When it comes to incredible hot springs, New Zealand is a veritable gold mine. Nothing beats sitting outside in the frigid cold, snow falling all around, and soaking in the comfort of these naturally heated pools. There are several incredible resorts out there; Hanmer Springs, Franz Josef Glacier Pools, and the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua are all springtime experiences to remember.
And while they are certainly worth a visit, what if we told you there are some incredible hot springs strewn throughout our beautiful nation that are entirely free to use? These are our picks for the top five free hot springs in New Zealand – enjoy!
THE BRIDGE/KEROSENE CREEK – ROTORUA
As you might expect, Rotorua is a gold mine for natural hot springs. We’ve already mentioned the amazing Polynesian Spa, but if you’re seeking for something a little more ‘natural,’ The Bridge is a great option. This hot spring, located in Wai-O-Tapu Hot Springs Park, is a fantastic stop to relax on the road from Rotorua to Taupo.
Kerosene Creek, not far from The Bridge, is another favorite destination for both locals and tourists. This geothermally heated creek features a stunning 2m high waterfall where bathers can sit and marvel at their good fortune!
FLAT HOT POOLS NEAR FOX GLACIER WELCOME
These heated pools are not for the timid. They are at the end of a difficult and frequently perilous walk, but they are well worth the effort! It’s a seven-hour hike down the Copland River near Fox Glacier on the South Island’s Wild West Coast. Follow the Copland Trail into Westland National Park to see these secluded ponds with views of the snow-capped Southern Alps.
We believe the effort is worthwhile! There is one, but it is just adjacent to the pools, so don’t worry about walking there and back in one day! The night sky is very spectacular here, and in November, you can sit in the pool and watch the snow fall on the surrounding mountains.
GREAT BARRIER ISLAND, AUCKLAND – KAITOKE HOT SPRINGS
While this one is close to Auckland, Kaitoke Hot Springs on Great Barrier Island is still in the works. Take the ferry or plane to the beautiful Great Barrier Island and follow the famous walking path from Whangaparaoa Road to Kaitoke Stream.
There are four naturally heated pools here where you may generally rest and unwind in the island’s natural tranquillity. Terrific Barrier Island is a great day trip from Auckland, and winter is a great season to visit because it is quieter, so bring your bags!
TAUPO SPA PARK
Taupo, located in New Zealand’s geothermal region, is also an excellent location for free hot spring activities. Spa Park is one of the best places for you to take part. Sit back and unwind for the day as you gaze out into the pristine waters of the Waikato River. The spa, located near the Taupo lodge, is a favorite place for locals and tourists alike, and the pools are guaranteed to ease your exhaustion no matter what time of year you visit!
One of our favorite times to visit Spa Park is during the winter. It’s a great time of year to visit, whether you’re relaxing under one of the little waterfalls or daring to swim in the frozen waters of the Waikato River.
COROMANDEL HOT WATER BEACH
Hot Springs Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, perhaps the most famous of New Zealand’s natural hot springs, is a perfect location to lay back and relax in the warm waters of your personal hot tub. You alone. The appeal of these pools is that you must work for your rest. Take out your spade and start digging when the tide goes out.
Soon, you’ll be touching geothermal waters, and your personal pool will fill with warm water. It can become fairly hot in the winter months, so bring some warm clothes with you when you get out of the water, but there is something very remarkable about lounging on the beach in your clothes in the midst of winter!
That’s it – our Top 5 Hot Springs in New Zealand will help you forget about the bitter winter outdoors!