Last Updated On 11th July 2023 By Lauren | Wild Lovely World
A visit to New Zealand’s North Island would not be complete without a dip in the beautiful hot pools. Due to the North Island’s vibrant geothermal activity, there are many hot pools to choose from. However, a visit to a relaxing spa doesn’t have to break the bank! If (like me) you often backpack on a budget, then you’ll want to know where the best cheap hot pools in the North Island are.
There are several great cheap hot pools you can visit all over the North Island. In this post, you will discover the best cheap hot pools you can visit on a budget on the North Island of New Zealand. All of these hot pools you can visit for under $34 NZD (per adult entry). I will go through the highlights of each hot pool as well as the pros and cons, plus the location.
The 6 Best Cheap Hot Pools In New Zealand’s North Island – All Under $34!
6. Tokaanu Thermal Pools, Lake Taupo – $8
The Tokaanu Thermal Pools are located south of Lake Taupo in the center of the North Island. Tokaanu is a small village with a thermal stream running through it.
The healing waters of Tokaanu have been used for generations. People use the boiling waters for cooking food and for boiling flax in preparation for weaving.
It is an interesting place to visit for the hot pools and also for the natural geothermal formations and sites you can see there. These are worth going to see even if you don’t visit the hot pools!
Pros of Tokaanu Thermal Pools:
- Cheap entry price at only $8 per adult to the public pool.
- Unlimited time to enjoy the public pool.
- Close to the famous Tongariro Alpine Crossing walk, so you can enjoy a dip after your hike.
- Interesting free geothermal walk next to the hot pools.
Cons of Tokaanu Thermal Pools:
- Only one large public pool.
- In the public pool, the water is chlorinated.
- To enjoy the natural hot springs, you must pay $12 extra per adult entry to the private pools.
- For the private pools, there is a 20-minute time limit.
- There are no hot showers available at Tokaanu Thermal Pools. The changing rooms and facilities are very basic.
5. Mount Hot Pools, Bay of Plenty – $19
Mount Maunganui is an awesome place to visit on New Zealand’s North Island. This beautiful, laid-back coastal town has a pretty white sandy beach, hip cafes and stylish boutiques. Hike the extinct volcano for a workout with amazing ocean views or jump on a surfboard and ride the waves. The Mount Hot Pools are the perfect place to relax afterwards.
Pros of Mount Maunganui Hot Pools:
- Several hot pools in the complex, all included.
- The pools have varying temperatures, from 32 to 40 degrees C.
- Beautiful, central location in Mount Maunganui.
- Open until 10 pm so you can enjoy the hot water in the evening.
- Massages and treatments are available.
- Aquafit fitness classes are on several times a week and cost just $9 to join (hot pool entry included!).
Cons of Mount Maunganui Hot Pools:
- A little more expensive at $19 per adult entry.
- No swimwear dryer in the changing rooms.
- Small car park.
- The pools are popular so can get very busy.
4. Ocean Spa Napier, Hawkes Bay – $10.70
With a super central location within Napier city centre, the Ocean Spa is a great place to visit during your trip to Hawkes Bay. Napier is a cool city with interesting art deco buildings and plenty of things to do, so it’s worth spending time here. Ocean Spa is located right on the waterfront overlooking the sea.
Pros of Ocean Spa Napier:
- Many pools to try in the complex, including a large outdoor swimming pool, hot tubs and cooler pools.
- Cheap entry at only $10.70 per adult.
- Central location in Napier and right on the coast.
- Plenty of free parking available (up to 3 hours).
- A sauna and steam room are also available.
- Waterfalls and massage jets in some pools.
Cons of Ocean Spa Napier:
- The changing facilities are basic.
- The pools are very popular with locals, young people and kids so it can get busy (and noisy!).
3. Morere Hot Springs, Wairoa – $14
Fiachra and I discovered Morere Hot Springs by chance as we were doing a road trip on the East Coast of the North Island. We hadn’t heard of this little gem before, but we are so glad we stumbled across it!
Nestled into the beautiful bush just north of the Mahia Peninsula, the natural hot springs of Morere have been utilised since the late 1800s. First used by Maori for cooking and then as a relaxing mineral retreat, Morere sticks to its roots in a thriving rainforest reserve. Bathe in rustic hot and cold pools surrounded by Nikau palms and listen to native birdsong.
You won’t regret making a stop at these wonderful hot pools!
Pros of Morere Hot Springs:
- Completely natural, hot ancient seawater.
- A variety of pools including a large hot, indoor swimming pool, a cold outdoor swimming pool (near the entrance), and 2 hot pools plus a cold plunge pool in the forest (Nikau Pools).
- Set amongst the beautiful, peaceful rainforest.
- Entry is $14 per adult.
- Plenty of free parking.
Cons of Morere Hot Springs:
- The changing facilities are quite old, and some showers weren’t working when we visited.
- No water refill points – must ask the staff at the reception desk.
- Remote location.
Find out more about Morere Hot Springs here on their website.
2. Polynesian Spa, Rotorua – $33.95
If you’re in need of a real treat, Polynesian Spa is the place to do it!
This beautiful hot springs complex is located right on the shores of Lake Rotorua. It has a long history, as the site was where the first-ever bath building in Rotorua was built in the 1800s.
Since the Polynesian Spa’s establishment in 1972, it has won many awards including being recognised as one of the Top 10 Spas in the World.
The Polynesian Spa is the most expensive hot pool location on this list, but I assure you it is well worth it!
Pros of Polynesian Spa:
- Multiple pools in the complex.
- No time limit – stay as long as you like!
- Natural alkaline and acidic mineral pools – one of a kind in New Zealand!
- Varying temperature pools, from 38 to 41 degrees C.
- Historic bathhouse with an interesting design.
- Uninterrupted views across Lake Rotorua.
- Central location in Rotorua.
- Large swimming pool and reflexology walk in the Pavilion Pools.
- Spacious changing rooms.
Cons of Polynesian Spa:
- There are many entry options which can be confusing – my recommendation is to go for the Pavilion Pools.
- This is the budget hot pool experience to splash out on – adult entry costs $33.95 to the Pavilion Pools.
Tips For Visiting The Polynesian Spa
When making your booking for the Polynesian Spa, go for the Pavilion Pools option.
The Pavilion Pools are an adult-only area with 3 acidic pools (from the Priest Spring) and 5 alkaline pools (from the Rachel Spring). There’s also a deep pool for swimming and a reflexology walk.
When I visited the Pavilion Pools, I really enjoyed the different pools and the atmosphere of the complex. It’s also the most budget-friendly option at the Polynesian Spa. I highly recommend it!
Book your tickets for the Pavilion Pools at the Polynesian Spa here (Get Your Guide).
Freedom Camping In Rotorua
Across the road from the Polynesian Spa is a great freedom camping spot. Park your camper at the Government Gardens self-contained camping area.
1. Waikite Valley Thermal Pools, Waikato – $22
Waikite Valley is a hidden gem. Nestled in beautiful surroundings between Rotorua and Taupo, this beautiful hot spring resort is a must if you’re in the area.
Waikite Valley Thermal Pools are the best hot pools I visited on the North Island. I really loved the variety of the pools, friendly staff, gorgeous surroundings, and their awesome campsite.
Pros of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools:
- Beautiful and peaceful location in the countryside.
- The lovely and relaxing vibe in the pool complex with a well-designed layout and features.
- Many pools to choose from including a tranquil garden pool, a large bathing pool and hot tubs.
- Stunning views over the steamy Waikite Valley and bubbling Otamakokore Stream.
- Soft calcite-laden mineral waters in temperatures from 35 to 40 degrees C.
- 100% pure natural geothermal water – the only thermal pool complex like this of its size in New Zealand.
- No sulphur or chlorine smell.
- Short and interesting walkway to the Te Manaroa Spring – the largest single source of natural boiling in New Zealand – wow!
- Peaceful campsite on location with showers and kitchen facilities for only $28 per adult for a non-powered site. Campers get unlimited access to the pool complex!
Cons of Waikite Valley Thermal Pools:
- A little remote and in the middle of nowhere between Rotorua and Taupo. You’ll have to make a special trip to visit these hot pools.
- The changing facilities are a little basic.
Tips For Visiting The Waikite Valley Hot Pools
Camping At Waikite Valley Hot Pools
Stay at the campsite at Waikite Valley Hot Pools and enjoy unlimited access to the pool complex as part of your stay!
Entry to the hot pools on their own is usually $22 per adult, but you can pay an extra $6 and camp overnight ($28 per adult in a non-powered site).
The campsite is right next to the pool complex. There are powered and non-powered sites. There’s a little kitchen for campers as well as laundry, bathrooms and showers, and a geothermally heated drying room!
The campsite is so peaceful and in a lovely location. I really enjoyed relaxing there and the atmosphere of camping near the hot spring was really cool. It was nice having the freedom to use the hot pools as we wished. It was definitely worth it!
Free Guide Map To The Best Budget Hot Pools In The North Island, New Zealand
I’ve created this handy map with all the best-budget hot pools on the North Island. Click the star to save this and view it in Google Maps. I hope this helps you to have a happy soak!
6 Budget Friendly Hot Pools, North Island, New Zealand – Thanks For Reading!
Planning to visit these Hot Pools in North Island, New Zealand? Or are there any you love that you think deserve to be on this list? Let me know in the comments!
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