Hot Springs in New Zealand

Rebecca Hanlon
Last Updated: March 14th, 2024

Hot springs are created when underground hot water rises to the earth’s surface due to pressure. This is known as geothermal activity, and due to New Zealand’s geographical position and many volcanoes, the country is a hot spot.

Numerous hot springs, or “Waiariki” as they are known in Maori, are scattered across New Zealand. The hot springs in New Zealand were traditionally used for bathing, cooking, and preparing flax for weaving.

Due to the many healthy minerals the springs contain, today, they are used for swimming and are a big part of New Zealand’s tourism.

Bathing in New Zealand’s hot springs can be relaxing due to the mineral-rich, calming waters. The water might also offer various health advantages, attracting visitors year-round.

In this article, we will look at the the most popular hot springs in new Zealand, from primitive to resorts, that you will want to experience for yourself on your next visit.

New Zealand Hot Spring Regions

New Zealand has hot springs on the mainland islands and the smaller islands around them. The country sits on two tectonic plates, the Pacific and the Australian, and due to their constant movement New Zealand is constantly geologically active.


Island Region
North Island Rotorua, Taupo, Parakai, Wairakei, Whakatane, Whitianga, Mount Maunganui, Mount Ruapehu, Miranda, Katikati, Mangatutu Hot Springs, Kawerau.
South Island Hanmer Springs, Hurunui River, Otehake River, Wanganui River, Maruia Springs, Welcome Flat.

5 of the Most Popular Hot Springs in New Zealand

  • Polynesian Spa
  • Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park
  • Welcome Flat Hot Pools
  • Maruia Hot Springs
  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools

Polynesian Spa

You will find one of the oldest spas in New Zealand on the shores of Lake Rotorua, in the center of the North Island.

The Polynesian Spa was constructed in the 1800s and has a long history and cultural significance. The Maori people, who saw themselves as the protectors of the natural hot springs, tended after the spa since its creation.

New Zealand: Polynesian Thermal Spa in Rotorua Via Eli Duke

Moreover, the Maori have named and taken care of every hot spring in this region. The Polynesian Spa has 28 mineral pools filled with water from two natural springs.

Visitors can enjoy various wellness rituals. Also, the Spa is recognized as one of the top 10 in the world.

Additional Info

Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park

According to Maori myth, Ruomoko, a Maori deity associated with volcanic activity, bestows warm, therapeutic waters to the land. These waters are allegedly where Maori warriors went to recover from combat injuries. The natural boiling pools give the area a solid sulfuric smell.

Mud pool at Hells Gate geothermal park in New Zealand Via Chiara Coetzee

For more than 800 years, people have used this geothermal location for its possible therapeutic benefits. In addition to bathing in the thermal pools and eating traditional Maori hangi meals prepared in the thermal waters, visitors can also take in the sights surrounding the hot springs.

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Welcome Flat Hot Pools

In the South Island, you will find the Welcome Flat Hot Pools, situated in a valley surrounded by native forest and snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps. The Welcome Flat Hot Pools are worth visiting for the possible health benefits and the incredible scenic views.

Mountains Overlook Hot Pools at Welcome Flat Hut. Via David Grant

The Welcome Flat Hot Pools are only reachable by a challenging climb and are situated on the Copland River close to the Fox Glacier on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Getting there might take up to seven hours, and it can be challenging in the winter, but those who do the climb are rewarded with an incredibly relaxing experience in the thermal pools.

Additional Info

Maruia Hot Springs

Maruia Hot Springs are natural pools that, besides their nourishing water, provide an unobscured view of the beautiful Southern Alps.

Maruia Hot Springs Via LuxTonnerre

Maruia Hot Springs is a sulfur spring with a pH of 7.3 and high mineral content. The sulfur in the water has a specific smell that might help promote metabolism and skin health as well as protect the body from environmental toxins.

Moreover, other minerals present in the water are boron, hydro carbonate, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Additional Info

Location 1513 State Highway 7, Lewis Pass 7895, New Zealand
Water Temperature 91 to 107 degrees Fahrenheit

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools

Hanmer Spring Thermal Springs is located less than two hours from Kaikoura and Christchurch, surrounded by native New Zealand kowhai trees and bellbirds. The sulfuric pools might provide visitors with many health benefits.

Hanmer Springs Hot Pools Via Wildman NZ

Furthermore, there are 22 thermal pools that you can enjoy. The water is 173 years old and full of minerals such as iron, calcium, boron, chloride, magnesium, potassium, silica, sodium, and sulfur.

Additional Info

Types of Hot Springs in New Zealand

New Zealand is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, so many of its hot springs are volcanic. There are also hot springs on fault lines, natural hot springs, and hot spring spas.

They are significant in the local Maori culture, as they were used in the past for different purposes. The springs that were too hot for bathing were helpful in cooking, while the Maori used the milder ones for bathing.

Volcanic Hot Springs

New Zealand’s Rotorua and Taupo volcanic zone is home to many hot springs, mud pools, and geysers. The hot springs are created when rainwater seeps through cracks in rocks down to the magma, which gets heated.


This process of heating underground water with magma makes it rise quickly to the surface with high temperatures.

  • Hot springs – Clear boiling water flows from a heated rock beneath the hot springs, which makes them unsuitable for swimming.
  • Mud pools – The muddy mixture in these pools is due to the gasses reacting with the rocks, which produces clay.
  • Geysers – Geysers are the result of underground built-up pressure. When the pressure is too much, it causes an eruption on the surface of hot water and steam. New Zealand’s biggest geyser is Pohutu, which reaches 65 feet and more.

Natural Hot Springs

People can enjoy many natural hot springs for free without the need to make a reservation at a resort or a spa. These natural hot springs are full of minerals that might have healing properties and can be found on the North and South Island of New Zealand.


In the natural hot springs, the heated water by the underground magma is mixed with the cold water on the surface, giving them the ideal temperature for swimming. Many visit New Zealand’s hot springs to possibly treat chest congestion, skin ailments, burn treatments, rheumatic diseases, etc.

Hot Springs on Fault Lines

Some hot springs in New Zealand appear on fault lines, where the rock under the surface breaks, allowing the water to rise fast to the surface. Fault line springs can be found in many places in the Southern Alps.


Final Thoughts

Overall, these are only some of the hot springs in New Zealand and many more spread across the country.

The hot springs have different temperatures, so while some are too hot to swim in, others have milder temperatures that are perfect.

About The Author

Rebecca Hanlon

Rebecca has been a blogger for over 5 years, before that enjoying a number of jobs to fund her passion for travel. She’s taught English as a foreign language in 5 different countries, been a part-time Barista, a waitress, and a tour guide around some of Europe’s finest vineyards. She the one behind the social channels here at whilst somehow finding the time to travel the world with her partner Will ❤

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