Did you know New Zealand has more than 100 natural hot springs?  I didn’t.  So I was thrilled to find out that most of them are located in the North Island especially in the area around Lake Rotorua, an easy under-three-hour drive from Auckland.  If you arrive in the evening, as I did, you know you have reached the city more by your nose than anything else – an aroma of sulphur pervades the air. Depending on the weather, this aroma can be perceived as slight during clear weather or stench of rotten eggs when it rains. Knowing that it is not harmful and that the air quality is very good in the area adds to its therapeutic value and made me want to breathe in gulps, well, at least not turn away in disgust.

 

Suffice it to say that I absolutely indulged myself in four pools and three massages within as many days. And each one was different and had its distinctive qualities, so I would be hard put to say which one was the best.

My search was helped by a website http://www.nzhotpools.co.nz set up by Sheldon Nesdale, who grew up in the Rotorua area.

The reason for this conglomeration of hot springs is the fact that Rotorua sits on a region of high geothermal activity.  In essence, the earth’s crust is very thin here, and the waters and gases erupt everywhere.  It was only in 1886, when Mount Tarawera, the local volcano, erupted and buried at least one complete village and changed the landscape in a major way.

Much of the regular heating and hot water is supplied by geothermal heat.  Both hotels I stayed at, the venerable and historic Princes Gate Hotel and a charming B & B Tresco, for example, are on geothermal.  They also have their own little geothermal pools and often the water is so hot, that it needs to be cooled down before it can be used. Fascinating!

I’ll be describing the various hot springs and massages more in detail separately.

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2 Comments

  1. Die Baumfarne und der Schwefel – die bilden ganz besonders beeindruckende Szenerien, wie ich finde! Wieder mal danke fürs Teilhabenlassen und weiterhin eine derart gelungene Reise!! Ganz viele Grüße Ariane

  2. Was on tour in NZ for five weeks in ’87 but unfortunately never made it to Rotorua. Sounds fabulous, though. The warm water, massages and view from the house for sale are enough to make me want to re-locate. Would love to get back again.

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