Waikite Valley Thermal Pools

A highlight of our trip to the North Island of New Zealand was our visit to the relaxing Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. The water that fills these pools each day is taken from the Te Manaroa natural boiling spring, and as it’s 100 percent natural thermal water, it’s not treated with any chemicals or filtered or recycled back into the pools. The water is anywhere from 35 to 38 degrees C. It’s probably the only real thermal pool I’ve been in where it not only felt good and relaxing, but the ambiance and setup of the pools was as natural as it could be. Some of the pools are set against a backdrop of actual natural and active thermal pools; these were our favorite ones to soak in. It was quite cold outside since it is the end of New Zealand’s winter and it was early evening when we went, but once we were in the water, it was steamy and relaxing.

The last time we were in a “thermal pool” was in Banff last summer, when we mistakenly went into a crappy pool that was overcrowded with too many tourists (loud, likely mainland Chinese ones), and the pool was chlorinated and felt like a regular swimming pool. I think we lasted about 10 or 15 minutes in the pool before we just got out and left. That was a hack pool and had contaminated water that wasn’t natural.

But this thermal pool in Rotorua – this was amazing. It unfortunately didn’t have enough healing powers to cure me of my illness, but it temporarily made me feel very comfortable and clear.

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