Waitangi Soda Springs

Name: Kalt
Rating: 1/10
on 22 February 2013

For many years, mates of mine used to take road trips from Auckland down to these pools as a spur of the moment event. Just jump in the car, and down we would go. Usually ending up at the pools well after midnight.

For hours we would soak and watch the stars, lying as flat as we could in various places to get just the right amount of temperature. Or, enjoy the little concrete slip at the far end with the rushing water (someone always would loose their togs, if we were wearing any at all.) The deeper section after the rushing water was the perfect place to sit and let it beat your shoulders, giving you one rather nice massage.

When we left, I would always clean up any trash I found. We didn’t drink, or play loud music, we left the lights turned off, helped other people there with jumps should their batteries be flat.. All in all it was very calming and enjoyable experience. It was in essence a commiserating with nature and good will with all who were attending. I sorrily wish I could convey in text just how calming and centering the place was.

I’ve not been out there in several years, and wanted to bring a friend to ‘Experience what NZ is really about.’ I was very dismayed to learn that the entire area has been completely commercialized. Fences, Admission fees, the entire pools have been dredged to make them deeper (thereby destroying how awesome it was) There’s even lights all around the peripherie which conflict with seeing the stars. Its as if they went out of their way to completely destroy the experience.

I’m reading a lot of reviews here of people chastising those who balk at the fees, claiming Maori rights and the need to pay some semblance of homage, and that ‘payment’ is ‘money’ – That seems pretty disgraceful.

Every time we visited these pools, we absolutely paid. By quiet respect, with cleaning as best we could, respect towards our fellow man and the nature around. We went there to be one with the land, not the ‘privilege’ of paying $8 to spend 30 minutes soaking in hot water. I can do that at home in the tub, for far less.

Suffice to say I’m very sad to see what happened to these pools, they’ve completely destroyed this unique part nature in the interests of profit. I wanted to show my friend ‘What NZ is really about.’ Well, perhaps I should take them to these pools after all, as that does seem to be the case.