Are you looking for the best thermal pools in NZ? Following closely behind countries such as Iceland, New Zealand is one of the best countries in the world for natural thermal waters, perfect for bathing and swimming in.
Whether you're willing to stop at the side of the road and take a dip in a natural pool, or want to head into one of the world famous thermal pools, there's something for everyone. Scattered throughout the country, these bubbling hot pools are perfect for rejuvenation and revitalising your body between traveling, after a long day at work, or simply to spend time with friends and family.
While some of the bigger chains are pretty expensive, even for locals, they are definitely once in a lifetime experiences for travellers and those from out of town, the perfect Instagram worthy post day or night. With so many different options, it was hard narrowing it down to the top 5 thermal pools.
Best New Zealand Thermal Pools
1. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools
Cost: Adults $20.00, Children (5-15 years) $11.00, Under 5s $3.00
"Waikite Valley Thermal Pools" has been operating for almost half a century, it was based on 4000 hours of voluntary work and they started their services on 1972.
Valley Thermal Pools now offers visitors 6 outdoor bathing options, private pools, camping facilities and access to the Te Manaroa Spring.
Hot springs are formed when underground water is heated by geometric forces. The source of the water in Waikite valley is from the Te Manaroa Springs with the largest single source of 100% pure geothermal water in New Zealand.
This 100% natural thermal water is not treated with any chemicals nor is it filtered or recycled back into the pools and you must keep your head above the water when you swim.
You can easily spend half a day in the complex. They offer "The Settlers pool, Sit and Soak – Passive Bathing Pool, Tranquil Garden Pool, Private Spas, Pergola Pool, Outdoor Tubs, splash pool with adjoining toddlers play area"
They also offer powered and non-powered campground sites.
"Loved this place not overly packed, loved the different temperatures of the different pools. My kids loved the pretty scenery,"
Stacy Leeteiho wrote on TripAdvisor.
Address: 648 Waikite Valley Road, RD1, Rotorua
Phone: 07 333 1861
2. Tokaanu Thermal Pools
Cost: Adult public pool: $7-8, Child public pool: $6
Thermal pools and bathing alongside Tokaanu Stream and thermal areas started from 16th century. Locals have been using the hot water and steam vents for their communal cooking and dyeing of traditional clothing.
Relaxing, soothing, and therapeutic waters of the hot thermal springs of Tokaanu makes a perfect day trip.
Located on the southern shores of Lake Taupo, Tokaanu thermal pools, soothe muscles that have hiked the Tongariro Alpine Crossing or skied the slopes of Mt Ruapehu.
You can enjoy the large public pool with your family and friends (heated with freshly chlorinated water to around 36oC- 38oC), while your children could use Kids Pool (heated to 36oC with freshly chlorinated water situated right beside the main pool).
You can also take a short walk around the thermal area, where you can see steaming hot mineral pools or you can feed the rainbow trouts in their natural environment.
"Jennifer J" shared her experience on TripAdvisor:
"We had a walk around this place which was quite exciting given that it was a fairly dangerous area with very dodgy looking sulphur smelling hot pools, which would burn you if you got too near. I would recommend a visit."
Address: Mangaroa Street, Tokaanu P.O. Box 181, Turangi
Phone: 07 386 8575
3. Oropi Hot Pools
Cost: Family Pass $30.00 for 2 Adults & up to 3 Children
If you want to experience thermal hot water, but you do not like to keep your head above water, Oropi Hot Pools is a place to go. Relaxing hot water comes from a bore on-site that is 400 metres deep and it is safe to put your head underwater.
There are two main and private pools. You can enjoy the relaxing temperatures ranging from 32-34 degrees (summer) 36-37 degrees (winter). All private pools have their ensuite, jets in the spas with a temperature range between 37-38 degrees.
There is also an open roof pool, so you can enjoy relaxing time while stargazing.
Swimming burns a significant number of calories, which can cause the body to increase a hunger-causing hormone.
After swimming in Oropi hot pools, you can dine inside or outside their rural setting.
If you are visiting with kids, their rural outdoor setting offers plenty of space for the kids to play, room for bouncy castles hire-age and group gatherings.
"We came here for a family birthday swim and dinner a few weeks ago, our son is autistic so the atmosphere here was really good for him. The staff were very accommodating and they were able to adjust their menu to our needs."
Wrote "Gustav Woest" on Google Review.
Address: 1 Warner Road, Oropi 3173
Phone: 07 543 3913
4. Morere Hot Springs
Cost: $14 an adult, $3 a toddler
Located about 55 km south of Gisborne, "Morere Hot Springs" opened in 2015 and offers a wonderful experience with therapeutic natural mineral spring.
Water and whole experience are therapeutic for both body and mind, especially because of the unique bush location. It set amongst one of the largest tracts of lowland rainforest remaining on the East Coast.
You can take a bush walk and go to outdoor hot and cold public pools or one of the two private pools.
The water in the pools is salty and the springs produce 250,000 litres a day of ancient seawater. There are few walking tracks accessed through Morere Hot Spring.
You can hear the sound of a running stream while enjoying a pleasant time walking in the tracks.
Morere Hot Spring is super affordable, comparing to some of the other hot pools in the country. Still, the setting for the pools is stunning.
Note that the complex right now is closed until further notice due to safety inspections regarding infrastructure.
My favourite hot pools in NZ. Beautiful place, soak in the pools surrounded by native bush and birds, Excellent facilities inside the park - BBQ’s, picnic gazebos, refreshments. Rating: 10/10"
Wrote "S Clarkson" on NZ hot pools website.
Address: State Highway 2, Morere 4078
Phone: 06 837 8856
5. Awakeri Hot Springs
Cost: from $36 a night
"Awakeri Hot Springs" family-run Holiday-Park launched in 2002. It surrounded by rainforest-like bush and perfectly situated near lakes, rivers, mountains, and beaches.
They recommend that you start the day by having an early morning swim in their mineral hot water. The mineral water is natural and around 38 degrees Celsius. After swimming, take a stroll up the hiking track and enjoy the beauty of the park.
They offer a guided tour on the old railway network of the Eastern Bay of Plenty for the afternoon. There are also a BBQ area and adventure playground to spend time with family members and children.
Awakeri Hot Springs and Holiday Park has many affordable accommodation options: Non-Powered Campsite, Park Motels (sleep 2-4), Powered Campsites, Tourist Cabins, Tourist Flats (sleep 4-6).
You can save on accommodation and spend more on activities. Thermal mineral pool is a must for visitors, and a private hot spa makes you feel aches and stresses float away.
"Good value at $9. We sat and soaked up the warmth of the large communal thermal pool. There are private pools also available for hire at the same cost which excludes you using the main communal pool."
Wrote Camda on TripAdvisor about their Thermal pool.
Address: 1363 State Highway 30, Awakeri 3192
Phone: 07 304 9117