Stepping into the steaming hot pool of mineral water at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa I can almost feel my worries washing away and my body start to relax. Looking out across Lake Rotorua watching seagulls swoop my mind is taken off work and life. The natural setting and generous views are some of the best I’ve experienced in New Zealand hot pools and it’s no wonder the Polynesian Spa has been named one of the top 10 spas in the world by Conde Nast Traveller.
I sink my shoulders under the water and tilt my face to the sky as the heavens open and I realise how much I really do love this kiwi tradition that is soaking in the nearest hot pool when the weather turns bad. Heavy rain, a chill wind and I couldn’t be happier. The pool I’m sitting in is 41 degrees Celsius and I’m nicely warmed through. My muscles have all but dissolved and my mind is relaxed to the point where I’m almost asleep. But not quite. There is one other person in the pool with us and of the seven pools here none are busy.
The two springs that feed these pools provide alkaline and acid water that soothes my sensitive skin. Where usually spending 20 minutes in the bath at home will bring out a painful, red rash, I spend just under two hours soaking and moving between the two springs and escape without any reaction. The Priest spa is named after a Catholic priest who is said to have cured his arthritis soaking in these waters in the late 1800s and an old local belief has it that anyone who swims in the water from the alkaline Rachel Spring will receive ageless beauty.
As for me I’m happy enough to have had a couple of hours to bliss out completely without any children to disturb the peace!