How lucky are we here in New Zealand? The Pacific Ocean’s ‘Ring of Fire’ provides us with an abundance of thermal underground water, providing us with more than 100 hot pools and springs. There is a wide range of hot water experiences to escape to, from “digging your own hot pools”, to luxurious sophisticated pools, complete with pampering spas and everything in between. Below is my pick of the pools.
· Dig Your Own Hot Pool – Hot Water Beach, Coromandel & Kawhia Ocean Beach
Where else in the world can you stroll onto a beautiful beach with a spade tucked under your arm and dig your own hot pool, complete with stunning beach views? Hot Water Beach is the world-renowned golden sand beach located on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula and is hugely popular with both locals and overseas tourists. In Waikato on the southwest side of Hamilton is the less populated Kawhia Hot Water Beach with rugged coastline and black sand.
At both beaches, head down to the sand a couple of hours on either side of low tide with your spade, and start digging to create the perfect pool to suit your needs.
· Hike Through the Bush To Your Hot Pool – Great Barrier Island
There are plenty of hot pools in amazing locations in the bush. Some involve a bit of a walk but as a bonus they’re free! If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend some time on Great Barrier Island, take a one-hour easy walk from Whangaparapara Road to the Kaitoke Hot Springs. The main pool is warm to tepid all year around and there are hotter rock pools a little further upstream. It’s well worth the walk for the opportunity to soak in such a scenic and serene spot!
Geothermal Activity In Abundance Between Rotorua & Taupo
There is so much geothermal activity in the Rotorua/Taupo area that your biggest problem will be deciding which hot pools or spring to visit. How’s this for choice? Polynesian Spa, Hell’s Gate, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Kerosene Creek, Manupirua Springs Hot Pools at Lake Rotoiti, Hot Water Beach in Te Rata Bay, and the Secret Spot Hot Tubs.
· Secret Spot Hot Tubs
How about a complimentary “shinny dip” at the Secret Spot Hot Tubs in the Waipa Valley where you can sit back and soak your legs in an awesome mini cedar hot tub while enjoying your favourite beverage? Secret Spot Hot Tubs has twelve cedar hot tubs surrounded by ferns, fauna, and streams. These can be booked for hour-long sessions. And if you’re thirsty, just press the button on the side of the tub to order your drink.
· Manupirua Thermal Springs – Boat Access Only!
On the southern shores of Lake Rotoiti are ‘secret hot springs’ called Manupirua Thermal Springs. The only way to reach these pools is by boat or floatplanes making it a unique experience. There are seven mineral pools, tucked into the native bush down by the water’s edge and you can leap into the lake if you need to cool down!
· Otumuheke Stream Located At Spa Thermal Park
If you walk about 25 minutes from the Taupo City Centre, you will find the recently upgraded Otumuheke Stream located in the Spa Thermal Park. Check out the interesting storyboards explaining the historic significance of the area. Soak in one of the pools, or sit under a waterfall. It’s completely natural, overlooks the waters of the Waikato River, and it’s free!
· A Family Favourite – Hotel De Brett’s Hot Springs & Water Playground
A great pool complex for the family, located on a natural geothermal ‘hot spot,’ called Onekeneke. There are two huge mineral pools with a waterfall and 12 private mineral pools set amongst beautifully landscaped surroundings. Spa treatments are available too. For the kids, there is a thrilling dragon hydro slide, two heated curved racing slides, and a children’s interactive warm water playground.
THE SOUTH ISLAND – Simply Stunning Scenic Locations
· Tekapo Spring Hot Pools – Soak And Star Gaze!
Lake Tekapo is a ‘Dark Sky Reserve’ with stargazing from one of three hot pools for a wondrous and unforgettable experience. The daytime views over Lake Tekapo, the mountain ranges, and the pine forest are spectacular too. There’s also a snow tube park, two cooler pools, an ice skating rink, and an Aqua Play Area – something for everyone!
· Maruia Hot Springs
The award-winning Maruia Hot Springs day spa and wellness destination is in the picturesque Lewis Park National Reserve in the Southern Alps. The pools have a long, interesting history, overlooking the Maruia River and snow-capped mountains. Their location is peaceful and serene to guarantee full relaxation and recuperation.
· Hot Tubs Omarama
Between Queenstown and Lake Tekapo is Omarama where you can find 10 private spas that are temperature controlled with wood fire and awesome views of Otago’s rugged, sometimes snow-capped, peaks. In the evening, you’ll be treated to some great star gazing here too.
· Hanmer Springs
Winner of the World Luxury Spa Awards in 2020, Hanmer Springs, with its backdrop of the snow-capped Southern Alps and stunning landscape, is a great place for a soak. It has 22 outdoor pools featuring waterslides, four hydro slides (including ‘Conical Thrill,’ New Zealand’s largest aquatic thrill ride), private thermal pools, sauna and steam rooms. Take your pick!
· Onsen Hot Pools And Day Spa – Queenstown
If it’s pampering you’re after, you need to head to the luxurious award-winning Onsen Hot Pools and Day Spa in Queenstown. Soak yourself in one of their exclusive use cedar-lined hot tubs with breathtaking views over the Shotover River and alpine scenery, and maybe treat yourself to a special day spa treatment while you’re there. Just make sure you book well ahead of time as they book up weeks in advance.
We are so lucky to have access to such a great range of geothermal hot pools and spas throughout New Zealand. There are so many benefits from soaking in a geothermal pool, including improved circulation and cell oxygenation and improved skin from the magnesium and potassium in the water.
Whether it be a basic natural pool in the bush or a five-star luxury cedar hot tub, there’s a hot pool or spring out there somewhere in New Zealand, that has your name on it!