Top 5 hot springs to visit

Sally Jackson, author of the new book Hot Springs of New Zealand lists her top five hot springs worth a visit on your next road trip 

Photography Maryann Williams

Welcome Flat Hot Pools

As life-enriching goals go, here’s a fun one: visiting every hot spring in the country. Hot spring enthusiast Sally Jackson makes this quest easier with her new book Hot Springs of New Zealand (Hot Water Publishing) now in its fourth edition. The guide includes more than 100 thermal springs, plus direction.s Jackson features on the cover of her book, luxuriating in one of her favourite natural hot springs – Welcome Flat hot pools in South Westland. 

There are 35 commercial thermal pools all over New Zealand—and almost double that number of free, natural outdoor springs. Most of them are closely guarded local secrets, hidden in native bush, known only to a lucky few.

The Lost Springs

“The bliss of being enveloped in thermal water, along with the therapeutic benefits – the heat, minerals and buoyany – are why people have sought relief in hot springs for thousands of years,” she says. 

Her are Jackson’s five favourite hot springs, in no particular order. 

  1. The Lost Spring in Whitianga: A tropical paradise that was that opened in 2008.

  2. Waitangi Soda Springs: A huge gravel-bottomed pool that is run as a therapeutic bathing area by a local Maori trust.

  3. Wairakei Terraces and Thermal Spa: Large, deep pools full of turquoise-coloured water. Adults only.

  4. Otumuheke Stream, Spa Park: This free hot stream, complete with massaging waterfalls, is a perennial favourite.

  5. Welcome Flat Hot Pools in Westland Tai Poutini National Park: A 19km hike through lush rainforest is required to reach this world-class wilderness hot spring (I lived and worked here for five years as a hut ranger and volunteer coordinator). 

For more, visit hotspringsofnz.nz

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