Some Like It Hot: A Guide To New Zealand’s Best Hot Pools
Remedy your winter chills by submerging yourself in one of these dreamy (and super steamy) hot pools.
Words by: Kelly Tapper
Plummeting temperatures may signal deep winter weather for most, but it also signifies the time of year that hot pools really come into their own. Who doesn’t love an open-air soak in a hot pool while simultaneously feeling the cool breeze on your face? We’re total converts. So, whether you like your hot pool wild in nature, partnered with spa treatments or blessed with phenomenal views, we’ve got something on this list for you.
Time to book yourself in for this quintessential winter treat.
He Puna Taimoana Hot Pools
195 Marine Parade, New Brighton, Christchurch 8083
Hot pool fans flock to He Puna Taimoana in the seaside suburb of New Brighton in Christchurch Ōtautahi. A mid-winter dip is fast becoming the must-do activity in the Garden City, and with its five luxurious saltwater hot pools, plunge pool, steam room and sauna complete with beachside views, it’s easy to see why. He Puna Taimoana runs daily sessions throughout the week ensuring the pools are never too crowded, much to delight of visitors. We suggest booking early to avoid disappointment.
162 Arthurs Point Road, Arthurs Point, Queenstown, New Zealand
If you’re not familiar with Onsen in Queenstown, you may have been living under an Instagram-sized stone because this place is the ultimate poster child for hot pools in Aotearoa. The place boasts top-notch cedar-lined hot tubs and outrageously picturesque views of the surrounding mountains and Shotover River. Onsen pays homage to the Japanese tradition of bathing, offering private use of a hot pool filled with pure mountain water that’s then heated to approx. 38.3 degrees. There’s the added bonus of indulging in some relaxing spa treatments if you really want to push the boat out.
Hot Tubs Omarama
29 Omarama Ave Main, Twizel Highway, Omarama, Ōamaru & Waitaki
In the heart of Te Waipounamu you’ll find Hot Tubs Omarama - a world-class hot pool and sauna experience - that encourages everyone to get a healthy dose of relaxation and rejuvenation (where do we sign up?). Their beautiful cedar tubs come in a range of sizes to facilitate private groups of up to eight people, ideal for those who want to share the experience with their mates. Kick back and unwind in these dreamy outdoor pools conveniently located at the foothills of the Southern Alps.
Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Health Spa, Taupō
671 Wairakei Drive, Wairakei, Taupō 3377
Try immersing yourself into the geothermal and mineral rich waters at Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Health Spa and prepare to feel the healing benefits of the natural springs take hold. Nestled amongst native bush, the four pools (all with varying temperatures) create a tranquil and enchanting place to restore your mind and body. With an adult only admission, the thermal spa is committed to providing a truly calming environment and best of all, you’ll step away with supple soft skin and relaxed muscles. Win win. A plethora of spa treatments are also available to book including hot stone massage.
Polynesian Spa, Rotorua
1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua
The OG of New Zealand hot pools, the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua is an out and out classic. Sourced from two natural springs that feed into a whooping 28 hot mineral pools, Polynesian Spa is a world famous destination for a reason. If you’re searching for solitude, there’s the option to book the Lake View Private Pool (38.5°C) offering panoramic views over Lake Rotorua for the ultimate slice of peace and relaxation. Catering to a range of budgets and itineraries Polynesian Spa ticks all the boxes!
The Lost Spring, Whitianga
121A Cook Drive, Whitianga
Looking for geothermal pools in the Coromandel without the hassle of digging sand for millennia? Head to The Lost Spring in Whitianga, a 16,000 year old mineral springs that will leave your skin feeling soft and body suitably relaxed thanks to its 400 minerals. In addition to your unwinding soak, you can also book into their elegant day spa or grab a bite to eat in their restaurant. Sounds like the day is sorted.
Welcome Flat Hot Springs, West Coast
If you like your hot pools with a splash of adventure, Welcome Flat Hot Springs, is just the ticket. Located a hearty 18km from the Copland Valley car park, you’ll tramp through incredible rātā forest along the Copland river in search of these unforgettable natural springs. On arrival, you’ll be welcome by a steaming pool to soak in after a big day walking. Planning your trip is key as the Westcoast is renowned for rain (200 days a year to be precise) and the track can become unpassable in bad weather. Check out the DOC website for more info.
Kerosene Creek, Rotorua
Just south of Rotorua, on the Old Waiotapu Road, you’ll find Kerosene Creek. Driving down the remote gravel road, you may start to think you’ve taken the wrong turn but persevere to find a magical hot spring nestled amongst deep native forest. BAthers over the years have created a few little hot pools using smooth rocks to make the ideal mix of temperature hot springs and cooler creek water. The cascading 2m waterfall and old-fashioned corrugated iron changing shed make this a quirky and memorable spot to spend some time. Be respectful and leave this beautiful place as you found it.
Kaitoke Hot Springs, Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island / Aotea 0991
If you're lucky enough to find yourself on Aotea any time of year, try searching out Kaitoke Hot Springs for truly idyllic experience in nature. Located on Whangaparapara Road (north of Claris), keep a keen eye out for signposts for the natural springs. From the small car pack, you'll meander for about an hour following the edge of Kaitoke Swamp to the sulphurous hot springs. Set amongst lush flora and fauna, the hot pools (of which there are many to explore) are just another reason to fall in love with this very special place.
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