There's nothing quite like a soak in heated water to warm your cockles during these chilly months. If you love the water for exercise, relaxation or fun, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be able to indulge in the winter, too. And no, we're not suggesting freezing yourself in the ocean—we're talking thermal springs. And, if that seems just too much, we introduce you to the new fad of floating.
Thermal springs are natural hot pools, with a water temperature usually eight degrees or more above the average air temperature. So, go on, immerse yourself in nature and take a dip in one of these geothermal mineral hot pools.
#1. Parakai Springs
Located 40 minutes outside of the city sits the geothermal wonders of Parakai Springs. It’s considered the Northwest’s best-kept secret, with large indoor and outdoor pools and hydro-slides for the thrill-seekers.
#2. Palm Springs
For a more grown up hot pool, take a trip to Parakai’s neighbouring spring, Palm Springs. Palm Springs is an adult-only pool, and includes semi-private rock pools, surrounded by ferns and a cascading fountain—perfect for the romantic lovers. There are also two large pools—one at a warm 40 degrees Celsius, and the other at 36 degrees Celsius.
Please note: Palm Springs is undergoing renovations and is presently closed.
#3. Waiwera Thermal Resort
Thirty-five minutes north of Auckland lies Waiwera Thermal Resort. Spend a full day on the Hibiscus Coast and enjoy being out of the inner-city bubble. Waiwera’s natural thermal pools are sheltered by native bush and hills of the Waiwera Valley—providing the ultimate picturesque place. If you want to have a little fun there are water slides, a movie pool and even an aqua group fitness class.
#4. Kaitoke Hot Springs
Great Barrier Island
Take a trip to the wondrous island of Great Barrier, located a short flight from Auckland. Kaitoke Hot Springs is full of adventures, as you’ll take a bush walk through nature that follows the edge of the Kaitoke swamp and crosses the Kaitoke Stream. The hot springs are a natural, sulphuric series of pools at a fork in the Kaitoke Creek. You’ll be treated to great wetland and mountain views, while soaking up the untouched natural atmosphere.
#5. Floating at Float Culture
Floating is the new swimming! At Float Culture you’ll find yourself lying in a super-saturated Epsom-salt solution about 30cm deep that prevents you from sinking. The salt-water solution is heated to skin temperature and relaxes the muscles in your body. It is known to be a mindful, meditative and peaceful experience. You will be immersed into a pod that blocks out all external distractions, de-stimulating the nervous system.
#6. Te Aroha Hot Springs
Located in good ol’ Waikato, Te Aroha’s hot springs are not to be missed. Make a day—or what the heck—even a weekend of it when you head down south.
Te Aroha has three options to get your natural mineral fix: splash around in Swim Zone’s freshwater leisure pools or relax in Te Aroha Mineral Spas, a luxury experience using aromatherapy and soothing oils. Or, if you don’t want to put your full body in, then just dip your feet into the Domain Foot Pool, set amongst the trees.
#7. Miranda Hot Springs
Just over an hour out of Auckland resides the Miranda Hot Springs—thermally heated fresh mineral water. Choose from three pools, including an adult-only sauna pool to sweat it out, or a children’s pool to drop the kids off.
#8. Opal Hot Springs
Another Waikato gem is Matamata’s Opal Hot Springs. This place includes a holiday park if you want to stay the night. To reap the benefits of a mineral spring you’ll need to head to their Ramaroa pool—a private outdoor mineral pool by the river which is surrounded by native ferns and bamboo.
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Image credit: Palm Springs