydney
Aarows offers a fun, safe and inclusive SOPV for people of all genders and sexualities.
The club has a range of cruising areas and wet facilities as well as places to just relax and shoot some pool. Gay and bi guys should check out the top floor on Sundays — men only, all nude, 8am-8pm.
TRADE Club (formerly HeadQuarters), Surry Hills, Sydney
Australia’s largest adult entertainment venue, Trade, is open from 2pm until late, Tuesday to Sunday. The club hosts events frequently, from dance parties to BDSM nights — check in on their socials for upcoming events.
Melbourne’s most famous ‘late night destination’ is a favourite among locals and visitors alike. Located a five-minute walk from Smith Street’s queer nightspots, Wet is the perfect place to finish a night out with a relaxing spa/sauna/gloryhole encounter. On the ground floor you’ll find the pool, spa, dry sauna and steam room facilities. But head upstairs to the play areas and private rooms if you want to get your freak on — and don’t forget to check out the suckatorium.
Wet is very involved with the queer community in Melbourne and hosts events year-round, including summer pool parties, monthly nude nights and dedicated events for under 30s and bears. It also takes care to provide a safe space for all patrons, with condoms and lube in all areas and clear standards on conduct and hygiene. You should also keep an eye out for Thorne Harbour Health’s friendly volunteer sexperts, who are often in the venue to answer any questions you might have about your sexual health.
An easy walk from Flinders St station, Subway Sauna is a must-see on any visit to Melbourne. Subway is open 24/7 and offers fun for any time of day, including 30 serviced rooms, a spa, a steam room, cruising areas, glory holes, a maze, video lounges and a fully serviced cafe and bar.
Subway’s weekly program caters for everyone. Come Poke a Bear on Thursday nights or Bring a Buddy on Wednesdays for discounted entry. Friday evenings are always busy around Happy Hour, with drink specials from 5pm-8pm. If you want a longer visit, you can also book a private room, which comes fully stocked with fresh bed linen, a huge selection of porn, lube, condoms, towels and bottled water.
Bay City Sauna is a discreet sex club in Melbourne’s cosy southern suburbs. The club’s men-only nights are Bound kink night on Sundays and Frisky, a dance event every Friday night. They also do popular men-only nude nights (no towels!) on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Monday of the month.
Heading to the Mornington Peninsula? Stop in at the Peninsula Sauna and Spa for some rest and relaxation. Nude Sundays and Furocious Bear Night on Fridays are well worth checking out.
Recently refurbished, Perth’s favourite gay sauna has updated its facilities with a new fully licensed bar and cafe, a new fit-out and private rooms available for rent (in 1, 3 or 6-hour blocks). Located a few blocks from the centre of Northbridge (i.e. Connections), Steamworks has all your favourite ‘wet room’ facilities, including a sauna, spa and open showers. It also has a full weekly program of events like Naked Night Thursdays and Speedo Sundays.
A dedicated ‘safe and discreet place for men to meet men’, Steamworks takes care to maintain the privacy and wellbeing of patrons and has condoms and lube available in every room. It’s also very welcoming to newcomers, with a friendly guide for first-time patrons. During normal operations, Steamworks partners with M-Clinic to offer walk-in STI screening at the sauna on Thursday nights, but double-check on the Steamworks website before you turn up.
Note that if you’ve got any STI symptoms, you’ll need to go and see a doctor instead — make an appointment at M-Clinic or your nearest sexual health service during normal business hours.
Brisbane’s Wet has all the essentials for a night at the bathhouse: steam room, spa, dry sauna, slings, private rooms and loads of condoms and lube. Sundays are famously busy, kicking off just after lunchtime, and naked Tuesdays (towels in your hand or on your shoulder only) are fast becoming an institution. Wet also offers a bunch of discounted entry prices for concession card holders and under-25s — or just buy a 10-pass and enjoy the value!
Brisbane’s Rapid service partners with Wet to offer a walk-in HIV and STI screening service on Tuesdays between 2pm and 7pm. Again, if you’ve got any STI symptoms, you’ll need to go and see a doctor instead — make an appointment at your nearest sexual health service during normal business hours.
CLUB29 is Brisbane’s biggest cruise club, exclusively for men. The club offers a bunch of themed and discounted nights throughout the week and is a popular venue for ticketed events as well — check out their events page for the latest. Rapid also does HIV and STI testing at the club on Friday nights, from 7pm-11pm.
Known as ‘431’ to the locals, Pulteney 431 has been a fixture in Adelaide’s queer scene for over 40 years. Along with a spa, dry sauna and steam room facilities, it’s got a relaxed billiard lounge and a snack bar to help maintain your energy levels. Head upstairs and you’ll find the cruising space with 14 private rooms and a large group area for making lots of friends in a short space of time. 431 also prides itself on being a safe, friendly and inclusive sex club for gay and bisexual men, with a guide for first-time visitors and clear policies on respectful conduct.
Pulteney 431 offers some unique members’ promotions and kink-friendly events, like their monthly ‘E&V’ (exhibitionists and voyeurs) nights, which have an open-door policy in the cruising areas. They also partner with SAMESH on the last Sunday of every month to provide free advice on sexual health and sauna protocol in the billiard lounge. You can even get a free HIV self-testing kit from an on-site vending machine thanks to the CONNECT Project.
Adult stores with backrooms
If you’re not into saunas, there are also several adult shops with back rooms for sexy times, either alone or with a buddy. Do some browsing and pick up some condoms and lube before you disappear into a booth.
As always, if you’re out meeting guys for sex, make sure you’re looking after your sexual health. All of these sex-on-premises businesses take your health and safety seriously, and there are condoms and lube available throughout.
Anything can (and does) happen in the dark room or the steam room! Even if you’re managing your HIV risk in other ways, like using PrEP. Condoms are still your best option for helping reduce the risk of STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, shigella and syphilis. Whether you do or don’t use condoms, test for HIV and STIs at least once every three months.
Note that (at the time of publishing) all of these venues are COVID-safe according to current regulations in their state or territory, so be familiar with these regulations before you turn up. Are you happy to abide by density limits and mask requirements? Are you comfortable checking in and showing your vaccination certificate at an SOPV? Always check ahead on what the current restrictions are at the venue and how they might affect your experience of a gay sauna.