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The best hot pools in Rotorua – 6 soaking opportunities

Join us as we share the very best hot pools in Rotorua. In a region blessed by geothermal activity, a visit to one of these world-class pools is an absolute must-do.

A soak in a hot pool is the perfect way to relax.

Whether you’re seeking to ease aching muscles, destress after a busy week or simply wanting to unwind in a beautiful setting, these pools are just the ticket.

All of the Rotorua hot pools listed are suitable for a wide range of visitors – families, couples, friends and solo travellers – they’re designed to suit everyone.

Enjoy checking out these gorgeous hot water pools!

A woman standing on the steaming waters of Polynesian Spa.
Polynesian Spa – one of the best hot pools in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Everything You Need to Know About Hot Water Pools in New Zealand

Why does New Zealand have Natural Mineral Hot Pools?

Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, there is a great deal of tectonic activity throughout the country. Some cities are geothermally very active – like Rotorua, where the crust of the earth is significantly thinner than in other parts of the world.

Other parts of the country experience the odd earthquake (Wellington, for example) or have a number of volcanoes (Auckland).

Right across the country though, it is possible to find natural hot springs.

In areas where the crust is thin, the mantle sits closer to the earth. There, water under the surface of the crust is warmed before making its way to the surface. When this hot water is combined with cool water, the result is a natural hot spring – that water is then able to be enjoyed in hot pools.

Other natural hot springs are formed when volcanic underground water reservoirs heat the water within them. Again, this water makes its way to the surface, ready for us to enjoy.

However the water is heated, these natural hot-water sources are known to contain a wide range of naturally occurring minerals. This water is known for its health benefits.

What is the Difference Between a Fresh Water Hot Pool and A Mineral Water Hot Pool?

Natural hot springs are warmed using geothermal energy from inside the Earth. This water is hot, without any need for human intervention.

By comparison, the water in hot pools is heated manually. Without human intervention, this water would be cold.

All of the Rotorua hot pools mentioned in this article offer the benefits that come with hot water (including relaxation and the release of muscle tension). Some also offer benefits that come with mineral water.

Regardless, both make for an awesome day out!

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Tourists waddling in the pools of Waikite Valley with a wooden fence near a cliff.
The Waikite Valley Thermal Pools.

How is the Hot Water Kept Safe for Swimmers?

To ensure the water in commercial hot pools and hot springs is kept safe for swimmers, a number of different strategies are used.

Some pools choose to add chlorine or salt to prevent the spread of bugs, whilst others have filtration and sanitisation systems in place.

Regardless, you can be sure that you’re bathing in comfort and safety.

The Best Hot Pools Rotorua Has on Offer

Fresh Water Hot Pools

1. Secret Spot Hot Tubs

Conveniently located close to town (and right beside Rotorua’s famous mountain biking tracks), Secret Spot Hot Tubs is the perfect place to relax after a busy day of adventure.

The beautiful cedar tubs at Secret Spot are connected by a series of wooden walkways. Each is shrouded in privacy thanks to the masses of native planting that the team undertook. The result is a haven of relaxation that is especially stunning at night (when the lights are turned on and forest comes to life).

Each tub is filled with fresh water, taken directly from a local river. This water is heated in an environmentally-responsible manner, providing bathers with a toasty private pool in which to soak.

As if this wasn’t all relaxing enough, it gets better!

The team at Secret Spot will personally deliver a wide range of drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) straight to your tub – just ring the buzzer on your pool for bar service with a smile.

Visit: 13/33 Waipa State Mill Road, Whakarewarewa, Rotorua 3073

Phone: 07 348 4442

Did you know? Even if you’re not planning to take a dip at Secret Spot, you can pay them a visit and hop in the Shinny Dip free of charge! These awesome mini pools are designed to warm your legs up whilst you sit back and enjoy a drink or bite to eat.

A family enjoying the dip outdoor while inside a barrel-like bath tub.
Photo credit: Rotorua NZ.

Natural Mineral Hot Water

2. Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa

Hell’s Gate is a varied (and fabulous) geothermal park just outside of Rotorua.

Not only is it home to a fantastic geothermal nature park (which we recommend you explore via guided tour), but it also has a fantastic spa.

Hell’s Gate is unique from the other facilities on this list as not only does it feature a collection of mineral pools, but it also has a mud bath!

Soak in Rotorua’s relaxing geothermal mineral waters, whilst encasing yourself in silky mud. This mud has fantastic calming properties for your skin and feels incredibly luxurious.

Once you’re ready to hop out of the mud bath, exfoliate and cleanse your skin in their sulphur spas. These pools are the perfect spot to relax and melt away the stress of the week.

Finally (for the brave), there’s also a cool plunge pool!

Visit: State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua 3010

Phone: 07 345 3151

A couple painting mud on their bodies while enjoying the hot springs in the Bay of Plenty.
Photo: Graeme Murray.

3. Polynesian Spa

Perhaps the most famous of all Rotorua hot pools, Polynesian Spa is New Zealand’s original geothermal bathing experience.

Perched right on the side of Lake Rotorua (which is one of the largest lakes in New Zealand), these pools provide the whole whānau exclusive access to both acidic and alkaline natural mineral springs.

The Polynesian Spa is made up of a wide assortment of pools – some of which are designed to be adults-only, others which are family friendly – in all there are 28 of them!

Choose from the pavilion pools, lake view private pools, deluxe lake spa, sky view private pools and family pools (which come complete with a slide). With beautiful views, this conveniently located facility ticks all the boxes.

In addition, you’re able to book in for a massage or spa treatment, providing the ultimate in relaxation.

Visit: 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua 3010

Phone: 07 348 1328

Tourists enjoying the Hot Mineral Bathing of Pavilion Pools.

4. Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa

Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa is the newest hot pool complex in Rotorua – and it’s a beauty!

Owned and operated by local Māori, Wai Ariki is pure relaxation and luxury.

Book a massage or spa treatment, or soak in the communal mineral water pools.

Whatever you choose, you’re sure to leave rejuvenated.

Visit: 1047 Whakaue Street, Rotorua 3010

Phone: 07 349 7111

Sunrise over Lake Rotorua, looking the the pools at Wai Ariki.
Photo: Wai Ariki Hot Springs & Spa.

5. Manupirua Springs Hot Pools – Lake Rotoiti

The Lake Rotoiti hot pools aren’t easily accessible, but they are worth the effort to get to. If anything, this makes the trip even more memorable.

Bathers make their way to the pools via either air or water before relaxing in geothermal waters, lakeside.

If you find yourself getting a bit too warm, there’s even a waterslide that dunks swimmers into the lake!

Though the pools are a little trip out of town, you’ll have everything you need thanks to their fully licensed cafe (which sells great food, along with a range of wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks). In addition, picnics are welcome and BBQs are available to guests too.

Whether you choose to fly (by floatplane) or jump on board a boat to get to the Manupirua Springs Hot Pools, we recommend including a stop at these beautiful pools in your Rotorua itinerary.

Why not make a day of your visit?

Phone: 0800 768 6484

Tourists dipping on the steaming waters of Rotoiti Hot Springs.

6. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

The Waikite Valley Thermal pools are fed from the Te Manaroa Spring. This is the largest single source of pure boiling water in the whole country.

There, pure spring water cascades into six different pools, all in a stunning natural setting. The temperate of the pools range between 35 and 40°C.

If you’re looking for a touch of luxury, we recommend booking a private spa. You’l be surrounded by native bush and will enjoy looking out to the geothermal valley – all in your own individual temperature-controlled pool.

Before leaving the pools, be sure to make the short journey along the Te Manaroa Spring Eco-Trail. This family-friendly bushwalk leads guests to the source of the geothermal waters.

Visit: 648 Waikite Valley Road, Waikite Valley 3077

Phone: 07 333 1861

A family enjoying the hot pools of Waikite valley.

Have a great time checking out these hot pools in Rotorua on your next visit!

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