Local Escapes

The Best Hot Pools In New Zealand For You To Bliss Out At

By Alice Rich
5th Jul 2021

Two people soak in a hot tub amongst greenery.

Given Aotearoa is perched on the Pacific Ring Of Fire it's no wonder we love our hot water. And while we're blessed to have so many stunning natural hot springs, we couldn't help but create a whole lot more—cue the man-made hot pool. 

From public pools to romantic tubs there are almost endless opportunities to have a good soak, wherever you happen to be in New Zealand. We've rounded up the very best so you can hop to it and immerse yourself in the good times. 

Here's where to find the best hot pools in Aotearoa. 

Waiho Hot Tubs

FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

Wooed by the idea of a wood-fired hot tub? You’re in luck. Thanks to Waiho Hot Tubs you can book a private, wood-fired hot tub in a beautiful natural wilderness, living your good life in the smoky waters of the Waiho River. It's said the river was formed from frozen tears, cried by Hinehukatere when she witnessed her beloved fall to his death while mountain-climbing. 

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools

HANMER SPRINGS

With more than 15 outdoor pools, spas and waterslides on offer, Hanmer Springs is New Zealand's largest thermal hot pool. You'll find this picturesque spot just 90-minutes from Christchurch, tucked away in the South Island high country. Prepare to relax because the benefits of natural mineral waters and crisp Southern air are at your fingertips and a slew of spa treatments are available. However, if you're a big kid at heart, take to the waterslides and put your adrenaline to the test.

Two people look over the scenery at Onsen Hot Pools in Queenstown.Onsen Hot Pools

QUEENSTOWN

Overlooking the Shotover River alongside spectacular alpine views, Onsen Hot Pools is the perfect break from the action-packed thriller that is Queenstown. Incredibly beautiful, luxurious and romantic—enjoy a private cedar-lined hot pool, featuring retracting picture windows designed to transcend your setting from indoors to outdoors, at the touch of a single button. Most popular during the day and at sunset, Onsen Hot Pools also offer packages from the likes of aromatherapy burners to complimentary glasses of bubbly—adding a lil’ extra to an already promising experience.

The Tepid Baths

AUCKLAND

Built over 100 years ago and refurbished in 2012, ‘The Teps’ is the most historic hot pool in Tāmaki Makaurau. Despite its name, it has two pools, a hot pool, a steam room and a sauna. Plus, a water wheelchair is available for those with accessibility needs. 

Fernland Spa 

TAURANGA

Splash around in the main thermal pool or pop into a private open roof ‘bubbly pool’ for pure indulgence. Want to make a week of it? You can—Fernland Spa has camping and other accommodation on-site, plus massages, a gentle water exercise class on Wednesdays and easy access to walking and cycling trails. 

The Polynesian Spa in Rotorua, one of the best natural hot pools in New Zealand. This image shows a pool surrounded by rocks.Polynesian Spa

ROTORUA

Rotorua is truly a geothermal wonderland, and The Polynesian Spa is just another reason why. One of the best hot pools in New Zealand, if you're wanting to elevate your hot pool experience a visit to this spa is a must. With two hot springs feeding a mind-boggling 28 mineral pools all you'll be required to do is sit back, relax and let the calming waters soothe your soul.

Tekapo Springs

LAKE TEKAPO

Soak in the stars from a floating hammock with the Tekapo Star Gazing guided tour. Combining floating front row seats to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve with a 37.5-degree hot pool this is an out-of-this-world experience. Fun fact: the mineral waters are drawn from an underground alpine spring two kilometres west of Tekapo, and heated using two sustainable heat transfer systems.  

Mangatutu Hot Springs

HAWKE'S BAY

Just a ninety-minute drive from Napier township is Kaweka Forest Park. Follow the track down the cliff and you’ll find the Mangatutu Hot Springs—man-made tiered pools fed by thermal springs overlooking the river-a perfect spot for a soak. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a deer. 

Mangatainoka Hot Springs 

HAWKE'S BAY

Just 100m up the road and a four-hour tramp from Mangatutu are the Mangatainoka Hot Springs—two small fibreglass baths surrounded by decking. These may be a quaint pair, but come nightfall it’s a great spot for star-gazing and spotting glow worms. 

The hot tubs at Omarama all prepared for your visit.Hot Tubs Omarama

OMARAMA

Slip into a blissfully hot—or cool in summer—tub at Hot Tubs Omarama and prepare to be swept away by the pure beauty of the upper Waitaki/Mackenzie Country scenery before you. Filled with pure mountain water just for you—and with no chemicals added—relax in the knowledge that even after you've finished bathing, the water you have used will be funnelled away to further irrigate the land. Now that's sustainability at its finest. Linger awhile in the region with these rad accommodation options.

Manupirua Springs Hot Pools

LAKE ROTOITI

Eight mineral hot pools perch on the edge of Lake Rotoiti, accessible only by sea or air. Legend has it the Manupirua Springs Hot Pools were made warm by two sisters, Kuwaiti and Haungaroa, who were on a quest to save their brother from freezing to death on Mt Tongariro. Once you’re ready for a refresh you can take a slide—no joke—into the refreshing waters of Lake Rotoiti. 

Secret Spot 

WAIPA VALLEY

Maybe you’ve just done your dash on a mountain bike track or you’re in the mood for some R 'n’ R. Whatever the reason, Secret Spot is the place for you. Unwind among the tree ferns, soaking in your very own red cedar hot tub, craft bevvy of choice in hand. Wishing you’d brought your togs? They’ve got you—Secret Spot offers towel and swimwear hire. Choice. 

The lost spring in Whitianga.The Lost Spring

WHITIANGA

For a whimsical hot water experience, head to The Lost Spring and soak in mineral waters—that reach up to 41 degrees in some pools—from a 16,000-year-old spring located 667 metres below ground. Complete with a tree-top day spa, restaurant, poolside service, a crystal cave and native bush surrounds this is one magical place. 

Te Aroha Mineral Spas

TE AROHA

Te Aroha’s silky mineral water has been celebrated for its healing properties since the 1800s. Located at the foot of Mount Te Aroha you’ll relax in a private wooden tub, adjusting the temperature to your liking. Pair with a massage or beauty treatment for ultimate relaxation or, if you’re in the mood for romance, you can upgrade to a candlelit spa complete with NZ-made chocolates and a teddy or rose. 

He Puna Taimoana 

CHRISTCHURCH 

Sitting on the edge of New Brighton Bridge He Puna Taimoana is a 2020-new set of hot saltwater pools, complete with a 2m deep plunge pool, steam room, sauna, cafe and heated changing rooms. That’s right: heated. The luxury. 

Opal Hot Springs

MATAMATA

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. 

Immerse yourself in New Zealand's natural beauty with the best hot springs in the country.

Image credit: Waiho Hot Tubs by Tourism NZ, Onsen Hot Pools by Queenstown NZ, Polynesian Spa, Hot Tubs Omarama, The Lost Spring.

Editor's note: Urban List editors independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. Urban List has affiliate partnerships, so we get revenue from your purchase

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like