New Zealand truly is an amazing spot for hot springs due to a mass amount of volcanic activity, especially in the Taupo and Rotorua regions. The geothermal energy radiating from these places often make for the best sightseeing and relaxation spots. There’s something about visiting a natural geothermal area that leaves you feeling cleansed, refreshed and connected to the earth again. Whether it’s witnessing the healing mineral waters, steaming blue and orange waters, exploding geysers, or boiling hot mud pools, it’s pretty marvellous.
Take some time for some well-deserved R&R at some of the best geothermal places in New Zealand.
Craters Of The Moon
Craters of the Moon is just north of Taupo, and is a bubbling delight of steaming craters and vents. The area is naturally high in geothermal energy but with a recent addition of a power station, the natural gas is now contained and levels have been lowered, making it available for the public to wander through. The two tracks are approximately an hour’s walk, with one taking you through the flat lands between the craters, and the longer track taking you to the peak of the craters—the view well worth the few extra steps.
Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland has been bubbling for thousands of years. Originating from volcanic land, the spectacular showcase is known for its unique varieties of natural landscapes. The main attraction is The Lady Knox geyser, which erupts 10-20 metres every morning. Sit in the natural amphitheatre and watch Mother Nature at her finest. Surrounding the geyser is the geothermal park and mud pools. The colourful waters and rising steam extend over 18-square kilometres, making it one of the most extensive geothermal areas in New Zealand to explore.
Orakei Korako Cave & Thermal Park
Also called The Hidden Valley, Orakei Korako is home to the most active geysers in the country as well as some of the largest silica terraces in the world. It is also home to the only geothermal cave left in New Zealand—the Ruatapu Cave. It is a phenomenal 35 metres of geothermal energy, ending with the crystal clear Pool of Mirrors at its base. The vibrant blue and orange waters, bubbling mud pools and layers of steam are just waiting to be explored.
Waimangu Volcanic Valley
The world’s youngest geothermal area, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, was created from a volcanic explosion in 1886. Nowadays, it boasts having the largest natural hot spring, Frying Pan Lake, with its turquoise coloured water and soothing nature. Take a self-guided walk around the great lakes and up to the top of Mt Haszard’s crater, followed by a boat cruise over Lake Rotomahana with sites of the world famous pink and white terraces of Mount Tarawera, considered the eighth wonder of the world.
The Lost Spring
Cocktails in a natural hot spring pool? Life couldn’t get any better. Hidden in the Coromandel, emerge from native bush to rising steam that leads to warm, luxurious pools. Here, the 16,000-year-old mineral water comes from springs more than 600 metres underground, emerging from a small crack in the bedrock. Considered such a delicate and rare spot, the springs were untouched for generations before they were rediscovered in 1989 by Alan Hopping and transformed into a luxurious venue. Literally paradise, The Lost Spring has a licensed bar, day spa, restaurant, and the natural springs all available and open to the public.
For a guranteed geyser show, Pohutu Geyser at Te Puia is the largest, and most reliable geyser in the southern hemisphere. The geyser erupts at least 20 times a day, with eruptions lasting anywhere between a couple of minutes and a couple of days. Te Puia is also home to 500 other geothermal phenomenon including boiling hot pools, bubbling mud, and other geysers, as well as Kiwi habitats to house, feed, and generally look after our native bird. Geyser and Kiwi tours are available throughout the day and into the early evening.
The mud and silica waters found in at the Wairakei Terraces have been used for healing purposes by Maori since their discovery hundreds of years ago. The minerals in the pools encourage relaxation and rejuvenation, with some people believing the minerals are particularly healing for people with skin diseases and arthritic and rheumatic ailments. Wairakei Terraces has striking blue therapeutic pools to rest and recover in, as well as self-guided tours around the hissing geysers. There is a human-made geyser, fed by superheated fluids from depths of more than one-and-a-half kilometres with pressures of 250 thousand pounds per square inch. Watch as the water flows into the sparkling blue pools before cascading over the terraces, depositing silica to form phenomenal terraces.
While you're at it, check out New Zealand's most stunning lakes.
Image Credit: The Lost Spring, Craters Of The Moon, Orakei Korako, Te Puia