Tarawera Hot Springs [CLOSED]

Tarawera Hot Springs [CLOSED]
Taupo-Napier Highway

**UPDATE Aug 2013** Someone has pulled the hoses out so the tubs can no longer be used. (Kereama Williams, Hastings) is this still the status or have the hoses been replaced thanks [Trudy Knibbs , tauranga]


On the main highway between Napier and Taupo is the Tarawera tearooms (Phone 06 834 9755, open 7 days). There is a rough track from there leading to the pool. Park at the tea rooms and have a bite to eat and ask them where the track is. [Mike, NZ]/n

The tubs are a 15 minute walk down the only gravel track. You can actually drive two thirds of the way there if you don't mind scratching your car up a bit. [Sheldon]

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Bather Reviews
Actually, as at October 2016, one of the pools was not cut up, and was still working. (Am writing about 3 years later now. ) Someone had fed a new hose into this pool. Water pretty hot, but enjoyable!
Rating: 7/10
T Williams - NZ
13th October 2019
Dropped passed to see these old historic pools. DOC have cut the baths up now so that they will not hold water at all. A shame to see that these pools have been abandoned. Would be a great project to see them rebuilt.
Rating: -/10
Sika Stag - New Zealand
27th April 2016
Things are not good for access now. The second half of the track is very overgrown. DoC has padlocked the far access gate, but some enterprising person has cut a hole in the gate where you can squeeze through. However. beyond the gate the path is near impassable. There have been two major washouts and great care has to be taken to avoid tumbling into the river. This may be why DoC had padlocked the gate. Risking life and limb and hanging on to trees we managed to get across the washouts and on to the pools. All was as I remembered and had a very pleasant and uninterrupted soak. In view of the very hazardous path conditions now, I would urge that folks do not attempt to get to the pools. DoC is unlikely to repair the path, which will only get worse. Only the near pool was full, but was clear and pleasant. I enjoyed a long soak in the delicious hot water, taking in the view. Awesome! In view of the above this may have been my last visit.
Rating: 8/10
Bernard - Bournemouth GB
15th March 2016
The path is over grown and the advise is not to go there, but we loved the walk and views over the river and sat with our feet in the pool when we got there. Such a shame that this has been allowed to decay, but with ongoing erosion I can see doing it up is probably to costly as not many would stop so close to Taupo when there are plenty of fine hot pools there and in Rotorua. But an amasing local spot all the same. Nov 2014
Rating: 7/10
Linda -
16th November 2014
We visited on Saturday to find the 'plug' not functioning well and the closest pool virtually empty, despite the hose being in place. We cleaned the green slime off with the provided brush, then fashioned a new 'plug' by placing large rocks into the drainage pipe, then the piece of cloth, to level the 'plug' up with the base of the bath, then added the layer of rubber provided, to give a reasonable seal. The pool was full by the time we returned on Sunday afternoon. It had obviously been enjoyed - beer bottles and tops everywhere! 38.3 degrees when we used it, when the surrounding air temperature was 8 degrees. Nice spot...
Rating: 8/10
Stephen - Napier
10th August 2014
These pools may be closed BUT if you don't put your head under the water they are safe. They CAN get a bit green and slimy however I drive out from Napier once a week to bathe in them, listen to the native birds, and gaze out over the river. For me it is a time of peaceful contemplation, and release of stress.
Rating: 8/10
Bruce - Napier
2nd July 2014
Have just been to the pools: great, just like on the most recent photo. The setting's gorgeous and worth the walk. The traffic noise (lots of trucks in low gear plus engine-braking) is significant, and that's why we didn't stay for a night. It's probably really quiet when the SH is closed...
Rating: 8/10
Tom Butz -
16th February 2010
These pools are so relaxing out in the middle of the bush you can hear the river flowing down below. definetly woth a stop if your passing through.
Rating: 7/10
Ashlee Diamond - Auckland
8th May 2007
What a shame that it's been closed!!! I have been trying to find it's location ever since I heard about this amazing event. About 5 years ago I met an Maori man in Waipukurau when we were doing a computer course together. We were talking about our belief in Angels. He told me that about 15 years before he had stopped at the local pub there one day. His, then, 3 year old son wanted to go to the toilet, so dad had stopped and decided to have a bite to eat while they were there. He told me that while he was up at the bar, he meet a old Maori man he asked him why his son couldn't walk. He told him that his son had a crippling condition, and that he had never been able to walk and that Doctor's said he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The old man suggested that he take the young boy down to the hot pool. When the boy got out of the pool he had gained movement in his legs, which increased over the next month and eventually resulting in the boy walking normally. As he still did as an 18 year old young man. The father had driven back to the pub to tell the man and to thank him, but something really strange happened because when he spoke to the Tavern owner and his wife. They said that they had never seen anyone who fitted the description of this old Maori man but that other people had also told them similar stories. So wish is that another miracle happens and the pools get reopened.
Rating: 10/10
Dianne - New Zealand
27th December 2006
these pools ARE officially closed, they have been drained so not able to be swum in, not sure if they're ever going to be refilled, locals in the pub said that doc were A**holes for doing it...:)
Rating: 1/10
sam - New Zealand
29th April 2006
old abandoned hot pools on side of cliff. overgrown track, closed by DOC, has two slips to cross, 20 minute walk, lots of blackberry thorn bushes. not for young children or "tourists". pool has natural slim. that can be emptied, cleaned with a old brush, and refilled. which what i did 26jan15. I also cleaned the spring in the cliff, cleaned the pipe, and refilled pool. if pipe is blocked, pull it apart in the middle to clear, then rejoin. "who do i send the bill to?" note the 4WD track from the tea rooms car park is now very rough at start and not for cars. if you go to the pools, do your bit of cleaning the place up please.
Rating: 9/10
maxNeumegen - napier
29th January 2015
24/Nov/2014 Anyone Please repair the concrete bathtub. Hot water level is 40cm now. The tub cracked. You require many bate or wide sheet to repair. Hot water has been supplied even now.
Rating: 1/10
Masashi O - Japan
11th December 2014
Hadn't been here since December 2011 [when the pools were too hot to even get into!]. This time the near pool was full but cold. The far pool was empty, and the filler hose hanging into it was barely dribbling, though the water was quite hot. Clearly some maintenance is required to get the site up and running again. The walk to and from the pool offers spectacular views of the valley but seemed more overgrown than before; unsurprising if the pools are out of commission...
Rating: 3/10
Cliff - Auckland
6th January 2014
it was very hard to get to the pool as the bush and grasses were over grown. (guess it wasnt the right season to visit.) and the pool was disgusting. Not clean, a lot of insects, the water wasn't hot. Great view though.we didn't go into the pool at the end. I don't think it was worth visiting specially, I almost ran out of petrol and had to buy extra emergency one from the cafe. (It was expensive and also there was no gas station around there)
Rating: -/10
shigeo - wellington
26th August 2013
The closer, deeper pool was very slimy when we visitied mid winter 2013. Would need a clean and a refill with the hose. Hose was still running hot water from the nearby hot spring. Hose was in the shallower, clean tub next to the deep one. Didn't want to mess with the process, and the warmer of the two pools would have only been about 37 degrees. BUT! I will be back, as this is my friend's favourite pool in NZ, so it MUST be good sometimes.
Rating: -/10
Ben McEwan - Auckland
12th June 2013
Rustic, but well worth it. They're not developed, otherwise they would have tour buses etc lined up at the gate.
Rating: 10/10
Phillip - Levin - NZ
8th August 2011
June 2011 - the baths have been closed by DOC. You use at your own risk. Signs warn of amoebic meningitis. Above description (slimy) still applies, but real nice on a cool, grey day overlooking the river.
Rating: -/10
Ryan - Australia
20th June 2011
Tarawera Trip 17-18th April 2010 Arriving at Tarawera Saturday afternoon about 4pm and pulling up in the car park to book a campsite I noticed a couple heading down a track with a homemade sign beside the gate saying "pool", I could not make out at the time what it was they were carry. On making a visit to the hot pool site just before dark it was obvious the they had cleaned out the pool and it was now filling. It appears to take about 3- 4 hours to fill from the way the level was rising during the short time I was there. On my return visit about 6.30am next morning it was full and hot, most pleasant. The walk to and from the pool is also enjoyable especially the bush part with interesting glimpses to the valley and hills beyond. There are two pools, only the one nearest to the track appears to be used at present. The thing that caught my eye was the genuine kiwi DIY pool plug, made from an old glass beer flagon wrapped and fitting perfectly into the plug hole and flush with the pool bottom. Also the sheet of old black plastic between the pool and the changing area to protect ones bare feet. It gives a feeling of the way New Zealand once was. Credit must also go to the crew who did the very professional work to reinforce the bank below the pools. It is really an expression of the dedication of the locals to their hot pools. I'm sure every visitor to the the area must feel this and respect the fact that the locals are happy to share the pools with visitors. The stop is really worth a visit if travelling the Napier-Taupo highway. I can also recommend the tea rooms/cafe, excellent food, friendly staff/owners with lots of interesting knowledge of the area. Phil Tarrant - Wanganui 17th-18th April 2010
Rating: 10/10
Phil Tarrant - Wanganui
20th June 2010
Amazingly peaceful! I would recommend taking a bucket and rope to haul up water from the river though cause it is freaking hot! Plus take plenty of drinking water as you will need it!
Rating: 9/10
Coral - New Zealand
13th May 2010
Always wondered why the Tavern has that name, stopped off there last week and found out! Wonderful place. When I was there it was during a spectacular thunder storm, great to sit in the tub with the cold rain on my shoulders and the lightening flashing in the clouds. If you want clean and man made go to Waikite, if you want naked (optional), natural, basic and free then this is for you. DOC I'm sure you have better things to do, let the locals care for their historic pools for ever!
Rating: 7/10
Andy - Rotorua, NZ.
29th January 2010
There are two concrete pools which you fill with the aid of an pvc pipe from a small waterfall. pools are in a bad state,rough concrete and leaf litter, but surroundings are great. a quick clean then enjoy.
Rating: -/10
bob - Hastings NZ
26th August 2009
What a wonderful relaxing place with a amazing feeling being on the side of the hill. The locals maintain this and have been bathing here for centuries. Just stop into the Tavern and the new owners Jim and Maree will give you directions. (They have excellent coffee and free camping and campervan parking in their grounds too now). I recommend you take a few minutes to study some of the amazing history of this area and the pools which is displayed on the walls of the tavern/cafe. This is the first I have heard about the healing but it does not surprise me. Please visit and log your support on this site.
Rating: 10/10
Carla6 - Napier
4th August 2009
Thanks Ngaire for making these pools available, they are brilliant. We felt priviliged to use them.
Rating: 10/10
Duncan Jones - Auckland
21st February 2009
As the proprietor of the Tarawera Tavern I would like to add my comments. Cyclone Bola removed the house over the pools and undermined part of the hill the pools are located on then when the Cave Creek disaster happened DOC and OSH went into their hysterical phase and in their wisdom decided to close the pools down believing they would fall into the river they are still their and nothing has changed in sixteen years the locals have been using them for over one hundred years and we will not allow DOC and OSH to dictate to us so when they take away the hose that lets the hot water run into the pools we just go buy another one Cleaning of the pools is reliant on one of our locals and gets done on a reasonably regular basis however these pools unlike commercial ones are not filtered so the water is natural as it comes from the spring in the hill any greening comes from sunlight we ask tourists to please empty and put hose into second pool to try and keep them as clear as possible we also advise everyone not to put their head under the water which should never be done in thermal water unless like the commercial ones they are chemically treated and filtered I believe the breathtaking views and remoteness of the pools make them something very special and hope people can enjoy them for many years to come
Rating: 8/10
Ngaire Midgley - Tarawera
6th December 2007
In fact, it IS an amazing place thanks to the river right below where you can cool down and then return back to the warm water. And no people at all- it is officially closed!
Rating: 9/10
Ondrej - Czech Republic
22nd March 2006
Certainly off the beaten track, but thorougly enjoyable.
Rating: 8/10
Sheldon -
8th February 2006

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Your Review of Tarawera Hot Springs [CLOSED]:
7.5 / 10

[21 votes]

Mikael Finstad
Source: Now it’s completely ruined. Almost nothing left that resembles a pool. And the track is super dangerous with mudslides having blicked the track
Source: Taken in 2016 about a month before DOC trashed the tubs. We had a real struggle to get to the tubs but it was well worth it. Glad that I had that last opportunity.
Sika Stag
Source: Pools having been cut up. thanks a lot DOC.
Phil Tarrant
Source: Wanganui (17 Apr 2010)
Phil Tarrant
Source: Wanganui (17 Apr 2010)
Phil Tarrant
Source: Wanganui (17 Apr 2010)
Pippa Harris
Source: Photo taken 10 Feb 2010
Sheldon Nesdale
Sheldon Nesdale