From a touch of luxury to a wilderness natural spa to beach tidal pools New Zealand has an abundance of natural hot water springs replenishing pools with warm mineral water. There is even a river that flows with warm water. Winter is a magical time to soak in warm natural pools making an ideal weekend getaway treat to relax weary bones.
TAUPO – CENTRAL NORTH ISLAND
- Kerosene Creek
Well known on the backpacker circuit, warm mineral waters mingling with cool mountain streams. The creek is surrounded by natural bush. Spa enthusiasts have excavated rocks to form little rock pools you can sit in and soak in the warmth. There is even a corrugated iron changing shed. There is the published danger of theft from vehicles so don’t leave anything in your car. The place has even made the grade with New Zealand tourism touting it as a natural escape. Getting to Kerosene Creek, Follow State Highway 5 south from Rotorua towards Taupo for about 30km. After passing the turnoff to Murupara on your left and Lake Ngahewa on your right, turn left onto Old Waiotapu.Road. Follow this gravel road for 2.2 km (about 3 minutes) until you see a grass verge on the right, where you can park your vehicle. Walk down the short track to the creek. For ideas about what to do in Taupo check Three days in Taupo inspiration
- Taupo deBretts
deBretts is a great family location and you can even check into the adjoining holiday camping grounds for repeat visits. Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort – Hot Pools, Accommodation and Spa. The site is an original nineteenth spa hotel location and while the original building is no more the hot mineral water just keeps on going. Taupo DeBretts enjoys a prime location at a natural ‘hot spot’ – a geothermal spring known as Onekeneke. For more than a century, people have flocked here to enjoy its famous relaxation and medicinal benefits. At Taupo DeBretts, the water is cooled from way-too-hot volcanic waters down to a far more inviting temperature range of 38 to 41°C (100.4 to 105.8°F), all the while preserving the abundance of health-enriching mineral components. Guests staying in our Holiday Park have discounted rates for Waterpark entry making this place a top favourite. And you’ve got that fabulous lake Taupo on the doorstep as well.
- Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel
Okoroire, Tirau hotel has a dinky golf course and hot springs. This rustic location with its miniaturised golf course, the views of farmland and the way through an avenue of trees to a picturesque setting for hot mineral rock pools is delightful. This is a great way to stop for visitors bound to Wellington or simply a great weekend getaway for couples looking for some time to chill out together. The location is close to both Rotorua and the blue springs of Putaruru making for interesting side trips if you can drag yourself away from the romantic bush setting of the pools. A must linger location Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel – Since 1889 and soak away the cares of the world. The pools are private and only hotel guests can enjoy this rustic treat making for a private getaway. No crowds, probably just yourself.
- Waikite Valley
Welcome to Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Springs n Spa, Thermal Pools Rotorua, Thermal Hot Pools Rotorua, Hot Pools Rotorua Area. The nearby camping ground makes this a favourite place as repeat visits to the hot pools are a must for all spa enthusiasts. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools provide the opportunity to relax and experience the pure natural geothermal waters from the Te Manaroa Spring. Facilities include The Pukeko in the Ponga Tree Cafe, a splash pool with adjoining toddlers play area. Waikite Valley is a great place for families as the valley is just a 30-minute drive from Rotorua and 45 minutes from Taupo.
- Tokaanu Hot Springs
A classic local with the ambience of 1950’s family holiday to the local hot springs. The underrated attraction is a short hop from Taupo and Top ten things to do in Turangi
Definitely a bit tired around the edges with discarded pool slide and . Friendly atmosphere and packed with locals who are enjoying the leisurely soak in the thermal waters. For something to do in the area check the spectacular Miranda shorebirds
- Ngawha Springs – Northland
Northland, this hot pool is a perennial favourite perhaps because of its cultural significance as a place for bathing, spa treatment for hundreds of years. The current access is through uninspiring gorse-covered hills with the additional discouraging construction of a nearby geothermal electricity plant. Do not let you put you off this hidden gem. The entrance to the hot pools is sustainable living at its finest. You walk past recycled plastic pallets as fencing. Absolutely magic, what a perfect entrance statement. Ngawha Hot Pools Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs – Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs is a New Zealand original. Ngawha geothermal waters continue to attract hot pool devotees due to the high mineral content of the water.
The hot springs have had a recent makeover. When mentioned to the manager about the uninspiring entrance, we were informed that the gorse is excellent at encouraging bee pollen work as well as providing cover for native vegetation to recover. The pool’s temperature is measured daily and recorded on marked boards to assist with selection where you are going to soak the cares of the world away. These pools are not on the large group tour bus circuit. With its historic links to pre-European Maori stewardship and enthusiasm of owners Ngawha hot springs should be a compulsory must visit destination for fans of hot mineral pools.
It’s best if you visit during daylight hours, and don’t leave any valuables in your car while bathing. As with most thermal pools, it’s not safe to put your head underwater.
And the list is not closed, Gisbourne has a gem and there are hot mineral spas in the South Island that are worthy of any list.
The journey is worth it.