3 of the Best Places to Try Hot Pools in New Zealand

As the chilly winter comes, it is important to think of some ways to combat the cold. There is nothing better than discover a haven of tranquility and experience the total relaxation of soaking in hot water. Located where two tectonic plates of the earth’s crust meet, New Zealand has an abundance of hot pools or springs. They are perfect for warming you up on a cold winter’s day. For centuries locals have enjoyed these hot pools, with some believing that sitting in mineral water helps with medical problems. Here we’ve laid out 3 of the best natural hot pools you should try at least once around this beautiful country.

1. Queenstown Onsen Hot Pools

The Onsen Hot Pools is located high on a cliffside overlooking the magnificent Shotover River canyon, providing views over breathtaking alpine scenery and the perfect vantage point to watch the Shotover Jet jetboats on the river below.

Onsen Hot Pools are hot and steamy on snowy days, warm and sheltered on rainy days, cool and shady on sunny days, and simply magical in the evenings! Each pool room can accommodate up to four adults and are perfect for individuals, couples, families and friends.

Water temperature is set according to the day – generally between 37.8C on a hot day, to 39.8C during a snow-storm. If you find yourself overheating, add cold water to your pool with the push of a button. A unique feature of Onsen Hot Pools is the retractable picture windows & roof: convert your pool room from indoor to outdoor and back again at the touch of a button!

Getting there

Onsen Hot Pools is located in what was once the gold mining town of Arthurs Point, only 10km from the centre of Queenstown and 20km from historic Arrowtown. It takes approximately 15 minute drive to get there and there is free parking available. You can also choose the free shuttle service to and from central Queenstown. The service only operates for bookings that request transportation. So please make sure you book the shuttle as part of your package. The shuttle will pick you up at Station Building, Queenstown (Bus Stop D, corner of Camp Street and Shotover Street). Please remember that the services are not available for bookings on half past the hour, please make your own way to the activity location.

 2. Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled in the native rainforest, yet located in the heart of Franz Josef village, the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools are a haven of tranquillity.

There are three main pools that weave their way through the rainforest and offer a superb place to relax and rejuvenate amongst nature. The pools range in temperature from 36 to 40 degrees centigrade, and are covered by giant sails offering protection from the elements.

If you’d like your own unique experience, you can choose a private pool package, with your own pool with changing facilities for up to 45 minutes, with access to the main pools. Surrounded by natural rainforest and offering you seclusion in a natural environment, your experience will leave you feeling completely refreshed and recharged. If you’re looking to totally unwind, you can also upgrade to a massage treatment.

Getting there

Franz Josef Glacier is located in the beautiful Te Tai o Poutini (West Coast), a scenic 5 hour drive from Queenstown or 2.5 hours from Greymouth.

 3. Tekapo Hot Pools

Located in the heart of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island, Lake Tekapo is one of the most amazing places you’ll ever see! By day, the vivid turquoise-blue lake is framed by golden mountains with pure skies above. By night, a dazzling array of stars appear with unique features only seen in the Southern skies. Tekapo is situated in the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, one of the best stargazing places on earth!

The three different hot pools are filled from an underground source near Tekapo, and each pool offers a different view: the brilliant blue of Lake Tekapo, sparse golden mountain ranges, pine forest and the pure blue skies of the Mackenzie Region. Each pool has benched seating, so you can sit back and relax in comfort. You can also combine your hot pool experience with stargazing. If the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor stargazing, an alternative indoor tour will be provided. This includes an introduction to the southern skies and the greater universe using multiple mediums including full colour astrophotography, video and virtual reality headsets.

Getting there

Lake Tekapo is located in the middle of the South Island of New Zealand, a 3-hour drive from Christchurch or Queenstown. There is no domestic or international airport, so driving is the main form of transportation.

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