5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com
5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua

5 FREE Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua

© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
Article Single Pages© NZPocketGuide.com
NZ Pocket Guide is 10 years old. Thank you for trusting us with your trip for over a decade!

Rotorua’s Free Natural Hot Springs

The intense geothermal activity in Rotorua means there is no lack of thermal pools. The natural hot springs merge with cold streams or rivers making the ideal temperature to swim or bathe. Plus, you can even bathe comfortably on a cold day, which makes Rotorua a great spot to check out during New Zealand’s winter. Check out exactly where the free hot pools in Rotorua are in the list below!

Once you’re done here and can’t get enough of those hot pools, chase the geothermal activity around New Zealand with these 10 Free Natural Hot Springs in New Zealand.

1. Kerosene Creek

First on our list of hot pools in Rotorua is the world-famous Kerosene Creek. 35 minutes from Rotorua and down a gravel road will take you to the thermal pool and waterfall at Kerosene Creek. The creek is popular not just for its geothermal activity but its beautiful surroundings. Visit early morning to avoid the crowds.

Location: Old Waiotapu Road, approximately 28 km (17 mi) south of Rotorua. Take State Highway 5, then Old Waiotapu Road. Find Kerosene Creek approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) down Old Waiotapu Road.

5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua© Unsplash

2. Wai-o-Tapu / The Bridge / Hot & Cold / Secret Spot

Going by many names, the free natural hot springs outside of the Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Park are well worth a soak. Get the remnants from the famous geothermal park next door by bathing in the hot pools formed by a hot stream meeting the cooler Wai-O-Tapu Stream. Steps into the pool make for easy access.

Location: 201 Waiotapu Loop Road, Waiotapu, approximately 30 km (19 mi) south of Rotorua via State Highway 5. Find the free hot pool just outside the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park (under the bridge).

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Kuirau Park

No need to bring the togs; just dip your feet in! This free geothermal park in Rotorua has dedicated hot foot baths to make use of in or out of the shade. Just don’t dip your feet behind any of the fenced areas! That with hurt. Kuirau Park is situated in Rotorua town and is one of the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Rotorua.

Location: Along Pukuatua Street, Ranolf Street and Kuirau Street, Rotorua city centre.

5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Hot Water Beach (Te Rata Bay)

On the shores of Lake Tarawera, Hot Water Beach (also known as Te Rata Bay) is fed by a hot stream mixing with the cooler lake water. After a 5 to 6-hour hike to get there, you’re rewarded with a soothing geothermal hot pool experience on the beach. The stream water is burning hot, so keep on the outside of the large rocks that have been placed in a circle. Be sure to book your water taxi back with Totally Tarawera to return from this one-way hike.

Location: Te Wairoa car park, approximately 16 km (10 mi) southeast of Rotorua via Tarawera Road. From the Te Wairoa car park, take the 15 km (9.3 mi) hike on the Tarawera Trail to Te Rata Bay where the hot pools are on the beach in front of the Hot Water Beach Campsite. Boat access is also available.

5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Wairua Stream

Wairua Stream is a bit harder to get to as you have to get a boat across Lake Tarawera, making it a local paradise. It is near Te Rata Bay and is one of the most picturesque hot pools near Rotorua.

Location: About 25 minutes out of Rotorua down Spencer Road, Lake Tarawera. By boat, launch at Stoney Point and head straight across Lake Tarawera to the headlands on the right of Mt Tarawera. Go straight through these headlands to where the lake opens. Steer gently to starboard and make for the only beach in this area.

5 Free Natural Hot Pools in Rotorua© NZPocketGuide.com

What About the Waterfall Spout Bath at Wai-O-Tapu?

It is no longer recommended to visit the Waterfall Spout Bath as it is on private land. Additionally, there are reports of bathers being sent to hospital with burns.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Free Hot Springs in Rotorua

Need to know more about Rotorua’s free hot springs? Here are some FAQs for those seeking to experience these natural wonders without a fee.

Where can I see geysers for free in Rotorua?

While most of the famous geysers in Rotorua are located within paid geothermal parks, you can experience geothermal activity for free at Kuirau Park. While Kuirau Park does not have large geysers like those at Te Puia or Wai-O-Tapu, it features boiling mud pools, steaming vents and foot baths, allowing you to witness the geothermal marvels of Rotorua without a cost.

Can you go into the hot springs in Rotorua?

Yes, you can go into the hot springs in Rotorua. There are several places around Rotorua where you can enjoy the warm, therapeutic waters for free or for a fee. Free options include natural hot springs like Kerosene Creek and the hot water beach at Lake Tarawera, while paid attractions include Polynesian Spa, Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Waikite Valley Thermal Pools.

Is Kerosene Creek free?

Yes, Kerosene Creek is a free natural hot spring located a short drive south of Rotorua. It’s popular for its warm waters and the scenic waterfall where you can relax and enjoy a natural hot water bath.

How much does it cost to go to Kuirau Park?

Entrance to Kuirau Park is completely free. Visitors can enjoy the park’s geothermal features, including mud pools, hot springs and beautifully landscaped gardens. There are also foot baths where you can soak your feet in naturally heated water.

Is it safe to swim in Kerosene Creek?

Swimming in Kerosene Creek is generally considered safe, but visitors should exercise caution. The water temperature can vary, and submerged rocks can be slippery. It’s important to check the water temperature before entering and to always keep an eye on children. Do not dive into the water, as the depth can be unpredictable. Do not put your head underwater, as doing so can cause Amoebic meningitis.

Does Kerosene Creek smell?

Yes, Kerosene Creek, like many geothermal areas, has a noticeable sulphuric smell, similar to rotten eggs. This is due to the sulphur in the water, a common characteristic of geothermal hot springs. Most visitors find that the unique experience and therapeutic benefits of bathing in the hot springs far outweigh any concerns about the smell.

How do you get to Kerosene Creek?

Kerosene Creek is located about 30 minutes’ drive south of Rotorua, along State Highway 5 towards Taupo. Look for a gravel car park on the side of the road, marked with a small sign (which may be easy to miss). From the car park, follow the short walking track through the bush to reach the creek and waterfall. Be sure to secure your valuables, as the car park is somewhat remote and unsupervised.

More About Free Hot Pools in Rotorua

That’s it for our list of the best free hot pools in Rotorua. For more free and affordable attractions around New Zealand’s famous geothermal city, take a look at the following:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in the 25 Best Things to Do in Rotorua and Places to Stay in Rotorua: 50 Best Accommodations.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

Was this article useful?