The first time I went to a hot pool, I thought it was hotter than a habanero in a heat wave. But as the initial shock wore off, I discovered the bliss of being a very relaxed human tea bag – and ever since, I’ve loved going to hot pools all over the country.
If you’re the same, then South Island is your perfect destination for hot pool heaven. To prove it, I’ve put together a list of the best hot pools that the South Island has to offer. From the secluded and serene to the bubbling and bustling, there’s a hot pool for every kind of soaker.
1. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa
Address: 42 Amuri Avenue, Hanmer Springs 7334, New Zealand
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 9 PM
- Adult – 40 NZD
- Child – 23 NZD
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa’s natural backdrop enhances your relaxation and allows you to truly unwind and soak in the thermal waters’ healing properties.
From sultry sulphur pools to cascading thermal waterfalls and a large family pool, there’s a pool for everyone’s preference. Their hydroslides and the lazy river are perfect for families and the young at heart.
Try to visit during the week, if possible. It’s less crowded, and you’ll be able to enjoy a more serene experience.
2. Maruia Hot Springs
Address: 1513 State Highway 7, Lewis Pass 7895, New Zealand
Come here if you want to be surrounded by the Maruia River while you soak in the geothermal hot pools. Maruia Hot Springs has indoor and outdoor thermal pools, saunas, and steam rooms.
When you’re not in the hot pools, join one of their guided starlight walks, enjoy a traditional Maori massage, or take part in a yoga class.
Try visiting Maruia Hot Springs in the winter. There’s nothing quite like soaking in the hot pools while snow falls around you!
3. Tekapo Springs
Address: 300 Lakeside Drive, Lake Tekapo 7945, New Zealand
- Monday to Friday – 11 AM to 7 PM
- Saturday & Sunday – 10 AM to 7 PM
The striking turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo provide a mesmerising backdrop as you soak in one of the three tiered hot pools at Tekapo Springs. Each pool is temperature-controlled, providing you with an optimal thermal bathing experience year-round.
Moreover, Tekapo Springs is not just about hot pools. They offer a range of activities that cater to all age groups. This includes an ice-skating rink, a tube park, and a day spa offering a variety of treatments.
For a truly special experience, plan your visit during the evening and take a dip in the hot pools under the starry sky. Remember to book your stargazing tour in advance to secure your spot.
4. Opuke Thermal Pools & Spa
Address: 35 Mount Hutt Station Road, Methven 7782, New Zealand
- Sunday to Friday – 10 AM to 7:30 PM
- Saturday – 10 AM to 10 PM
Situated high up in the mountains, Opuke Thermal Pools & Spa offers panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped peaks. Not only does Opuke boast some of the most scenic thermal pools in the region, but it also offers a top-tier spa experience.
Their treatments often use local natural ingredients and are expertly delivered by professional therapists, providing the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation.
For a truly unforgettable experience, try soaking in the outdoor pools at sunset. The sight of the sun setting over the mountains while you relax in the warm thermal waters is something you won’t want to miss.
5. Welcome Flat Hot Pools
Address: Westland National Park, 7886, New Zealand
Welcome Flat Hot Pools are accessible only by a day’s hike through the stunning Copland Track.
The pools themselves, though, are a cluster of natural rock pools amidst the rainforest. The combination of the day’s hike, the natural beauty of the track, and the rewarding soak at the end is a unique experience that’s hard to match.
Pack light for the hike, but don’t forget to bring your camera. The sunsets here are simply magical.
6. Waiho Hot Tubs
Address: 64 Cron Street, Central Village, Franz Josef / Waiau 7886, New Zealand
- Monday to Friday – 12:30 PM to 9:30 PM
- Saturday & Sunday – 10:30 AM to 9:30 PM
- 1 hours per adult – 89 NZD
- Child – 15 NZD
What sets this place apart is its natural, rustic charm—the pools are simply hollowed-out rocks filled with pure, mineral-rich glacier run-off. The contrast of the warm waters against the cool, alpine air is an incredible experience, and to top it off, you’re surrounded by stunning views of the Southern Alps.
Visit during the winter months. Not only are the crowds smaller, but there’s something truly magical about soaking in the steaming hot pools while snowflakes gently fall around you.
7. Morere Hot Springs
Address: State Highway 2, Mōrere 4078, New Zealand
Morere Hot Springs is surrounded by a forest reserve that features one of the largest remaining tracts of coastal native forest in New Zealand.
They have a large outdoor pool for communal bathing and private pools for those seeking a more intimate experience. For the more adventurous, there are also hot and cold plunge pools.
For a truly unique experience, take a stroll along one of the walking trails in the reserve before or after your soak. The trails vary in length and difficulty, offering stunning viewpoints and a chance to spot local wildlife.
8. Kerosene Creek
Address: Old Waiotapu Road, Waiotapu 3073, New Zealand
Hours: Open 24 hours
Just a short drive from Rotorua, Kerosene Creek offers a unique and authentic hot pool experience.
The highlight of Kerosene Creek is undoubtedly the natural hot water waterfall. Imagine soaking in a warm thermal pool while a hot water stream cascades over you—it’s a spa-like experience in a purely natural setting.
It’s also a free way to enjoy a thermal bath experience without compromising on quality or scenery.
For the best experience at Kerosene Creek, try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Not only will you avoid the crowds, but you’ll also get to experience the magic of the hot pools in the soft, natural light of dawn or dusk.
9. Polynesian Spa Hot Pools
Address: 1000 Hinemoa Street, Lakeside, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 11 PM
Prices: From 40 NZD
The Polynesian Spa is renowned for its range of exquisite hot mineral pools that come from the Priest Spring and the Rachel Spring. The slightly acidic Priest Spring relieves tired muscles and aches, while the alkaline waters of the Rachel Spring nourish the skin.
Plus, the spa overlooks the serene Lake Rotorua. And from private pools and a deluxe spa to a relaxation lounge and a spa therapy area, you’re spoilt for choice here.
Time your visit with one of their events like candlelit yoga by the pool!
10. Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park & Hot Springs
Address: 351 State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 6 PM
- Adult – 85 NZD
- Child – 42.5 NZD
- Family – 215 NZD
Hell’s Gate is not just a hot pool but a geothermal phenomenon. The water and mud in the park are both packed with minerals, particularly sulphur, which has healing and soothing properties known to benefit the skin and body.
The actual sulphur spa maintains a constant temperature of 40 degrees Celsius, providing a restorative bathing experience. You can feel the therapeutic properties of the water working wonders on your skin and body.
Their natural mud baths are also a fun choice! Here, you can slather yourself in the geothermal mud, which exfoliates and detoxifies the skin, leaving it soft and radiant.
Don’t skip out on Hell’s Gate geothermal walk!
11. Wairakei Terraces Hot Springs
Address: 671 Wairakei Drive, Wairakei, Taupō 3384, New Zealand
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 8 AM to 9 PM
Prices: 27 NZD
Wairakei Terraces Hot Springs is renowned for its beautiful terraced formations. These formations were created by silica-rich geothermal water flowing down from the hot springs and depositing over time.
The site itself has also been used by local Maori for centuries due to the healing properties of the waters. So as you soak in the thermal pools here, you are not just enjoying a relaxing bath but also participating in a tradition that goes back generations.
Visit Wairakei Terraces Hot Springs during the evening. As the sun sets and the lights around the terraces are switched on, the place takes on a magical glow.
12. Taupo DeBretts
Address: 76 Napier-Taupo Road, State Highway 5, Taupō 3379, New Zealand
Hours: Monday to Sunday – 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM
- Adults – 24 NZD
- Child – 13 NZD
- Students – 17 NZD
- Seniors – 11 NZD
Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs is renowned for its variety of thermal pools, all of which are naturally heated by geothermal activity. The pools range from tranquil adults-only pools to fun-filled interactive warm-water playgrounds for the younger ones.
But what truly sets Taupo DeBretts Hot Springs apart is its commitment to sustainability and innovation. The site uses renewable geothermal energy to heat the pools and its buildings and recycles pool water for irrigation.
Stay at their holiday park for an extended vacation!
13. Otumuheke Thermal Stream
Address: 281 Spa Road, Tauhara, Taupō 3378, New Zealand
At Otumuheke Thermal Stream, you are surrounded by the Waikato River flowing nearby. As you soak in these warm waters, you can feel the minerals working their magic on your skin and muscles.
But the real charm of Otumuheke Stream Hot Pools is its authenticity. Unlike commercial hot pools, this place is completely natural—not man-made.
And the best part is, you won’t have to spend a single dime!
Visit Otumuheke Stream Hot Pools at sunset.