Long cool winter nights are the perfect excuse for a relaxing session in a natural spa or hot tub.
When temperatures go down, it’s hard to beat a leisurely hot soak after a day outdoors, or even just for pure pleasure. It’s not too bad in the rain either.
Hankering for a spot of forest bathing? Waiho Hot Tubs is the hot new day or evening ticket at Franz Josef.
Slip into your personal wood-fired hot tub (max 4 pax) with private facilities in a rainforest setting. Relax in pure mountain water sourced from the river that runs out from under Franz Josef Glacier.
Add lavender for a soothing fragrance or just enjoy the aroma of drifting wood smoke and the friendly fantail flitting through the trees. BYO drinks and nibbles. Could be worse?
The best known mineral hot pools on the West Coast are at Maruia Springs (near Lewis Pass) and at Welcome Flat in Westland Tai Poutini National Park.
Bliss out at Maruia Hot Springs. This intimate little health spa and eco-resort offers wellness treatments and classes based around the natural geothermal waters bubbling up from beneath. Facilities include accommodation and an in-house cafe/restaurant; anyone can stop off en route for a soak in the waters.
Trampers on the Copland Track – a two-day journey into the mountains south of Fox Glacier – can claim the ultimate reward for their efforts with a soak in the natural hot pools at the Welcome Flat Hut. There’s never a crowd as the only way to get there is on foot (7 hours there, 7 hours back, 36 km return).
Let the sun go down on your day while you literally soak it in, watching a brilliant West Coast sunset from your front row hot tub.
Hotel Lake Brunner has a pair of wood-fired tubs filled with spring water and overlooking picturesque Lake Brunner. Cosy up and enjoy a glass of something delicious as the sun paints the mountains a pretty pink (BYO).
Guests at Paparoa Beach Hideaway share access to a hot tub in a rustic bush hut with overhead skylights for the show. Filled with rainwater, the huge 1500L cedar tub heats to a toasty 38 to 42 deg.
Didn’t make it back in time for the sunset? Try a spot of spa gazing beneath the West Coast’s crystal clear night skies — the stars will never seem so close.
The luxury tree huts at Rainforest Retreat, in Franz Josef, are cosy apartments atop stilts in the trees. Inside, it’s comfy beds and stylish furnishings; outside, the bubbling hot spa on the spacious deck is perfectly placed for marvelling at the universe.
Gentle Annie Holiday Resort offers hot tubs on raised platforms for views of palm trees and the ocean, prime position for sunset and the Milky Way. Order a private tub delivered directly to your holiday cottage, or book in for a 2-hour soak in the campground.
There’s camping, then there’s glamping. Fancy a beach holiday, the sound of the ocean waves and the comfort of a decent bed and some simple luxury?
Go off-grid on a romantic sojourn at Woodpecker Hut or Indo Kiwi – two glamping hideaways near Punakaiki.
Woodpecker Hut’s luxury comforts include a king bed, a wood burner and a cedar hot tub with wild views of the Tasman. Nearby, Indo Kiwi is a Balinese-styled haven with an outdoor bath, shower and firepit, super close to the roar of the Tasman.
When the day’s done and the physical exertion is over, it’s hard to beat a rejuvenating soak in hot water.
Tired Heaphy Track hikers can rest and gaze back at Kahurangi National Park from the 6-seater spa pool in the lovely river-side gardens at Riverstone Retreat Karamea.
West Coast Wilderness Trail bikers can choose to finish their ride listening to the ocean from a private outdoor bath at Ross Beach Top 10 Holiday Resort’s quirky recycled container pods.