Situated on the famous Volcanic Plateau of New Zealand’s North Island is Rotorua – the entry point to the world’s leading geothermic zone. The Rotorua region, known as ‘Nature’s Spa of the South Pacific’, is home to hundreds of alkaline and acid thermal springs world renowned for their cleansing health properties and for their magnificent visual form.
For many thousands of years, the local Maori people have used the geothermic resources for bathing, cooking, medicine and rituals and are considered the kaitaki (guardians) of the region. For the Maori people, many of the pools are of great spiritual significance and have their own individual histories and legends.
Rotorua is a great base for those who want to explore these magnificent thermal springs. Excellent accommodation is available in Rotorua like the Econo Lodge Cleveland that is ideally situated just minutes from the city centre and provides comfortable, self-contained accommodation for couples, families and groups alike.
Here we provide a traveller’s guide to the best Rotorua hot pools.
With majestic views over the native forests of Lake Rotorua, and with 26 pools to choose from, the award winning Polynesian Spa is a top destination for those in search of a truly luxurious thermal spring experience. From a lake spa and family spa to secluded private pools and with a range of rejuvenating mineral therapies on offer Polynesian Spa is guaranteed to cleanse and refresh the senses. Treat yourself to a relaxing aromatherapy massage or a signature ‘Rotorua Mud’ body wrap.
Home to New Zealand’s only geothermal mud baths and to the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere, Hells Gate is a premier geothermal location for the discerning traveller. Why not treat yourself to a traditional Miri Miri massage or an invigorating mineral mud treatment at the internationally acclaimed Wai Ora Day Spa. A trip to Rotorua is not complete without a visit to this deluxe facility.
Just 15 minutes from the heart of Rotorua, at the base of the towering Mt Tarawera, visitors can explore the pure thermal waters of Lake Tarawera. At Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach), situated on the lake’s northern shores, the thermal springs warm the water and create mist that floats graciously across the cliffs. This hidden gem is a great location for day trip. Why not pack a picnic and enjoy a rejuvenating swim at this secluded location?
Be inspired by the youngest (and the biggest) geothermal ecosystem in the world at Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Just 20 minutes south of Rotorua the vivid green water of Emerald Pools, the stunning multi-coloured rocks of Warbrick Terrace and the ‘crackling and sizzling’ of Frying Pan Lakes are an experience not to be missed. A self-guided eco-tour is the perfect way to experience the unique plant and animal life of beautiful Waimangu.
Manupirua Thermal Springs
Immerse yourself in the secluded waters of Manupirua Thermal Springs. These pristine natural baths are surrounded by the beautiful forests of Lake Rotoiti and have long been revered for their healing mineral properties. For a truly memorable eco-sailing experience at an affordable price, let Pure Cruise take you on a journey to Manupirua Thermal Springs and across the best of the Lake Rotoiti sites.
Keen photographers or those just looking to take some spectacular holiday snaps are sure to be swept away by the picturesque Wai-O-Tapu. Known as the region’s most colourful geothermal park, Wai-O-Tapu or ‘Sacred Water’ offers a beautiful palette of turquoise, green, burnt orange and bright yellow steaming waters accompanied by a backdrop of erupting volcanic mud pools and exquisite native bushland. Just 20 minutes from Rotorua city, this premier thermal site is home to the famous Champagne Pool – a bubbling 65 metre wide pool with a bright orange boarder. Soak up the rich visual beauty of the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.
For a complete cultural experience of the Rotorua geothermic region a visit to the living thermal village of Whakarewarewa should not be overlooked. Be entertained with songs and stories, try a traditional Hangi meal cooked in a thermal vent, and see the iconic Maori Haka performed by locals at this 200 year old traditional Maori village.
Whether you are in search of a luxury day spa holiday, a rich cultural exchange or an eco-tourism adventure to one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, a trip to the hot pools of Rotorua offers a unique travel experience.