Described as ‘gifts from the earth’, volcanic thermal underground water has been valued by New Zealanders since early settlement.
Hot springs were traditionally used for cooking, bathing, and for preparing flax for weaving. Containing minerals with medicinal healing properties, today the water is used for treating aches and pains and pure relaxation.
1. Onsen Hot Pools & Day Spa, Queenstown
Relax and rejuvenate after exploring the adventure capital of the world. Immerse yourself in a cedar hot tub overlooking the Shotover River. Onsen Hot Pools and Day Spa(opens in new window) is just 10 minutes self-drive from Queenstown, with the option of taking the complimentary shuttle.
2. The Lost Spring, Whitianga
The Lost Spring(opens in new window) is located in Whitianga, on the Coromandel. Just a short walk from the beach you'll find an oasis of 16,000-year-old geothermal mineral water. Swim through the largest pool, which features an Amethyst Cave, and marvel at purple crystals and stalactites above. Sip on cocktails while soaking in the pools, dine poolside or indulge in a spa treatment.
3. Te Aroha Mineral Spas, Te Aroha
For over 100 years locals have been soaking their tired muscles inTe Aroha's mineral-rich waters(opens in new window). In your own private wooden tub, adjust the water temperature as the hot soda water flows straight from the nearby geyser. Well placed directly under Mount Te Aroha, less than a one-hour drive from Hamilton, these mineral spas include luxurious treatments such as hot stone massages.
Local tip: For a free foot spa, check out the nearby Te Aroha Domain Foot Pool, which is naturally 36 degrees Celsius.
4. Tekapo Springs Hot Pools, Lake Tekapo
This MacKenzie Country speciality lies beneath the hundreds of stars of the Tekapo dark sky reserve. For a unique experience, lie on your back on a floating hammock in 38-degree Celsius water whilst stargazing. Listen to your poolside guide tell you about the stars, constellations and planets, as well as New Zealand legends.
Suitable for all seasons, the outdoor cedar wood tubs at Hot Tubs Omarama(opens in new window) are filled with refreshing mountain water. During winter, the water is heated with wood fires. Visit during the day to soak under the sun or in the evening to stargaze on clear nights. Located in the historic Waitaki region and midway between Wanaka and Tekapo, the drive alone gives you the chance to admire pristine scenery.
6. Waikite Valley, Rotorua
Only 30 minutes self-drive from Rotorua, Waikite Valley Thermal Pools(opens in new window) is the largest single source of 100% pure geothermal water in New Zealand. With temperatures ranging from 35 to 40°C, the complex includes six open pools in a stunning natural setting. Or, if you'd prefer a more exclusive experience, treat yourself to a private spa with a tranquil native bush and geothermal valley outlook.
7. Polynesian Spa, Rotorua
The birthplace of tourism, Rotorua's geothermal baths have been providing relaxation and health benefits since the 1880s. On the shores of Lake Rotorua, you will find thePolynesian Spa(opens in new window), with almost 30 mineral pools filled from two natural springs - the acidic spring relieving aches and pains and the alkaline spring is said to nourish the skin.
8. Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Health Spa, Taupō
Just an hour from Rotorua you will find Taupō, an outdoor adventurers’ playground. At the Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Health Spa(opens in new window) you can bathe in the therapeutic waters containing silica which is said to help restore collagen, strengthen bones and boost the immunity. Wander around the silica terraces or experience a Māori cultural performance before seeping into the steam.
9. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, Hanmer Springs
Surrounded by native kōwhai trees and bellbirds, soak the day away in the rainbow pools with beach-style entry and underwater seating. Above the ground and overlooking the complex are the sulphur pools with volcanic rock cladding and plenty of room to swim.
You’ll find this hot spring less than two hours’ drive from both Christchurch and Kaikōura
10. DeBretts Spa Resort, Taupō
Take time to inhale the fresh forest air in these outdoor pools with bubbling hydrotherapy spots, surrounded by native bush and lush landscaping. Onsite you will find many spa treatments to restore mind, body and spirit. Be wrapped in a cocoon of bliss with the highly recommended full-body thermal mud wrap. You can find Taupō(opens in new window) DeBretts Spa Resort(opens in new window) just over an hour’s drive from Mt Ruapehu ski fields.