Easily my favourite NZ hot pool, not because it’s the best pool or facility, but because it’s a blast from the past – a faded glory from the ’70s. What’s great about Palm Springs? It’s NEVER busy, and usually quiet, so one of the few hot pools you can really relax in. The hot-hot pool is really hot, and the not-so-hot pool is great for swimming. The prices are astonishing ($10 or buy a concession card for $60, which works out to $6 per visit), and you can relax with a bear and a burger beside the pool. Sure it’s run down, but that adds to the charm, and I couldn’t afford to soak my aching bones so often at the kind of prices most facilities are charging these days. These days it’s run by Koreans and I have to admit I’ve had a few incidents with Korean visitors to the pools (one male was blowing his nose directly into the pool!) but these incidents are incredibly rare. Aucklanders just don’t realise how close Parakai is… a mere 40 minutes from downtown Auckland, and they can combine a day trip between the hot pools, the MacNut macadamia farm, bush treks or beach. Lovely.