Soak It Up – The definitive winter hot pools road trip
Road trips are sewn into the fabric of New Zealand life. But there’s no need to reserve them for summer and hot weather – the Central North Island can be beautiful during winter too. And why not stop off at some world class hot pools and geothermal spa experiences to warm up? We’ve put together the perfect itinerary for relaxing, rejuvenating hot pools when you’re travelling from Tauranga to Taupō – or start from the bottom and drive up!
Mount Hot Pools – Tauranga
Relax and unwind in the only hot ocean water pools in the world at Mount Hot Pools. Enjoy the natural healing properties of bathing in heated saltwater in three outdoor pools, two outdoor spas and three indoor private pools. Ocean water is pumped from nearby Pilot Bay and geothermally heated underground 600m beneath Mauao (Mount Maunganui). The pools vary in temperatures from 27 to 40°C, so there’s a pool for everyone, including a kids’ pool with slide for the little ones. Top off your visit with a massage treatment from an experienced therapist and receive 20% off swim entry.
A: 9 Adams Avenue, Mount Maunganui
Awakeri Hot Springs – Awakeri
Situated in Awakeri just outside Whakatāne, Awakeri Hot Pools is a beautiful bushland sanctuary. The natural spring-fed mineral hot pools are part of the family-run Holiday Park, so you can stay the night and enjoy a relaxing soak in the 37-39°C hot pools (free for holiday park guests). The hot pools area is partially covered with large shade sails, and there are pools for children and toddlers too.
A: 1363 State Highway 30, Awakeri
Hell’s Gate – Rotorua
Hell’s Gate, to the northeast of Rotorua, offers the perfect opportunity to indulge and experience the wonder of geothermal healing properties with its mud spa experience.
Unwind and recharge while enjoying the sounds of the mineral spring-fed waterfall as you overlook Rotorua’s most active geothermal reserve. Covering your body in mineral-rich geothermal mud removes excess oils from within the skin’s pores and leaves you feeling soft, smooth, and rejuvenated.
Hell’s Gate is New Zealand’s only geothermal mud spa complex, so it’s an experience you won’t forget.
A: 351 State Highway 30 Tikitere, Rotorua
Secret Spot Hot Tubs – Rotorua
The secret is out about these secluded hot tubs, nestled beside the breathtaking Whakarewarewa Forest. Soak in your own spring-fed cedar hot tub, surrounded by native ferns. Umbrellas are available for wet weather, and if you go at night, you’ll soak in a magical illuminated setting complete with outdoor campfires. Take relaxation to the next level with their delicious range of craft beer, cider, and steaming mulled wine delivered directly to your hot tub at the push of a button. New additions this year include live music on Saturdays and the BaseCamp kitchen, serving tasty burgers, fries, and street food.
A: 13/33 Waipa State Mill Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua
Wairakei Terraces – Taupō
Snuggled in the geothermal Wairakei valley just to the north of Taupō, the Wairakei Terraces is a silica-rich, geothermally heated paradise. Four pools span the silica terraces, each at four different temperatures. There’s even a flowing waterfall of heated water refilling the pools, providing a peaceful background sound as steam rises around you. The silica in the mineral water is good for the skin, leaving you feeling silky smooth afterward. Make a day of it with a relaxing massage, reflexology, or facial treatment. Note that the tranquil pools are for adults only.
A: 671 Wairakei Drive, Wairakei, Taupō 3377