Looking for Free Hot Springs in New Zealand North Island
New Zealand has numerous natural hot springs because of underground volcanic thermal water. At most hot springs they build fancy hot pools but you can still find some free-to-access hot springs in New Zealand North Island.
Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs
Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs were the first hot springs we visited and they were amazing. They’re right next to the road, so you can leave all your clothes in the car if you can manage to get a parking spot. That’s why the Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs are the best free hot springs in New Zealand North Island when it rains.
At the Hot ‘n’ Cold hot springs there are two streams merging, one hot and one cold hence the name. So you can move between hot and cold water without leaving the water. And I was really surprised by just how hot the hot water was. It was that kinda hot where it’s super hot when you get in and even after being in the water for a while it still feels nice and warm.
Near Taupo is the Spa Thermal Park at the Otumuheke Stream. A short walk from the car park you can find a little hot waterfall creating small hot pools before the water runs into the cold river.
The hot pool is free to enter and there are even changing rooms and public toilets available. The only downside of the Otumuheke Stream is that it cools down a lot during rain, so when we visited it was too cold to soak in the water. Too bad, otherwise these would have been the best free hot springs in New Zealand North Island.
Hot water beach
At the hot water beach in Coromandel you simply dig a hole into the sand and with that, you create your personal hot pool. Sounds absolutely amazing! Unfortunately, during my holiday in New Zealand, it rained so much that we skipped Coromandel. So I don’t have any first-hand experience with these free hot springs in New Zealand North Island.
Let me know in the comments if you have been to the hot water beach and how it was.
Tokaanu Thermal Pools
Online you can see amazing pictures of a natural hot spring at Tokaanu. We didn’t read the online description too closely though, so we missed that the pictures online are from the actual hot spring. The actual hot spring is about 100°C, so way too hot to swim. You can see the hot springs for. free behind the building. Because of the rain these hot springs in New Zealand North Island looked rather brown than the stunningly blue-green we saw on the online pictures.
You can swim in the Tokaanu thermal pools which is a public swimming pool. Since we were already there we got a cheap ticket to the public pool, they also have more expensive private pools. Well… it wasn’t what we expected at all. It just looked like a normal swimming pool with an ice-cold shower next to it. At least the water was super warm. And a good thing about the hot pools was that you could rent a towel there, so we didn’t have to use ours after swimming in sulphur water.
Tips for bathing in natural hot springs
Most natural hot springs in New Zealand North Island contain sulphur and that’s why they smell not that great. So it’s best to wash your towel and swimwear soon after visiting the hot springs. Sulphur can also change the colour of your swimwear, at least it gave my bikini a permanent orangey colour.
Excursion to South Island: Amethyst hot springs
We loved the hot springs in New Zealand North Island so much, it was one of my favourite things to do in the North Island of New Zealand in bad weather. we also wanted to add some hot springs to our itinerary for the South Island of New Zealand.
We read about the Amethyst hot springs online and since we were in the area we decided to check it out. After a short walk from the car park you see the first way sign, a painted rock on the ground. We followed the sign until we found another sign, again a painted rock on the ground, with very confusing directions. In the end, we walked around for about an hour and didn’t find the hot springs. I think we didn’t find them because it rained a lot on the day we were looking for them so the river and streams were all overly full with water.