11 best South Island hot springs, New Zealand

If you’re wondering where to find the best South Island hot springs in New Zealand, you’ve come to the right place. From beautiful hot pools overlooking stunning New Zealand scenery to rejuvenating natural hot springs, South Island will invite you to take a soak in one of these spectacular environments. 

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Hot springs are the perfect pick-me-up to feel relaxed and restored with eased sore muscles. South Island has everything from luxury spas and family-friendly hot pool resorts to tranquil retreats overlooking misty mountains. 

And since New Zealand is a geothermically active country, it’s one of the few places where you can soak in hot pools naturally heated by the earth’s interior. The water was heated underground by magma (or molten rock) which remains close to the surface in volcanic environments and rises back up to the surface as geysers, hot springs and mud pools. 

You’ll find these naturally heated springs across New Zealand, with the many Rotorua hot springs and Hot Water Beach near Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel Peninsular (where you can ‘dig your own hot tub’ on a beach) on the North Island among the most famous. 

But thankfully, for those of us living in or travelling to the South Island, there are also some fantastic hot springs across this mountainous region. They’re just as beautiful (if not more so) and have their unique flair for enchanting visitors.

Whether you want to wind down after hiking and exploring Aoraki Mount Cook National Park or take your partner somewhere extraordinary for a special occasion, there is a South Island hot pool waiting for everyone. Many of the below hot pool recommendations have various entry options – from private spas with additional massage treatments to shared thermal pools with kid-friendly facilities.

And best of all, hot springs are a great year-round activity despite the variable New Zealand weather since they’ll even keep you warm in the cosy Winter months. These NZ hot pools will give you a greater appreciation of our relationship with nature in all its varied forms.

The best South Island hot springs in New Zealand 


Located along the stunning Lewis Pass, driving down this winding mountain road already sets the scene for the thermal delights ahead. Maruia Springs Thermal Resort is spectacular from the offset, with pools and facilities overlooking the picturesque Maruia River and towering Southern Alps. 

Although Maruia Hot Springs feels like a wellness retreat, it comes without the luxury price tag. My first impression was that it was too good for me! Though, of course, it was very welcoming, I’d just never got to visit a place like this before!

Included with a day pass or overnight stay (with camping, glamping pods or luxury rooms available), visitors enjoy all the benefits of its natural mineral pools, which are believed to contain healing properties while nourishing the skin and relieving sore muscles. Your visit includes access to the wellness lounges, a sauna, and a steam room.

Overnight visitors can also join in with wellness activities such as yoga and nature walks (even if you are just staying in your campervan!) Completely optional add-ons are available to treat yourself with – think massages, a healthy 3-course dinner menu, and more.

I visited the serene springs on a misty day when the fog hung low over the mountains. As I sat in the natural mineral pools, the steam rose around me while light rain peppered my skin – a strangely perfect balance of healing heat and refreshing rain.

This was, and I say this quite emphatically, the most magically peaceful moment of a hectic and exhausting road trip and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places on the South Island.

Price for sauna and bathing:

$45 for access to pools, saunas, steam room, foot bath and zen chi machines.

There is a vast range of ticket options available, including accommodation packages. I booked a self-contained campsite (unpowered) for $75 pp. This included 24-hour access to the hot pools, steam rooms, relaxation lounge, restaurant, hiking trails, and wellness experiences.

Opening Hours: 5 days a week, from Thursday 3pm – Tuesday 11am. Reception hours are 8am – 9pm from Friday – Monday.

(Overnight guests have 24-hour access to pools.)

Book Tickets: ://www.maruiahotsprings.nz

Address: State Highway 7, Lewis Pass 7895, New Zealand


Hamner Springs is perhaps the most well-known spa town in New Zealand and undoubtedly one of the best hot springs in the South Island.

Known for the variety of pool options, stunning location, and exceptional facilities, it’s easy to understand the popularity. Since the 1880s, lucky tourists have understood the magic of visiting this natural thermal resort. At the same time, visitors from Christchurch can enjoy a weekend away just a two-hour drive away from their cities. 

Hamner Springs has a one-size-fits-all approach with thermal, mineral, sulphur and freshwater pools, private thermal pools, and a large family area with water slides. There’s an entry option for everyone, and knows just how to combine ‘relaxation’ with ‘fun’!

Price for the outdoor complex, including waterslides:

  • Adults: $35pp or Adults over 60: $22 
  • Children 5-15: $25 (Children under 5: FREE)
  • Family: $89
  • Two-day passes are also available

Price for private thermal pools

  • 30 minutes: $45 pp
  • 60 minutes: $55 pp

Opening Hours: 10am – 7pm daily

Book Tickets: https://hanmersprings.co.nz/

Address: 42 Amuri Avenue, Hanmer Springs 7334, New Zealand 


Coined as a luxurious spa retreat, these gorgeous South Island hot springs are just an hour from Christchurch, set amidst the foothills of the Southern Alps with water sourced from the mountains.

Adults can unwind at the Tranquility Pools and solar-powered hot tubs before indulging in their ‘swim up’ bar – an adult-exclusive poolside canape and bar service. To complete a luxury hot spring experience, book a facial, wellness or massage treatment to finish your stay feeling entirely at ease. 

For family-friendly hot pools, Opuke also offers Discover Pools. This fun, laid-back experience contains a jump pool and ‘crazy river’. The starlit ‘caves’ and relaxing observation pools are also open to everyone.

Price for access to the Tranquility Pools & Discovery Pools

  • 2 hours (adults only): $59
  • 4 hours (adults only): $74
  • With private solar tub add-on: $89

Price for access to the Discovery Pools

  • Adults: $29
  • Children: $19 (free for children under 3)
  • Family pass: $84 

Opening Hours: 10am – 7:30pm

Book Tickets: https://www.opuke.nz/

Address: 35 Mount Hutt Station Road, Methven 7782, New Zealand


Tekapo Springs is undoubtedly one of the best South Island hot springs in New Zealand. Not only is it well-located in Tekapo, a small town on the way to Queenstown from Christchurch and not far from Mount Cook, but springs are also located in the MacKenzie Country.

This region contains one of the world’s largest dark sky reserves. You can combine soaking with stargazing at Tekapo Springs, as they offer after-dark access to the pools – complete with a poolside guide to take you on a journey through the constellations. Perfect for a romantic evening after exploring the scenery of Lake Tekapo!

Along the same vein as Hamner Springs, these relaxing pools also have adult and kid-friendly options. There is also an outdoor skating rink on-site to round out a fun day of activities. Or enjoy beauty and body treatments at the Glacial Day Spa, where every treatment room has lake and mountain views – certainly one of the most romantic things to do in Tekapo!

Price for hot pools and aqua play:

  • Adults: $35
  • Senior: $30
  • Children: $20
  • Family pass: $99

Price for 1.5 hour ‘soak in the stars’ tour

  • From $119

Opening Hours:

  • Monday – Friday: 11am – 7pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 7pm

Book Tickets: https://tekaposprings.co.nz/

Address: 6 Lakeside Drive, Lake Tekapo 7999, New Zealand

Tekapo Hot Springs Have You Ever Miles Holden
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Contributed by Francesca of Homeroom Travel

The Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools are one of the best hot springs on the South Island, New Zealand. These hot pools are the perfect place to relax after spending a day hiking in the Franz Josef area. 

The Hot Pools are located inside the Glacier Base building in Franz Josef. Visitors have the option of using the three communal pools or booking a private pool. The pools are located outdoors in the rainforest, which is a very pleasant atmosphere. 

These pools are a very pleasurable experience as the water is warm, and visitors can stay for however long they want. Overall, the atmosphere is very pleasant, quiet, and relaxing, so visitors will not want to leave. 

There are men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers and swimsuit dryers as well. Inside the locker room and by the pools are lockers. Ones that lock cost extra. Make sure to bring your own towel as it costs to rent them. 

Plan to book tickets online ahead of time as they will be cheaper, and you can guarantee admission. They do limit the number of people inside the pools at one time. Afterwards, opt to eat at the Snakebite Brewery for some delicious Asian food and good brews. 

Prices are to be updated soon. 

Opening Hours: currently closed (or, in their own words, hibernated)

Address: 63 Cron Street, Franz Josef / Waiau 7886, New Zealand

Franz Josef 1
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The Glacier Hot Pools are the perfect way to unwind after a glacier trek


Waiho Hot Pools are just across the road from Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools and provide similar rainforest scenery and idyllic wood-fired private hot tubs.

With just four tubs on site, Waiho Hot Pools keeps things simple while adding all the details that make a relaxing activity memorable – such as fern-lined paths and lanterns. The wood smoke scent adds a unique addition to the experience.


Omarama Hot Pools were the first I hoped to visit on the South Island. Complete with outdoor cedar wood tubs filled with heated mountain water, the hot tubs are home to beautiful natural views and have an authentic calming energy.

With views of the lake and mountains, the tubs were designed to immerse visitors in a healthy spa facility that could soak their worries. Each tub is private and can be enjoyed in the daytime for mountain views or at night for stargazing. In keeping with the virtues of pure mountain water, they use sustainable and natural resources throughout.

Finally – extra points to Omarama for the inclusion of their private, accessible tub. Complete with a sloping ramp and rail, request at the time of booking. 

Unfortunately, my visit got cancelled the night before due to unexpected large floods in the area. In fact, the whole Tekapo to Wanaka road was closed, and I had to reroute my South Island road trip completely towards Dunedin and The Catlins! So, if you make it to Hot Tubs Omarama, I would love to hear how it went!

Price for 90 minutes in a private hot tub:

  • $68 NZD for 1 person
  • $60 NZD pp for 2 people
  • $50 NZD pp for 3 people 
  • $45 NZD pp for 4+ people
  • Children 5-14: $25
  • Children under 5: $20 

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday – Thursday: 11am – 8pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 11am – 10pm 

Book tickets: hottubsomarama.co.nz

Address: 29 Omarama Ave Main, Twizel Highway, Omarama 9448, New Zealand

Omarana Hot Tubs New Zealand
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Photo by Miles Holden


Welcome Flat hot pools are one of the only free hot pools on the South Island.

However, the free entry comes with a rather challenging entrance, as Welcome Flat is also one of New Zealand’s most remote known springs.

Located along the Copland Track, Welcome Flat is around a seven-hour trek from the nearest road.

But if you’re up for the challenge, these free South Island hot springs reap big rewards. The coloured pool is flanked by snowcapped mountains – if spectacular scenery is your thing, you can’t beat this spot. 

While hot pools are usually a year-round activity, visiting these in winter is not recommended as the track can be dangerous. 

Price: FREE

Opening Hours: N/A

Book Tickets: N/A

Address: Westland National Park, 7886, New Zealand – the beginning of the Copland Track is around 26km South of Fox Glacier on State Highway 6. 


Queenstown is the tourist and adventure capital of New Zealand, and whoever decided to build this Onsen-inspired luxury spa here was in with a genius idea. Who wouldn’t want to soak in a private cedarwood tub after a tiring day skiing, hiking, or visiting Queenstown’s best Lord of the Rings locations, right?

In contrast to the adrenaline junkie activities, Queenstown Onsen now stands out as one of the best experiences in Queenstown. Each heated tub has terrific views over Shotover Canyon.

While booking is always recommended during busy seasons, it’s worth booking a tub at Queenstown Onsen well in advance all year.

The onsen is a 10-minute drive from Queenstown, but they offer a complimentary shuttle for all visitors – so you can fully relax and enjoy these Queenstown hot pools.

Price for 1 hour in onsen hot pools (includes towels, a complimentary glass of the wine, beer or choice, plus ice cream, crisps or chocolate):

One bather: $107.50

Two bathers: $165

Three bathers: $215 

Four bathers: $250

Children are also welcome for an additional $20, though evening sessions are restricted to 12+.

Other ticketing options include the outdoor onsen and the ‘Serenity Soak & Spa’ or ‘Relaxation Experience’ for a personalised soak followed by beauty treatment or massage. 

Opening Hours: 9 am – 10 pm daily

Book Tickets: onsen.co.nz

Address: 62 Arthurs Point Road, Arthurs Point, Queenstown 9371, New Zealand

ONSEN Hot Pools
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Built in 2018, Fiordland Eco Retreat offers something completely different. Unlike the other South Island options, this final suggestion is actually an accommodation rather than a specific hot spring resort.

The three-bedroom retreat is self-contained, created explicitly with sustainability and nature in mind. That means you’ll have incredible scenic views at every turn – and the hot tub is no exception. 

The private spa pool hot tub and heated outdoor shower highlight an outdoor space with 260-degree panoramic views. Designed with relaxation, visitors are encouraged to enjoy the view while soaking their sore muscles and enjoying a glass of wine. Due to its minimal light pollution, it also doubles as a private spot to enjoy the night sky. 

If you’re looking for the best things to do in West Coast New Zealand, this Fiordland hot pool would be a magical way to have a luxury travel experience that still takes you back to nature.

Book: Fiordland Eco Retreat

Address: 111 Ramparts Road, RD1, Te Anau 9679, New Zealand

What makes South Island hot springs so special?

Each of these beautiful hot springs on the South Island has something magical to offer. But for me, the enchantment with New Zealand’s natural hot pools lies in their reminder of our connection with nature. The fact that water from the mountains and rivers surrounding us was heated from the earth below us and then harnessed to heal us is pretty extraordinary. I mean, what a cycle. 

When we enjoy these springs, take a moment to consider that both the scenery around you and the water you’re soaking in is all part of the same environment – as are you. This is also why I feel a particular affinity towards the hot pool destinations that see sustainable practices as the only authentic way to develop activities that are authentically entwined with the unique nature of our Earth. The best way to sustain and enjoy wellness activities is to treat nature with the same virtues.

No matter which of these South Island hot springs you choose, I hope you have a wonderful and rejuvenating stay!

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  1. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the privilege to visit NZ but every time a see a photo of anything there it looks MAGICAL. Thanks for wonderful recommendations, I will definitely save these places for sometime in the future, hopefully.

  2. I would absolutely visit these hot springs out I ever get to travel to New Zealand. What a way to soothe aching muscles after a long hike.

  3. They all look so amazing! Would love to check out that Eco resort! New Zealand is on the bucket list! Thanks for the great info!

  4. This is such a good list! I have actually been to Omarama Hot Pools and loved it, I really want to visit more next trip. Thanks for including all the prices as well

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