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5 Best Natural Hot Springs and Pools in New Zealand

Using your lockdown days to plan a trip to New Zealand’s lush terrains? Then get ready to unwind and relax at these natural health spas!

The borders do have their moods, but New Zealand is still our best and safest bet for any international travel we’re planning to go on now or in the near future. And given the dreary winter days we’ve had to spend at home watching raindrops trickle down our windows with our coffees in hand, it’s no wonder that many of us dream of floating in 38-degree waters a few thousand kilometres away.

Faster than you can say ‘Kia Ora’, sip on that cuppa and wind down with a read of the five best natural hot springs and hot pools in New Zealand of 2021.

Onsen Hot Pools

Queenstown is renowned for being the world’s adventure capital, but a mere 10-minute drive from its centre lies the city’s antidote to skyrocketing levels of adrenaline: Onsen Hot Pools. Situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Shotover River Canyon, Onsen’s Japanese-inspired cedar tubs allow you to soak up the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding alpines and are the best vantage point to watch the jet boats on the river below. The tubs are heated to approximately 38.5 degrees, and each session allows for up to 60 minutes of relaxation complimented with a free drink and snack. Capturing pure water from the surrounding mountains, they’re hot and steamy on snowy days, warm on rainy days, whilst cool and shady during summer – making them a perfect pitstop for visitors year-round.


Onsen Hot Pools | 162 Arthurs Point Rd, Arthurs Point, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand


Polynesian Spa

Often recognised as one of the top 10 health spas in the world, New Zealand’s very own Polynesian Spa is a luxurious retreat on the tranquil shores of North Island’s Lake Rotorua. All 28 hot pools give visitors exclusive access to both acidic and alkaline mineral waters, with the acidic springs said to relieve tired muscles, aches and pains; and the alkaline springs renowned for properties that nourish the skin. Simply bask in the wellness sourced from Rotorua’s very own backyard, or rejuvenate with a selection of your choice from their decadent spa menu of therapies infused with ancient healing practices – you’ll be leaving anew either way.


Polynesian Spa | 1000 Hinemoa St, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand


Hanmer Springs

Less than a two-hour drive from Christchurch is a relaxing destination where the sound of water fuses with the chirps of bellbirds nestled in native kōwhai gardens. You can soak your worries away at its private thermal pools, explore the health spa, let off some steam at the saunas or take things up a notch on New Zealand’s largest aquatic thrill ride. Also featuring a large children’s activities area and an onsite cafe offering a delectable casual dining menu (including fresh pizza baked in a gas-fire oven right in front of you), Hanmer Springs has something to offer for solo travellers, couples and families alike.


Hanmer Springs | 42 Amuri Ave, Hanmer Springs 7334, New Zealand


Tekapo Springs

Located in the charming Lake Tekapo and surrounded by mountains at the heart of New Zealand’s South Island is a haven for families seeking the perfect blend of excitement and relaxation. One of the best family-friendly hot pools in New Zealand, here you can pretend you’re on Survivor with its giant inflatable obstacle course including a plunging 150-metre waterslide, an ice skating rink to test your skills or soft pillowy slopes to ride down all before sunset. Once the kids are safely tucked in, join New Zealand’s adults-only guided hot pools and stargazing experience: as you lay on a floating hammock in Tekapo Springs’ soul-warming waters, soak in the stars of Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, and listen to stories of New Zealand legends.


Tekapo Springs | 6 Lakeside Dr, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand


The Lost Spring

Hidden in the scenic folds of Coromandel Peninsula only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Auckland, The Lost Spring is a lush jungle-like setting speckled with hot pools filled with 16,000 year-old geothermal mineral water. One of the best natural hot springs in New Zealand, guests can marvel at crystals and stalactites as they swim through an amethyst cave, or luxuriate in the revitalising waters of the thermal pools with the option of having drinks and grazing platters delivered right to the poolside. Retreat from the stresses of the everyday in an island-style tree-top day spa, or celebrate a loved one’s special day by choosing from The Lost Spring’s wide range of packages, including one created just for mums-to-be!


The Lost Spring | 121A Cook Dr, Whitianga 3510, New Zealand


If you’re eager to get off the beaten track, find out the 10 lesser known New Zealand destinations you can visit in 2021, or if you want to do some armchair travelling in the meantime, we’ve also found a way you can experience New Zealand without leaving your home!

Feature Image: Photographed by Naruedom Yaempongsa. Image via Shutterstock.
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