Hot mineral spring spa in Rotorua. © John Sones

Spas and relaxation: natural hot springs in Rotorua

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A geothermal body wrap? Right this way, ma’am. Or are you here for the organic facial, sir? Or this way for the reflexology walk, the pair of you...

Yep, while the mass of motels along Fenton Street has earned Rotorua the nickname of ‘Rotovegas’, one of the key reasons so many folk flock here, and have done so since the late 1800s, is the waters.

That whole ‘taking the waters’ thing, which seems so quaint and is well documented at the excellent Rotorua Museum at the Government Gardens, is still a massive drawcard in these parts. It just comes with a thoroughly modern twist.

The alkaline mineral pools have given rise to some serious spa centres — the best known and located being the Polynesian Spa on the lake’s edge. Soaking in a pool at twilight while looking out over the lake — does it get any better than that? And if you want a bit more than a soak, there is a menu of treatments and ways of enjoying these natural wonders throughout the region that would take a (very relaxed) lifetime to work through.
Mud treatments, hydrotherapy, decadent therapies that will have you feeling utterly fantastic, in a very slowed down kinda style. Your wellness factor will rise with the wow factor, for this is a seductive indulgence, one that makes the most of the thermal activity which flows beneath the city. You’ll finally understand the meaning of ‘natural attraction’.

And if you’re indulging in all the extreme sports on offer in the region during the day — rafting, mountain biking, trekking — you’ll have earned that soak at the end of it all. Lie back and think of . . . well, probably nothing very much at all. Now you’re on holiday.

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