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A guide to hot pools and spa resorts

Adult pools at the Polynesian Spa, Rotorua

Some of the country’s pools and spa resorts are so well hidden you’ll need a boat or a compass to get there. But take the time to seek them out and you’ll find a rejuvenating and even healing experience, as bathers have for thousands of years.

Spas and hot pools make a romantic weekend getaway for couples but they’re also great family outings - kids can enjoy the hot pools and mum or dad can sneak off for some time out with beauty and therapeutic spa treatments. For senior citizens they can be a relaxing and rejuvenating treat.

Whether you’re after a quick treatment or an indulgent day complete with champagne, lunch and a series of treatments, you’ll leave a day spa looking and feeling like a million dollars. Treatment costs can range from $25 to $1000 and group packages can often be arranged.

There are about 100 thermal hot pools around New Zealand. About 35 are commercial while the others are free outdoor bubbling springs. This guide focuses on the commercial facilities; for free spas, check out NZ Hot Pools website.

Click to skip to the following regions…

Northland

Waiariki Pools, Ngawha Springs

Waiariki, meaning “chiefly waters” is the name for a complex of fifteen natural, mineral hot pools, said to have been discovered by Kareariki, in the late 1600s. Her descendants are still the kaitiaki, or guardians of this special place. The pools have a very rustic feel, with water of different colours and temperatures, from black to green, contained in basic wooden pools. The geothermal water comes from the 1500-metre deep Ngawha Geothermal Reservoir, and is laden with different minerals. Don’t expect a fancy spa - this place has a down to earth, community feel, with an honesty box in case the office is unattended. Pools have evocative names such as Bulldog, Doctor and Tanemahuta, and range from cold to over 45 degrees. Bring cash!

Waiariki Pools, Ngawha Springs
Tanemahuta, Waiariki Pools, photo courtesy of ngawharetreat.co.nz

In brief

     
  • From SH 12, Kaikohe, turn onto Ngawha Springs Road.
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  • Ph: 09 405 2245
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  • Open 7 days, from 9 am - 9 pm
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  • Admission: Adults $4, high school students $2, primary students $1,under 5: free
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Where to stay

Hokianga
Bay of Islands

More info

Ngawha Retreat Waiariki Pools website

 

Rodney District (Auckland region)

Waiwera Infinity Thermal Spa Resort

Smell the salt air from adjacent Waiwera Beach as you relax in an indulgent spa treatment or bathe in one of the 22 naturally thermal mineral pools. Watch new movie releases as you soak, while the kids enjoy the Indiana Jones-styled hydro slide tower with eight thermal slides. Waiwera’s carbon dated water is said to be the oldest in the world. It was recognised as the Southern Hemisphere’s first spa in 1863.

Waiwera’s Infinity Day and Medi Spa treatments encourage health improvements and wellbeing by way of science and pampering.

In brief

     
  • 21 Waiwera Road, Waiwera
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  • Ph: 0800 WAIWERA (0800 924 9372)
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  • Open 7 days 9am–9pm (winter), 9am–10pm (summer)
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  • Admission: Adults $26, children 15yrs and under $15. Family pass 2 adults and up to 3 children $65. Check the website for specials.

Where to stay

Waiwera

More info

Waiwera Infinity Thermal Spa Resort website

Aquatic Park Parakai Springs

These restorative thermally heated pools were the country’s premiere health spas in the 1900s.These days, there are two huge thermal pools – one indoor and one out – set amongst the mature trees of Parakai Domain. Private thermal spa pools are also available.

Parakai Springs  height=
Photo: Aquatic Park Parakai Springs

In brief

     
  • 150 Parkhurst Rd, Parakai. Off State Highway 16, 40 minutes’ north of Auckland CBD.
     
  • Ph: 09 420 8998
     
  • Open 10am-9pm
     
  • Admission: Adults 16 years and over $22, children 5 and over $11, family: 2 adults, 2 children $55

Where to stay

Rodney District

More info

Parakai Springs website

Coromandel

The Lost Spring

Lost Spring hot pools
The Lost Spring hot pools

Sculpted pools with crystal clear water are fringed by gardens filled with flourishing native and tropical plants at this Whitianga haven, which also includes a poolside beverage service.

Treatments at the Lost Spring Day Spa range from the Dreamy Delight foot pamper, massage and facial to the Pure Decadence package for two, with bubbly and a platter. Weekend bookings are essential.

In brief

     
  • 121A Cook Drive, Whitianga
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  • Ph: 07 866 0456
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  • Open 7 days
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  • Pool admission: $38 for a one hour 30 pool pass. Children 14 and over catered for.

Where to stay

Whitianga
Coromandel

More info

The Lost Spring website

 

 

 

Waikato

Miranda Hot Springs

Nestled in picturesque grounds, these thermally heated mineral water pools range from 33°C to 41°C There are four new private spas, electric BBQs, a games room, adventure playground and takeaway shop.

In brief

     
  • Front Miranda Rd, Seabird Coast. Just off State Highway 2, 45 minutes south east of Auckland, 20 minutes from the Coromandel Peninsula.
  • Ph: 07 867 3055
  • Open: 9am-9:30pm, Christmas Day 10am-6pm.
  • Admission: Adults 14 and over $14, children $7. Under 3 free. Surcharge on public holidays.

More info

Miranda Hot Springs website

Where to stay


Papakura District

Waingaro Hot Springs

Three thermal pools with varying temperatures, private spa pools, hot water hydro slides and bumper boats.

In brief

  • Waingaro Rd, Ngaruawahia. 45km north-west of Hamilton. It’s a little out in the wops, so consult a map before you head off.
  • Ph: 07 825 4761
  • Admission: Adults $11, children 12 and under $6, public holiday surcharge

More info

Waingaro Hot Springs website

Where to stay

Waikato

Te Aroha Mineral Spas and Leisure Pools

Beneath Te Aroha Mountain lies the world’s only hot soda water geyser. Its pristine waters have been enjoyed for more than a century. Modernised to resort standard, these pools retain the quaint charm of the Edwardian era. Beyond the traditional Bath House with its eight private soda spa pools is a three pool outdoor leisure complex.

At the on-site Aroha Spa, therapies range from an eyebrow tint or wax to an Ultimate Spa Experience of a soak, exfoliation, body wrap, massage and facial treatments. Other indulgences include the Aroha Enriching Honey Yoghurt Wrap, pedicures and back treatments.

In brief

     
  • Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain, Te Aroha
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  • Ph: 07 884 8717
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  • Open 7 days
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  • Opening hours: Mineral Spas: 10.30am -10 pm daily. Pools: Monday-Thursday 8am -6pm
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  • Pool admission: Adults $7. Children $5

More info

Te Aroha Hot pools website

Where to stay

Waikato


Lake Taupo

Taupo DeBretts Thermal Spa Resort

From big pools, hot pools, kids’ pools, private pools to luxurious spa treatments. While the adults are rejuvenating in the pools or being pampered in the spa, the kids can safely play in the warm water-playground with its giant hot water dragon slide.

DeBretts Spa is a utopia of massage and beauty therapies set amongst beautiful native bush and bubbling thermal waters. Spa massage therapy options include acupressure, Swedish, hydrotherapy or deep tissue. The beauty menu includes face and body treatments, waxing, tints and electrolysis.

In brief

     
  • 102 State Highway 5 (Napier Taupo Highway)
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  • Ph: 07 377 6502
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  • Open 8.30am-9.30pm.
  • Pool admission: Adults $22. Students 13-17 $13 Children 3-12 $11

More info

Taupo De Bretts website

Where to stay

Lake Taupo

Tokaanu Thermal Pools

Great for soothing sore muscles after hiking the Tongariro Crossing or skiing the slopes of Mt Ruapehu. The large public pool is heated with fresh chlorinated water to around 36˚C - 38˚C. Private natural mineral pools, are around 39˚C - 41˚C.

Make time to explore the natural thermal areas with steaming hot mineral pools and plopping mud set in native bush, or view and feed rainbow trout in the Tokaanu Stream from the bridge entrance.

tokaanu thermal pools 300
Tokaanu Thermal Pools / Photo: Bookabach.co.nz/5660

In brief

     
  • Mangaroa Street, Tokaanu, Lake Taupo.
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  • Ph: 07 3868575 
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  • Open 7 days (closed Christmas Day); Public Pool 10am - 9pm; Private Pools 10am - 9.30pm.
  • Public pool admission: Adult $6 Child $4 Private pool: Adult $10 Child $6

More info

Tokaanu Thermal Pools website

Where to stay

Lake Taupo

The Living Waters of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

Halfway between Taupo and Rotorua is a natural geothermal bathing complex with six outdoor pools. The splash pool has a covered toddlers’ beach area and four private spas have adjustable temperatures. The pools overlook a steamy wetland with an eco-trail winding along a boiling river that ends at the famous Te-Manaroa spring, the country’s largest single source of boiling water. There’s a licensed cafe on site.

In brief

     
  • Along State Highway 5, turn right opposite Wai-o-tapu onto Waikite Valley Road and follow the signs for 6km.
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  • Ph: 07 333 1861
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  • Open 10am-9pm every day except Christmas Day
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  • Admission: Adults $15, 5-15 year-olds $8, under 5 $3

More info

The Living Waters Thermal Pools website

Where to stay

Lake Taupo

Bay of Plenty

Sapphire Springs

At the foot of the Kaimai Ranges, this 35-hectare bush haven has pure 38ºC spa pools. Take a bush walk through large native trees and ferns and see the glow-worms on the banks of the stream. Five minutes from Katikati.

In brief

     
  • 274 Hot Springs Rd, Katikati
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  • Ph: 07 549 0768
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  • Open 7 days 7am - 10pm. Closed Christmas Day.
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  • Outdoor pools: 14 years and over $5.50 per day, 1-13 years $3.50 per day

More info

More info

Where to stay

Katikati

Oropi Spa Pools

This complex has a large outdoor pool and four private pools with massage jets. Ramp access for senior citizens. Cafe with home baked goodies.

In brief

     
  • 1 Warner Road, Oropi, Tauranga
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  • Ph: 07 543 3913
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  • Open Wednesday-Friday 4pm-10pm, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 10am-10pm, closed Monday and Tuesday. NOTE: phone and check: pools were closed in March 2015
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  • Admission: Adults $5.50. Private pools $7.50 per adult. Children under 10 yrs not permitted in private pools.

More info

Oropi Spa on Facebook

Where to stay

Tauranga District

Lake Rotoiti Pools

A popular hangout for locals - open all year round. Access is only by water, boats moor at any of the four jetties available. Get there by water taxi, or jump in a kayak (many baches supply these free of charge).  Select the pool with the temperature you will enjoy today, and slip in and soak, and cool down by taking a plunge off the allocated jetty or try the water slide or take a short walk around the lakefront to the beach. There are picnic areas with tables and 2 barbecues, changing rooms, toilets, a kiosk selling drinks and ice creams.

lake rotoiti hot pools 300
Lake Rotoiti hot pools / Photo: bookabach/12667

In brief

     
  • Manupirua Bay, south side of Lake Rotoiti
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  • Ph: 07 345 8070
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  • Open: 8.00am to 10.00pm, 365 days of the year
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  • Admission: Casual - $10 per adult (over 12 years of age) and $5 per child (5 to 12 years of age) per day. Season pass also available

More info

Lake Rotoiti Hot Pools website

Where to stay

Lake Rotoiti

Mt Maunganui Hot Saltwater Pools

At the base of The Mount, these hot salt water pools have been enjoyed for 40 years. A good spot to head after a hike to the top of The Mount. The Massage Centre offers relaxation, Swedish and deep tissue massage.

In brief

     
  • Adams Ave, Mt Maunganui
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  • Ph: 07 575 0868
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  • Open Monday-Saturday 6am-10pm, Sunday and public holidays 8am-10pm.
  • Admission: Adults $10.80 Children 5-15 $8.10 Private pool: Adult $15.60 Child $16.60 private and public access

More info

Mount Hot Pools

Where to stay

Tauranga

Rotorua

Polynesian Spa

Polynesian Spa
Adult pools at the Polynesian Spa

Set amid native flora, this inviting relaxation haven – which also includes 26 hot mineral pools - provides an array of spa and hydro spa therapies including body and facial therapies (using Rotorua thermal mud) and massage, exfoliation and a thermal mud body polish. Appointments for spa therapies essential. Prices vary - the indoor Family Spa is cheaper, while the scenic, outdoor Lake Spa is more expensive.

In brief

     
  • 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua
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  • Ph: 07 348 1328
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  • Open daily 8am-11pm
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  • Admission: Bathing: Adults from $18 - $45, Children $7- $45, under 5 free. Spa treatments $89 and upwards.

 

More Info

Polynesian Spa website

Where to stay

Rotorua
   

Wai Ora Spa at Hell’s Gate

Visitors can experience a unique geothermal mud bath, pure sulphurous spa, or the unique Wai Ora massage, based on Miri Miri (Maori massage).

In brief

     
  • State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua
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  • Ph: 07 345 3151
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  • Open: 7 days 9am-8.30pm
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  • Admission: Adult: from $20 Child: from $10

More info

Hells Gate website

Where to stay

Rotorua

Blue Baths

It’s now a popular venue for galas and weddings, but it was bathing that first brought people to this historic venue in 1933. The fresh water pools are geothermally heated; there’s a large lap pool and two hot soak pools.

Blue Baths
Photo: Blue Baths

In brief

     
  • Government Gardens, Rotorua
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  • Ph: 07 3502119
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  • Open from 10am - 6pm usually. Pools may be closed for private functions, so phone ahead.
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  • Admission: Adults: $11, Children $6

 

More info

Blue Baths website

Where to stay

Rotorua

Waitangi Soda Springs

These secluded springs in a natural setting have been upgraded and there’s now a small charge. Hot water bubbles up around you here, while streams of warm water pass by. From Rotorua, take State Highway 30 towards Whakatane. Turn left at Manawahe Road, just before the petrol station. The pools are on your left about 200 metres from the intersection of SH30 and Manawahe Road where the road curves. Soda water can stain swimwear so perhaps don’t wear your most expensive togs…

In brief

     
  • Highway 30, Rotama  
  • Admission: Adults $8

More info

Waitangi Soda Springs

Where to stay

Rotorua

Hawke’s Bay

Ocean Spa

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, these open-air hot pools comprise a 25-metre lap pool, two leisure pools, a toddlers’ pool and private spas. There’s a steam room, sauna, sunbed, fitness facility and the Ocean Spa Body Therapy for a range of body therapy treatments including massage and facials.

In brief

     
  • 42 Marine Parade, Napier
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  • Ph: 06 835 8553
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  • Open Monday-Saturday, 6am-10pm, Sunday 8am-10pm.
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  • Admission: Pools: Adults $10.50, children 14 years and under $7.90. Spa: see website.

More info

Ocean Spa

Where to stay

Hawkes Bay

Taranaki

Taranaki Thermal Spa - Tarawhata Mineral Baths

This beautifully restored mineral pool complex and spa focuses on relaxation and rehabilitation. There’s a large public spa, private pools, sauna and a therapy studio with a diverse range of therapeutic massage and wraps.

In brief

     
  • 8 Bonithon Avenue, New Plymouth
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  • Ph: 06 835 8553
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  • Open 7 days
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  • Admission: Public pool adults $13, Private pool $16, Children 0-5yrs $3, 6-10yrs $5, 11-15 yrs $8.
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More info

Taranaki Thermal Spa website

Where to stay

Taranaki

Gisborne

Morere Hot Springs

Tucked away between Art Deco Napier and the East Cape is this 364-hectare native bush haven with heated non-sulphurous springs. The water apparently burbles from beneath the rainforest after travelling through superheated subterranean vents. There is a range of man-made indoor and outdoor pools, or you can hike a few minutes along a lovely forest path to the Nikau pools.

In brief

     
  • State Highway 2, Morere, East Coast
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  • Ph: 06 837 8856
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  • Open from 10am every day except Christmas Day.
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  • Public pools: Adults $12, children $6.

 

More info

Morere Hot Springs website

Where to stay

East Cape
   

Canterbury

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa

Surrounded by the Southern Alps and in the heart of Hanmer village, this resort has open air thermal pools, sulphur pools, private saunas and pools, as well as hydroslides and a family activity area. Massage and beauty treatments at The Spa include relaxation and sports massages, indulgent body treatments, hot stone therapy and luxurious facials.

In brief

     
  • Amuri Ave, Hanmer Springs
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  • Ph: 0800 442 663
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  • Open 10am-9pm daily except Christmas Day
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  • Thermal pools: Adults $22, child 3-15 $11, under 3 free

More info

view Hanmer Springs website

Where to stay

Hanmer Springs

Tekapo Springs

This new resort’s three hot pools have massage jets and fountains plus views to Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps. Alongside the pools are a sauna, steam room and plunge pool. Overlooking the pools, the day spa offers facials, manicures, specialised massage and reflexology. Bookings are essential. There’s also a huge outdoor Ice Skating Rink (open April-September) for the more energetic, a tube park and an inflatable waterslide open in summer.

In brief

     
  • 6 Lakeside Dr, Lake Tekapo
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  • Ph: 0800 2353 8283
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  • Open: 7 days 10am-9pm
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  • Hot pools: Adults $22, Children $13.

More info

Tekapo Springs website

Where to stay

Mackenzie District

West Coast

Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled in rainforest, the Glacier Hot Pools are a tranquil escape. The three main pools range in temperature from 36 - 40 degrees, and are protected from the elements by giant sails. There are private pools available, as well as spa and massage treatments. The Franz Josef Glacier is known to Ngāi Tahu as Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere – The Frozen Tears of Hinehukatere. The Glacier Hot Pools have each been named, and are owned by Ngai Tahu Tourism.

In brief

     
  • 63 Cron Street, Franz Josef Glacier
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  • Ph: 0800 044 044 / + 64 3 752 0099
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  • Open: 7 days 1pm-9pm
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  • Hot pools: Adults $26, Children $22.

More info

Glacier Hot Pools website

Where to stay

Westland District

Queenstown Lakes

Onsen Hot Pools

Housed in private cedar-lined bathing rooms, each of the pools has retractable picture windows so, at the touch of a button, you can convert your room from indoor to outdoor to make the most of the mountain views. At night, dim the lights and watch the glow of the southern constellations. Each bathing room contains its own shower and changing facility.

In brief

     
  • 160 Arthurs Point Rd, Queenstown
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  • Ph: 0508 UNWIND (869 463)
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  • Open daily 11am-10pm. Bookings in one-hour blocks.
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  • Admission: Adult $46 for the first hour. Children $12.

More info

Onsen Hot Pools

Where to stay

Queenstown Lakes

Otago

Omarama Hot Tubs


Since opening in March 2009, Omarama Hot Tubs has been celebrated by locals and tourists as a real high country oasis of relaxation. Jan and Lance Thomas have been working for over 4 years to establish their unique High Country hot tub experience. Soak up the stunning alpine backdrop, in their chemical-free, environmentally conscious hot tub facility. Massage bookings also available.

hot tubs omarama 300
Photo: Hot Tubs Omarama

In brief

     
  • 29 Omarama Ave, Main Omarama Twizel Highway (State HWY 8) - 700 metres from the town junction
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  • Ph: 03 438 9703
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  • Open: Daily from 11am until late (except Christmas Day)
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  • Pricing: see website (Tubs from $34 for 4 or more people, Child: $17; Under 5’s: $10).

More info

www.hottubsomarama.co.nz - Hot Tubs Omarama website

Where to stay

Waitaki district, Otago
Twizel

 

 

 

 

Piwa perched