Sign Up for Our Monthly Explorer Newsletter
New Zealand is located in the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, meaning it’s a volcanically active country. That’s good news for travelers who enjoy hot spring baths in a stunning locale: Bathing at hot springs — some of which have bubbling mud pools, too — is a popular activity in the South Pacific nation.
Here’s how you can recommend the right hot spring experience — from the basic to the natural to the luxurious — for your clients.
For the Budget-Conscious: Ngawha Springs, NorthlandWhen visiting Ngawha Springs, clients should expect basic facilities, a cheap price and an overall good value. Several sulfurous pools of varying temperatures (including one suitable for babies and young children) are good for relaxation. For a self-directed spa treatment, clients can smear themselves with mineral-rich mud from the mud pools.
Ngawha Springs are run by local Maori people, so clients interested in learning more about the local culture can enjoy a chat with the manager.
These hot springs are located a few miles from the Northland town of Kaikohe, so they are an ideal stop for clients on a self-guided tour around Northland.
For Couples: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, Hammer SpringsWith private pool and sauna/steam room options, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa is a great spot for couples seeking some romantic soaking time. There are freshwater and sulfurous pools, as well as a luxurious spa. The sulfur pools are the hottest options, and they are all natural, with no added chlorine. In addition to offering an attractive setting, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa has a very high level of cleanliness and maintenance.
Hanmer Springs is a resort town in the Canterbury region on the South Island, a couple of hours’ drive north of Christchurch. As well as being a destination in itself, the town is located just inland from Kaikoura, a popular coastal whale-watching destination that clients should consider adding to their South Island itinerary.
For Families: Parakai Springs, ParakaiParakai Springs is a fun thermal water park for the whole family. There are two waterslides for the kids (and big kids, too), as well as indoor and outdoor pools, private Jacuzzis and a spa with beauty treatments for the parents who want a bit of time to themselves. Although it’s not evident today, these springs are very historic, with the first baths constructed here almost 140 years ago.
Parakai Springs is located less than an hour’s drive from Auckland, so it’s convenient for clients who want to get out into nature but perhaps don’t have the time to travel farther north to Northland. A visit to the springs can be combined with a trip to the rugged beaches of western Auckland and Kaipara Harbour. There’s a campsite beside the springs, too, for affordable family accommodations.
For Luxury Travelers: Onsen Hot Pools, Arthur’s Point (Queenstown Suburb)The resort town of Queenstown — situated on pretty Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by snowcapped peaks — is an integral part of most South Island itineraries. Luxury travelers should head to Onsen Hot Pools: These private, cedarwood hot tubs are situated on a cliff above the Shotover River canyon, offering impressive views down over the river and toward the mountains. The water comes from natural sources nearby.
Massages are available, and packages that include locally sourced refreshments can be purchased.
Bookings are necessary, as the pools are heated especially for customers. Each pool can accommodate up to four adults. Children under age 5 are not permitted in Onsen Hot Pools. Free transportation from central Queenstown is available.
For Nature Lovers: Hot Water Beach, CoromandelThermal pool experiences don’t get more natural than at Hot Water Beach, situated on the North Island’s Coromandel Peninsula. Advise clients to grab a shovel (or rent one at the beach); head down to the beach two hours before or after of low tide; and dig a pool in the sand. Hot water gushes up starting from a few inches beneath the ground — so the size and depth of their natural spa pool is up to clients.
Hot Water Beach is located in a beautiful part of New Zealand that is popular as a beach destination. It’s a few minutes by car from the not-to-be-missed Cathedral Cove. In addition to the appeal of the self-made hot pools, Hot Water Beach is a great swimming beach. While taking a dip in the sea is only advisable in the warmer summer months, enjoying the hot waters beneath the sand can be enjoyed year-round.