When you’ve ridden the slopes all day, nothing hits the spot better than a good long soak in one of NZ’s many relaxing spas!
Rotorua is a true hot spot of geothermal activity. The Polynesian Spa facilities have grown from a humble hand-dug pool to an extensive complex of mineral pools spread over 4 different bathing areas alongside Lake Rotorua. Voted a Top 10 World Day Spa by UK’s Conde Nast Traveller Magazine, the resort’s spa retreat offers wellness treatments that can be combined with a relaxing soak in one of many private hot pools. There are adult-only and family-friendly pool options, open every day of the year. Polynesian Spa has recently added a new reflexology walk and cold plunge pool, offering guests relaxation and recovery for increased energy levels and healthier immune systems. Another new addition to Polynesia Spa is the fifth mineral pool in its Deluxe Lake Spa, with acidic mineral water sourced from the Priest Spring – allowing you to experience both acidic and alkaline mineral waters.
Polynesian Spa, Rotorua.
Further south in Taupō, DeBretts Spa offers a complete resort escape, with accommodation for all budgets, massage, hydroslides, a big waterpark for the kids to enjoy, and of course the iconic geothermal hot pools. Lake Taupō Top 10 Holiday Park opened ‘Lusty's Lagoon’ back in 2015 – the first thermally heated swimming pool of its kind in NZ, with a swim up bar, giant screen for watching family movies, and spa area. There’s plenty of fun to be had for free at the Otumuheke Stream, where a secret, piping-hot waterfall flows through rich green surrounding into the Waikato River in Spa Thermal Park, about 25 minutes walk from Taupō’s centre. It’s open to the public, an authentic Kiwi experience and completely free of charge. There are toilets and changing rooms available, just remember to bring your own towel! For a more luxurious, adults only experience, visit Wairakei Terraces, where a $25 entrance gives you access to three mineral-enriched hot pools beneath a waterfall.
DeBretts Spa, Taupo.
In the Auckland region there are some great options where the focus is on slides and pools suited for the whole family. Parakai Springs, 40 minutes to the north-west, offers large outdoor and indoor pools and thrilling hydroslides. Or head to Whitianga, where The Lost Spring have created a blissful oasis away from the world. 16,000 year old mineral water springs emerge from 667 meters below ground, leaving you feeling pure and pampered. Sip on a glass of bubbles or dine at their on-site restaurant after your soak. Hot Water Beach isn’t far away on the Coromandel Peninsula, where you can dig your very own hot pool.
The Lost Spring, Whitianga.
Everyone’s favourite choice for family fun is Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, less than 2 hours drive from Christchurch. Starting from a simple bathing pool with a fence in the 1850s, the pools have grown to a multi-million dollar, award-winning attraction that pulls in more than half a million visitors a year. The huge complex draws its water from a bore adjacent to the pools, which is used creatively in spas, pools, water slides, and an AquaPlay area that will keep the kids splashing and squealing for hours. Hanmer Springs is open 7 days a week from 10am.
In the heart of lush rainforest in the West Coast, you'll find one of New Zealand's most unique places to unwind. Glacier Hot Pools in Franz Josef feature three main pools (suitable for all ages) tucked away amongst beautiful native bush. There are also private pool options and a spa & massage centre for an extra-special experience.
11 Ways to relax
The website NZ Hotpools lists over 100 spots to enjoy natural hot water, both commercially operated thermal pools and natural hot springs/streams where you can bath for free.
Header Image: Hanmer Springs.