Discover the best naturally-fed hot springs in New Zealand. From untouched natural streams to beautifully constructed resort-style facilities, each of these springs have one thing in common – incredible, naturally-hot mineral water.
New Zealand is fortunate to have many hot springs scattered across the country.
With mineral-rich, soothing waters, bathing in these pools is said to be more than just relaxing. Indeed, they come with a range of health benefits also.
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Why Does New Zealand Have Natural Hot Springs?
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.
Right across the country though, it is possible to find natural hot springs.
In areas where the crust is thin, the mantle sits much closer to the earth. Here, water under the surface of the crust is warmed before making its way to the surface in the form of hot water. When this is combined with cool water, the result is a natural hot spring.
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.
Regardless of the manner in which 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.
Unmissable Hot Springs in New Zealand
In order of north to south, these are 13 of the very best hot springs in New Zealand
1. Te Waiariki Ngawha Hot Springs – Kaikohe, Northland
Each of these pools caters to a different physical need – from chest congestion and skin ailments to the treatment of burns. It is said that hese pools help practically every complaint.
They also offer the option to bathe publicly or privately, all at fairly affordable prices.
Recently renovated by local iwi, you’ll be amongst the lucky first visitors to the new complex too. This really is a beautiful and spiritual experience – as is done best in Northland.
Visit: 283 Ngawha Springs Rd, Kaikohe
2. Kaitoke Hot Springs, Great Barrier Island
Easily accessible, the Kaitoke Hot Springs, which are located on Great Barrier Island are the first of the completely natural hot springs on this list.
Whether you’re planning to take on the Aotea Track in full (which means spending a number of days hiking), or just want a short talk, the Kaitoke Hot Springs should be on your agenda whilst visiting the Barrier.
Walking from Whangaparapara Road, the track takes approximately 45-minutes to complete (one way) and is even pushchair friendly which means you can easily take even the smallest of kids! As you wander, you’ll enjoy local wetlands, a kānuka forest, orchids and umbrella ferns.
Upon arrival, you’ll notice a dammed hot pool at a fork in the Kaitoke Creek; this is where you can jump in for a swim.
With warm water and a stunning outlook, the Kaitoke Hot Springs are a real slice of Kiwi paradise!
Why not take a picnic lunch and make the most of a beautiful day out in Mother Nature?
Visit: Kaitoke Hot Springs Track, Great Barrier Island.
3. Hot Water Beach – Hot Water Beach, Coromandel
A real Kiwi treasure, Hot Water Beach is the perfect place to take visitors from abroad.
Free to access, it’s simply a matter of turning up to Hot Water Beach on either side of low-tide and digging a hole.
Natural hot water will flow through the sand, providing you with the perfect place to relax for a few hours. Take a pew with your newfound friends and enjoy paradise!
To ensure your freshly-dug spa won’t be washed away in a hurry, we suggest heading there within 2 hours of low tide.
It’s such a unique experience and one that everyone in New Zealand should experience at least once!
Related: 15 of the best Coromandel beaches.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got one at home, we suggest taking your spade with you. If not, there are some available to rent at the beach. We also suggest packing a picnic and really making a day of it. Don’t forget your sun protection too!
4. The Lost Spring – Whitianga, Coromandel
One of New Zealand’s premium natural hot pools, The Lost Spring is a paradise for adults looking to unwind in the Coromandel.
With a range of pools, heated to between 32°C to 41°C, it’s easy to find your ideal temperature. As their pools are no deeper than chest height, there’s no serious swimming to be hard; this is a place to relax.
With healing water and an incredible setting, it’s impossible to do anything but relax! Add a spa treatment and a few cocktails into the mix and you’re in for a treat.
The water itself rises from 667m below the earth’s surface. Having spent 16,000 years underground, it emerges pristine and beautifully warm – ready for you to enjoy.
Once considered lost, the spring itself was rediscovered in 1989. It now welcomes guests from all around New Zealand and the world.
It really is the perfect adult’s only retreat.
Visit: 121A Cook Drive, Coromandel Peninsula, Whitianga 3510
Related: The best things to do in the Coromandel.
5. Polynesian Spa – Rotorua
Perhaps the most famous of all Rotorua hot pools, Polynesian Spa is New Zealand’s original geothermal bathing experience.
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
6. Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa – Rotorua
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 hot spring 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!
7. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools – Rotorua
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 temperature 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’ll 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
Book: Tickets to the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. Save 10% with promo code NZTTPLAY.
Related: The best hot pools in Rotorua.
8. Kerosene Creek – Rotorua
Just out of Rotorua you’ll findKerosene Creek, a natural hot-water waterfall and swimming hole. Once in the water, it’s possible to lean back and enjoy the massaging power of the hot-water waterfall on your back.
Access is free of charge, making this a fantastic Kiwi spot to take visitors. Though facilities are limited, the feeling of untouched beauty is what makes this place so special.
Don’t go expecting to have it to yourself though! Once you arrive, you’ll see why this is a favourite spot in Rotorua, for both locals and tourists.
This is one of the few completely natural hot springs on this list!
Visit: Old Waiotapu Road, Waiotapu 3073
9. Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs – Taupo
Taupo DeBretts is a real family favourite.
There, you’ll find a number of hydro-slides and kids pool, alongside stunning adults pools.
Located at the bottom of a private valley, this is a magical place to spend an evening. They even have a little tram that you can catch down or up, should you prefer not to walk.
Be warned; you probably won’t want to leave so we suggest staying the night at their Taupō campsite.
Visit: 76 Napier-Taupo Road, State Highway 5, Taupō 3330
Related: Free things to do in Taupo.
10. Wairakei Terraces – Taupo
Located at the bottom of silica terraces, a visit to theWairakei Terraces feels like a step back in time (albeit a luxurious one).
These pools draw their healing properties from silica terraces and geothermal water that flows from an incredible 1.5 kilometres underground. This results in a great combination of geothermal and mineral water – perfect for relaxation and healing.
The silky-smooth water you’ll experience at Wairakei is unbeatable!
Visit: State Highway 1, Wairakei, Taupō 3377
Related: The best things to do in Taupō.
11. Otumuheke Stream, Spa Thermal Park, Taupo
The Otumuheke Stream is a historical bathing and meeting place for local Māori people, and now is also enjoyed by visitors.
A two-hour return walk, you will want to allow a fair bit of time to get there and back. It’s definitely worth the effort though!
The stream itself is a natural swimming spot that is well-frequented by locals and in-the-know travellers.
Visit: 281 Spa Road, Tauhara, Taupō 3378
12. Maruia Hot Springs – Lewis Pass
Tucked in amongst the snow-capped Southern Alps on the picturesque Lewis Pass national reserve, the Maruia Hot Springs are as close to perfection as hot pools come.
Instantly feel connected to the mountainous landscape and nature surrounding you whilst you relax in natural geothermal mineral waters. There’s also an opportunity to nourish your soul with organic food and relax your body and mind in their daily wellness classes.
This award-winning natural hot spring complex is modelled after a traditional Japanese onsen. It features a wide range of bathing options including private pools (for up to 5 people), indoor and outdoor pools (which fit beautifully into the natural environment), thermal showers, saunas and steam room. They also have a cold plunge pool and a fabulous thermal foot bath.
To really make the most of the Maruia Hot Springs we recommend you treat yourself to their ‘day retreat’ package. This includes daily yoga and wellness classes and access to all of their amazing facilities (amongst additional inclusions).
Visit: State Highway 7, Lewis Pass 7895
13. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa – Canterbury
With something for the whole whānau, Hanmer Springs is unrivalled in the South Island!
Hanmer Thermal Pools are great fun for adult and kids alike. There are adult-only pools for those that like a moment or three to themselves. And for the more adventurous – I dare you all to ride Conical Thrill – it’s a completely crazy ride that needs to be on everyone’s must-do list!Mandy – New Zealand Travel Tips member
The most famous complex in this list, Hanmer Springs has attracted travellers and locals alike since it was first found in 1859. Over time, the pools have been developed and improved, resulting in the world-class complex that exists today.
On-site you’ll find a number of incredible hydro-slides (including Conical Thrill and the SuperBowl), along with a wide range of kids and adults-only pools. These pools vary in temperature and are each clearly marked. This makes it easy to find the perfect bathing solution for your needs.
This vast complex of natural springs and man-made adventure is easily accessed from Christchurch, making it perfect for a long weekend getaway (should you be lucky enough to live in the Garden City).
Visit: 42 Amuri Avenue, Hanmer Springs 7334
New Zealand is blessed with so many amazing natural hot springs – which will you visit next?