Okoroire Hot Springs
One of the things I loved most about living in Japan was the onsen, or hot springs. So, as New Zealand has so many volcanoes, I was really hoping we’d be able to experience a Kiwi version! After we’d had a day exploring the volcanic, geothermal hot springs in Wai-O-Tapu, I was really ready to climb into a hot pool! I mean, after a long walk, there is nothing better than relaxing in a hot bath. Luckily, we had plans to meet friends at the Okoroire Hot Springs. This hotel is located about half way between Lake Taupo (where we saw those Maori carvings) and Auckland.
The Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel
We’d booked a room in the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel. The hotel was first built in 1889, and it has been restored pretty recently so it was a interesting historical place to visit. Visiting the Okoroire Hot Springs was included in the price of our room, but if you don’t want to stay the night, you can pay $10 and just visit their thermal baths.
Our room was pleasant. The shower was a little rubbish. But it was still fine for getting us nice and clean after the hot springs. The hair dryer was a good’un so I liked this hotel! Am I the only one who judges hotels by the quality of their hair driers? It seems like such a minor issue, but I’m always happier if I can dry my hair easily!
Wandering down to the thermal pools
To get to the Okoroire Hot Springs, you have to follow a path through some beautiful trees. The staff at reception said it was a long walk down, but it is only about 300m!
I loved all the summer flowers that line the route down to the hot springs. It is a lovely setting with plenty of birds chattering in the bushes. Plus, you can hear the river roaring past below.
The Okoroire Hot Springs
We arrived at the Okoroire Hot Springs just as other people were leaving, so we had the whole place to ourselves. It’s not quite as clean as the hot springs I am used to in Japan. You don’t have to scrub yourself squeaky clean before you get into the water! It’s also slightly strange to wear swimming costumes in a bath! But when in Rome eh!
The top most pool was the hottest. It was a bit like an outdoor bath. It wasn’t super hot, but pretty pleasant as hot springs go.
This is the view down from that pool. You can see (and hear) the river. It all seems quite tropical and relaxing.
I love hot, hot springs, so I spent the longest time in this pool! The bottom of the pool is lined with stones, and the edge is wood, so this one was the most Japanese-y.
Next you follow some steps down to two other pools. Down below, the second pool was a lot cooler, and felt sort of slimy. I don’t mind, I mean, the water felt lovely BUT it was a sort of brown colour and it smelt a little more *ehem* volcanic.
While we explored this pool, my other friends appeared (yay!) But as this pool was a bit slimy, and not very hot, we didn’t stay in it for very long.
The third and final pool was a gorgeous blue colour. This pool was lined by tiny pebbles. If you dig your feet into them little bubbles come out. We were told this would release more hot water from the hot spring below, but although I saw the bubbles, it didn’t seem to release more hot water.
This is probably the best pool for people that like bathing, but don’t want to sit in hot water. It was just relaxing and warm.
So, those are the Okoroire Hot Springs. In Japan, you’d finish a bathe with a final shower. We did the same in Okoroire; We walked back up to the hotel and had a shower before heading to the restaurant for dinner.
If you arrive in the evening though, be careful! You need to order dinner before 8:30pm. After that you can’t get any food!
We ordered some pork belly and some steak, both were alright. It’s like British pub-level food. Not amazing, but not bad. It all tasted better with some Kiwi wine!
If I came back to this part of New Zealand again, I’d be totally up for staying at the Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel again. I’d also be up for having another dip in those thermal pools!
19 thoughts on “Okoroire Hot Springs”
Looks really lovely. Hot springs are such a treat!
They really are! We miss out on this sort of thing in the UK and Ireland. I guess we have Bath…but I can’t think of many others!
Josy, your posts about New Zealand have been AMAZING! I, like you, love hot springs. I’ve been to hot springs in Costa Rica, New Mexico, and Wyoming. My favorite so far were the springs in Costa Rica. They were the perfect temperature – the kind you can sit in all day – and the water filters non-stop, so they feel relatively clean. There were also many pools throughout the springs area – so it’s not difficult to find a private pool. The hot springs in Wyoming were slimy, there were lots of naked bodies, and many old, sweaty men. We had hiked awhile to get there, so we had to take a dip, but we didn’t last long. The New Zealand hot springs and the hot springs in Japan both sound amazing! Thanks for sharing another slice of your adventure. 🙂
In Japan they are HOT! Well, there are various temperatures, but they always have a few pools that make me go bright red! I love it when you have a hot pool next to a cold pool, so you can alternate!
Costa Rican hot springs sound gorgeous! I sort of like the slimy pools too – at least they make your skin feel nice!
p.s. I am so chuffed you like these Kiwi posts!
Oh my god, this looks & sounds so lovely. I need to be there now.
Me too! It’s a bit more chilly here in Canada. I would LOVE to be back in hot springs!
I think it’d be just what the doctor ordered.
It is always interesting to read a visitors impression on New Zealand. There have been a few bloggers who I follow who like you have recently visited my homeland. Might I add, I have not even had a slight twinge of homesickness 🙂 Enjoyable post, Josy!
I felt the same seeing your posts about London! It is really nice to see your home through the eyes of a visitor. 😀
What I really want to know is just how hot is hot lol I tend to become a broiled lobster in what other people call warm but I would love to relax here it just looks fab. #flyawayfriday
I think it was less than 40 degrees in the hottest pool It wasn’t as hot as my baths at home. The lower pools were more like 35 degrees(ish)
However as it is natural, it might get hotter on some days!
It’s so nice to see that you loved Japan hotsprings (I was born and raised in Japan!) because I’m OBSESSED with them too! It sucks in the US since nobody takes baths (insert eyeroll emoji) and the tubs here are tiny. I’m currently in NZ as I write this on my honeymoon and kicking myself for not reading this before! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m back!!! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday – see you again this week! xo
Yattaaaa! Another Japanese hot spring lover!! 🙂
Hot springs are the thing I miss most about Japan. You guys have the best bathing culture.
To be fair, we saw other hot springs in NZ, like near lake Tekapo BUT as we climbed the mountain and looked down into them, we decided we didn’t want to go in. It looked more like a pool park than an onsen! So, in some ways Japan spoiled me(!)
oh these pools are epic. I did Onsen hot pools in NZ and could totally go for those one in Japan! I can tolerate quite a hot temperature so this would be up my alley. The food looks fantastic too! Thanks for heading over to Fly Away Friday! Hope to see you this friday!
You would looove the hot springs in Japan then! There are so many gorgeous ones. I think I’ll always like the places like this (with outdoor pools) best of all!
Okoroire holds incredible memories for me. I worked at the hotel as a waitress in the summer of 1967. The pools were very natural then, with fences and changing rooms on two sides for privacy. I used to finish my shift, pick up the key and walk through the line of trees to skinny dip on my own. Hotel was lively with locals and Auckland visitors. Great food including fish and chips for breakfast. Beer was 7 cents a glass.
Thank you for the lovely comment Doris! Okoroire sounds fantastic back then! It was pretty quiet when we visited, but we still loved it.