Thermal springs

How lucky are we to have abundant geothermal activity in New Zealand? It's a wonder to me that we don't make better use of this resource: our climate warrants it. I've asked myself whether the absence of a spa/sauna culture in South Eastern Australia and NZ is responsible for poorer public health outcomes. Sure our winters are not quite as cold as those in Northern Europe, but they're cold enough that regular hot mineral baths could no doubt help: particularly for the elderly, less mobile, house or office bound.

This page will become a list of geothermal pools which I've visited, and those which I'm yet to visit but would like to.



DeBrett's Hot Springs - Taupo
(Updated 27th September 2022)

I really like this place: it's professional but not pretentious.

The hot springs are part of a spring fed water park. It's a large complex by NZ standards, but not overbearing: there are nooks and crannies for privacy, the night lighting is non-obtrusive and the pools are not chlorinated.

The pools are fed by an on-site spring: the temperature of the spring water out of the ground here is very hot so they use an outdoor cooling arrangement where the water is shot out into the air as it would be out of a sprinkler and then collected: you can see this set up in action out the back of their facility.

There are nice touches to the facility, like geothermally heated floors in the change areas.

DeBrett's also operate a holiday park with cabins, units and camping places. The holiday park is great too: no high fences or boom gates, and good facilities. I do wish that their maintenance men would fit warm white lighting to their 'street lamps', and will email them about this.

The owners and management should also be congratulated for being in a minority of large bathing complexes that stayed open to everyone throughout the COVID-19 vaccination madness of 2021. As they stated on their website, they could operate within the bounds of the law and remain open to all. Good on them.

Mount Hot Pools - Tauranga
Sapphire Springs Holiday Park
Okoroire Hot Springs - Tirau
(Updated 27th of September 2022)

A hidden and seemingly not very well known gem. Three outdoor pools to choose from of varying depth, size and finish, drained and refilled daily,  The setting is secluded and beautiful with the crashing tumbling of the adjacent river permeating. Pay at the hotel/golf course reception for entry: if you want to stay overnight then there's a small and basic campground in addition to the hotel accommodation.


Yet to visit


Lake Rotoiti Hot Pools - Roturua
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools - Rotorua
The Lost Spring - Whitianga
Cow stream hot springs - Hurunui
Kāwhia Hot Water Beach - Waikato Region