Getting into hot water

Thermal spas in New Zealand are more than just a relaxing warm bath - they are also a cultural
and therapeutic experience that includes soaking in steaming mineral waters or wallowing in
warm mud in natural outdoor surroundings.

There’s nothing more soothing in winter than a relaxing massage, followed by a soak in warm,
geothermal spring water. And New Zealand’s location on the ‘Pacific Rim of Fire’ means there
are thermal springs and hot pools dotted all over the country. Here are some of the best places
to go.


The hot springs and bubbling pools of sulphurous mud in Rotorua are legendary, making it the
country’s most famous spa destination. The city’s Polynesian Spa is built on natural hot springs
that have been frequented by locals since the early 19th century. There are 26 pools and an
international day spa offering unique local therapies.

Nearby Hell’s Gate, which is situated in the middle of a geothermal park, also offers special
mud baths and mineral hot pools with therapeutic and relaxing properties. Rotorua also has a
number of natural hot springs where bathers can sit in pools surrounded by native forest - these
are completely undeveloped and sometimes tricky to find, however, we can let you in on the

The Coromandel

Whitianga, on the Coromandel Peninsula, has New Zealand’s newest thermal pools. The
Lost Spring is a series of intimate pools in a semi-tropical forest setting where guests can sip
cocktails as they lie back listening to native birds or indulge themselves in the day spa.

Further along the peninsula is the famed Hot Water Beach, where hot thermal spring water
bubbles up through the sand. Visitors can dig their own holes in the sand, and mix sea and
spring water to achieve the perfect temperature for lounging in. Bring your own spade and visit
within two hours of low tide.

Hanmer SpringsHanmer Springs

The South Island’s most famous geothermal resort is Hanmer Springs, where hot outdoor pools
keep bathers warm even while snow falls around them. There are 12 open-air thermal pools,
three sulphur pools, and six private indoor thermal pools, as well as a sauna/steam room. There
is also a new freshwater, heated swimming pool and a family area with water slides.

The complex has a health and beauty spa that offers a range of treatments, including a
chocolate regenerative facial, traditional hot stone massage, as well as the usual facials,
massages, manicures and pedicures.



Hot Tubs Omarama, in the South Island’s Mackenzie Country, offers a great hot tub experience
- a Kiwi version of Japanese ‘onsen’ bathing. The water is sourced from snow and glacial melt
water coming from a series of glaciers on Mount Huxley in the Barrier Range.

There are six private tubs, and two private “pods”, which also include a sauna - and the views
across to the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps are breathtaking.

Onsen hot Pools, QueenstownQueenstown

Queenstown also offers an authentic onsen experience at the Onsen Hot Pools. The Japanese-
style pools are all housed in private cedar-lined bathing rooms that have a wonderfully unique
feature - at the press of a button, the front wall and roof retracts but your privacy is maintained.

It’s the perfect place to relax after a day of adventure activities. At night, with the roof retracted,
bathers can breathe in the mountain air and gaze up at the stars on a clear night.

Franz Josef

Take a steamy dip under a West Coast rainforest canopy at Franz Josef’s Glacier Hot Pools.
The complex includes three warm public pools, and three secluded private pools, and a
dedicated spa facility.

The pools are fed by the waters of the Franz Josef glacier. In Maori the glacier is called Ka
Roimata o Hinehukatere, or the frozen tears of Hinehukatere for her lost love. Fortunately the
water is heated to invitingly warm levels, and the surrounding native bush and birdlife create a
tranquil space to revive after a day of glacier hiking.