Spa treatments and geothermal wellness experiences in Rotorua
Your primary reason to visit Rotorua is likely to be geothermal attractions, however the plentiful underground heat has a happy spinoff - hot soaks, mud therapies and delectable massages. If you're the slightest bit stressed, exhausted or sore-of-muscle, Rotorua will soon have you feeling relaxed and revived. In this city of spas, it's easy to balance a day of outdoor adventure with a couple of hours of wellness renewal.
Relaxation by the lake at Polynesian Spa Rotorua
As soon as you arrive in Rotorua, get yourself in hot water at Polynesian Spa. It captures everything that makes this region of New Zealand world famous - geothermally-heated mineral pools, spectacular lake views, and wellness treatments that make you feel and look amazing.
There are multiple options for enjoying a hot soak at Polynesian Spa. Depending on your budget and relaxing style, you can choose:
- Family pools: splashing-good fun with a large supervised play pool, waterslides and two mineral soaking pools
- Deluxe Lake Spa: five mineral pools of various temperatures, plus geothermal recliners to ensure you truly feel laid-back
- Pavilion Pools: a selection of pools and cascades in a calm, kid-free environment
- Private Pools: your very own hot mineral pool overlooking the lake
Polynesian Spa also offers a tempting menu of geothermal mud therapies, massage treatments, facials and body polish experiences. If you really want to embrace Rotorua's unique geology, try a geothermal mud body mask - it'll make you feel brand new.
Off the beaten path at Waikite Valley Thermal Pools Rotorua
If you're driving a rental car or motorhome around Rotorua, point your vehicle towards Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. Just 30 minutes' drive from the city centre, this hot pool excursion can easily occupy half a day if you include lunch at the café or take a picnic.
The most remarkable feature of Waikite Valley is Te Manaroa Spring, the largest single source of geothermally-heated water in New Zealand. Water from this spring is diverted into a series of large and small pools, then channelled back into the Otamakokore Stream. Part of the fun here is walking the eco trail, which takes you to the boiling spring past ferns, mosses and geothermal calcite formations.
What visitors love the most about Waikite Valley is the natural setting, followed closely by great value for money. If you're travelling with kids, you can grab the family concession price. There's a campground here too, so you can park your motorhome or pitch a tent to stay overnight.
Take your pick from the best free hot pools in Rotorua
Finding Rotorua's free geothermally-heated pools is like mixing a eco-walk with a hot bath. These places are more-or-less just as nature intended, so you won't find fancy facilities. And every hot soak will lead to a great story to retell on social media. Here are four hot pool experiences in the Rotorua area that don't cost a bean:
- The Bridge at Waiotapu: Also known as 'Hot and Cold Springs' this natural spa is on Waiotapu Loop Road. You can alternate between hot and cold water, which makes the experience even more interesting. There's forest all around, complete with native birdsong
- Kerosene Creek: One of the North Island's most popular free soaks, Kerosene Creek is just off Old Waiotapu Road. Its most outstanding feature is a hot waterfall. To avoid crowds, arrive early in the day. A rustic changing shed provides a place to tog-up
- Waterfall Spout Bath: A cold river crosses a hot river to provide a memorable hot bath. The ground is muddy, so wear your flip flops
- Kuirau Park: There are dedicated foot baths at this geothermal park in Rotorua. If you've been hiking up a storm, your tootsies are going to love this treat
Mud pools in Rotorua for an all-over body treatment
Have you ever had a mud spa? If you have, Rotorua is a new trophy to add to your mud-memory collection. If you haven't, then you're in for a rare treat. Either way, put a Rotorua mud spa on your must-do list. Getting coated in Rotorua's glistening geothermal mud, which is rich in minerals, is an experience you'll never forget. Here are some of the places that will get you all muddied up:
- Hell's Gate Mud Bath: Hell's Gate, a highly-active geothermal attraction area, has New Zealand's only outdoor mud bath. Discovered by Māori when they first settled in Rotorua, it's great for easing aches and pains. Fun too, if you're in the mood for a mud fight
- Polynesian Pools: Rotorua's premier hot pool and spa complex at the edge of the lake has a treatment called 'mud indulgence therapy' - it's like a mud bath, but in a less messy form
- QE Health Geothermal Spa: Located at The Bathhouse within Rotorua Museum, this spa makes individual mud baths on request. They also do mud packs and wraps
The ultimate massage therapy in Rotorua
Who doesn't love a massage? It's the fastest way to tell your brain "I'm on holiday!", so that you can relax and enjoy every moment of your travels. In Rotorua you'll find all sorts of massage therapies, however the signature treatment is Aix hydrotherapy, which dates back to 1903.
At Polynesian Spa, Aix begins with a total body exfoliation, then multiple jets of warm water are turned on to wash away the scrub. The pressure of the water gives you a light massage, but the real magic happens when your therapist adds to the experience with a hands-on massage. You'll dive into a deeper level of relaxation and leave the real world for a while. Aix therapy is also available at QE Health, which uses water from Rotorua's famous Rachel Spring.