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A nation that is partially located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, all of New Zealand’s volcanic regions have naturally occurring hot springs. There are more than 60 of these wild (non commercial) hot springs to choose from. What’s more, when you take a self-drive holiday of New Zealand many of these hot springs are easy to access, and they’re entirely free of charge.
We’re big fans of wild hot springs here at First Light Travel – there’s nothing better than relaxing in a hot pool in the middle of nature after a long day exploring New Zealand. Here’s a guide to a few of our favourite New Zealand wild hot springs as well as the directions on how to get there.
Kerosene Creek, Rotorua
Home to a beautiful hot stream complete with a pretty waterfall and surrounded by native bush, Kerosene Creek offers a quintessential kiwi wild hot spring experience. Running over an old lava flow, the water temperature and level changes daily, so be sure to check the temperature before entering. Natural spa jets are recreated by tiny bubbles that jet up to the surface after they are forced down a rock face from the waterfall.
To reach Kerosene Creek, drive towards Taupo from Rotorua for around 30km before turning off at Old Waiotapu Road. After around 2km you’ll come see a strip of grass and a path that leads to the springs.
Hot Water Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
Just around the coast from beautiful Cathedral Coast lies the unique phenomenon that is Hot Water Beach. Here, you can dig your own geothermal hot pool metres from the refreshing Pacific Ocean. Geothermal water rises naturally up through the sand, creating one of New Zealand’s most famous natural springs. Dig your own spa and soak up the stunning beach vista – it’s a memory you’ll re-live over and over.
To reach Hot Water Beach, follow the road north from Pauanui and Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula. Be aware if you swim in the ocean here; dangerous rip currents are common.
Welcome Flat Hot pools, Fox Glacier
Possibly one of the most scenic – but also the most difficult to access - wild hot springs in New Zealand, Welcome Flat Hot Pools are located in a valley nestled between beautiful snow capped peaks and native forest. Here, four pools of different temperatures have been dug from a large mud fan. Relaxing in these pools is made all the more special because of the 7-hour walk it takes to reach them. Take a bottle of wine to drink in the pools as a special treat for wary hikers.
Difficult to access but most definitely worth the effort, you can get to Welcome Flat Hot Pools by walking for seven hours on the Copland Track. A Department of Conservation Hut and campsite is nearby, so staying the night before walking out the next day is a great option.
Take advantage of our local expertise and see how First Light Travel can help you plan your self-drive vacation in New Zealand. We'll incorporate plenty of advice on secret local gems, wild hot springs included! Contact us now, or find out more here.