New Zealand is an absolute goldmine when it comes to amazing hot springs. For us, there is nothing quite like sitting out in the freezing cold, snow all around and basking in the warmth of these natural hot pools. There are some pretty awesome resorts out there; Hanmer Springs, Franz Josef Glacier Pools and the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua all spring to mind (see what we did there!) and these places are all worth a stop off for sure but what if we told you there are some amazing hot springs dotted around our beautiful country that are completely free to use? Sounds like a winner to us so here are 5 of the best free hot springs in New Zealand – you’re welcome!
1. The Bridge/Kerosene Creek – Rotorua
As you might imagine, Rotorua is a bit of a goldmine when it comes to natural hot springs. We’ve already talked about the amazing Polynesian Spa but if you are looking for something a little bit more ‘au naturel’ then The Bridge is a great spot. Located near Wai-O-Tapu thermal park, this thermal stream is a great spot to relax on the drive from Rotorua to Taupo.
Not far from The Bridge is Kerosene Creek, another popular spot with locals and tourists alike. This geothermally heated creek features a beautiful 2m high waterfall for bathers to sit under and wonder how they got so lucky!
2. Welcome Flat Hot Pools – near Fox Glacier
These hot pools are not for the feint hearted. They come at the end of a tricky and often dangerous hike but they are well worth it when you get there! Located on the Copland River near the Fox Glacier on the Wild West Coast of the South Island, it’s a seven hour walk to get here. Take the Copland Track into the heart of the Westland National Park and you will stumble across these remote pools which are overlooked by the snowcapped Southern Alps. We think it’s worth the hike!
If you want to find out more about the hike to the Welcome Flat Hot Pools then make sure you check out this awesome blog from Matt Burns and one of his awesome photos below:
3. Spa Park – Taupo
Located in New Zealand’s geothermal corridor, Taupo is also a great place to get involved in some free hot springs action. Spa Park is one of the best places to get stuck in. Sit back and soak away the cares of the day as you watch the crystal clear waters of the Waikato River racing by. Located near the Taupo bungy site, the spa is a popular spot with locals and tourists and no matter what time of year you visit, the pools are guaranteed to ease your weary bones!
Winter is one of our favourite times to visit the Spa Park. Whether it’s relaxing under one of the mini waterfalls or daring yourself to dip a toe in the freezing waters of the Waikato River it’s such a beautiful time of year to visit.
4. Kaitoke Hot Springs – Great Barrier Island, Auckland
Whilst this one may be up near Auckland, Kaitoke Hot Springs on Great Barrier Island are still off the beaten track. Take a ferry or a plane across to the stunning Great Barrier Island and take the popular walking track from Whangaparaoa Road and you will end up at the Kaitoke stream. Here you will find four natural hot pools where you will often be able to kick back and relax in the peace of quiet that is found on the island. Great Barrier Island is such a great day trip from Auckland and winter is a great time to visit when it tends to be a bit quieter so don’t forget to pack your togs!
5. Hot Water Beach – Coromandel
Perhaps the most famous of New Zealand’s natural hot springs, Hot Water Beach located on the Coromandel Peninsula is an awesome place to sit back and relax in the warming waters of your own personal hot tub. The beauty of these pools is that you have to earn your relaxation. As the tide goes out, get your spade out and start digging. You will soon hit the geothermal waters and your own personal pool will start to fill with the warming waters. It can get a bit nippy in the winter months so have some warm clothes ready for when you get out of the water but there is something pretty awesome about sitting on the beach in your togs in the middle of winter!
So there you have it – our top 5 New Zealand Hot Springs which will make you forget that’s it’s freezing cold outside! There are heaps more all around New Zealand but if you have any hidden gems, we’d love to hear about them. Make sure you drop us a line on our Facebook page or the comments below so we can share them with our GO Explorers!