Hot Pots, Hot Pools, Hot Springs? Free is something a lot of people can get behind, soaking in warm water is another. Situated on the Ring of Fire between the Indo-Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate, New Zealand has a ton of geothermal activity. One hotspot in particular between Rotorua and Lake Tapo has a ton of springs.
1. Spa Park
Lake Taupo has a number of great offerings, one of the most notable being its many geothermal features. The Otumuheke Stream (hot river) winds its way down a waterfall into a series of small pools before flowing into the Waikato river. At approximately 41 degrees, the pools are a nice place for a relaxing soak before meandering out to the river to cool down.
2. Hot and Cold / Wai – O – Tapu
About 30km (SH5) south of Rotorua is the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. On the same road is the literal local hotspot – Hot and Cold. The names comes from the confluence between hot and cold streams. The area was a local secret until it was picked-up by some local travel guides, and as a result Department of Conservation and the local iwi (Ngati Tahu/Ngati Whaoa) have picked up the area and installed some stairs and a boardwalk to maintain the local flora.
3. Keroseen Creek
Do you like waterfalls? What about hot waterfalls? Keroseen Creek has this and more along a short 500m walk following the streamy creek into beautiful native bush. The area can get quite busy in the evenings and on the weekends, but there’s plenty of space to spread out to find your little piece of zen.
4. The “Squeeze”
Definitely the most adventurous hot pool on this list, the Squeeze is only accessible by boat from the Waikato River just upstream of Orakei Korako. The Akatarewa stream outlet can be hard to find at times, so guided Jet Boat and Kayak Tours are the primary way that most people experience the springs. The hot pool is just a 10 minute walk upstream through a chasm known as “The Squeeze.” Once you’ve made it through the chasm, the stream culminates in a small canyon with three hot waterfalls. The pool is just a short walk up some stairs from this point.
This pool is maintained by the members of a naturalist club so it is not a ‘suit’able venue for those opposed. If you do decide to go on your own, tour groups usually arrive at 11am and 2pm so avoid the busy times if you can.
BONUS: Secret Waterfall Hotspring
Can’t spoil all of the spots can I? You’ll have to talk to some locals in the area to figure out where this one is!