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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Six Ways to Splash Around in NZ That Aren't Just Going to the Beach

Slide down a natural rock formation, swim in turquoise glacial waters and dig your own geothermal spa pool on an island sanctuary.
By Stephen Heard
December 08, 2020
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Six Ways to Splash Around in NZ That Aren't Just Going to the Beach

Slide down a natural rock formation, swim in turquoise glacial waters and dig your own geothermal spa pool on an island sanctuary.
By Stephen Heard
December 08, 2020
  shares

Summer in New Zealand brings an endless variety of water-based experiences, from hitting beginner-friendly waves to paddling around picture-perfect beaches and nose diving into underwater networks of caves. But your seasonal splash around doesn't have to be restricted to the vast and salty deep. There's everything from natural rock slides to island geothermal attractions that you should try at least once this summer or next.

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SLIDE DOWN A NATURAL ROCK FORMATION NEAR GISBORNE

This popular attraction near Gisborne sees a smooth rock face descend nearly 60 meters into a deep pool. The flat and slimy Rere Rockslide has been created over thousands of years by the Wharekopae River and now sees everyone with wetsuit, yoga mat and inner tube take the plunge down the giant water slide. Just remember to watch your footing on that slime when walking back up to the top.

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Moutohora Island Sanctuary.

DIG YOUR OWN THERMAL SPA POOL ON MOUTOHORA ISLAND

Hot Water Beach annually attracts around 700,000 visitors to dig their own thermal spa. At Moutohorā/Whale Island you can do exactly the same thing, only without the throngs of tourists. Located nine kilometres offshore from Whakatāne, the island is a pest-free oasis that's home to a number of New Zealand's rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles. Keep an eye out for a threatened tūturiwhatu, tīeke, tuatara and kākāriki as you journey through native bush and then dig yourself a geothermal spa pool at Moutohorā's secluded hot water beach. Four-hour guided tours are available to the sanctuary.

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Tourism New Zealand.

SOAK IN A GEOTHERMAL HOT SPRING NEAR ROTORUA

Just over 30 minutes from New Zealand's geothermal wonderland is this natural hot spring where you can bathe right beside a waterfall. Kerosene Creek is heated from a geothermal spring and balanced out by the cool flowing waters of the namesake creek. The water ranges between 30 to 35 degrees and has been billed as an effective way to relieve pesky aches and pains. The popular tourist attraction is free to the public — just find a spot in one of the little manmade hot pools and enjoy the serenity.

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TAKE THE PLUNGE IN A GLACIAL POOL NEAR WANAKA

It's an easy 30-minute walk to Makarora's Blue Pools. You'll travel through beech and podocarp forest, cop spectacular mountain views and cross swing bridges before you reach the crystal-clear natural wonders. Despite looking like a tropical blue oasis, the pools flow from glacial mountain rivers and often sit below ten degrees. It's said to be worth taking a dip despite the initial chill factor — just bring something warm to pop on afterwards.

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SWIM IN A PROTECTED MARINE RESERVE NEAR AUCKLAND

Found 90-minutes from Auckland, Goat Island is part of the country's first marine reserve. The stunning clear waters make for the perfect destination to spot a variety of marine life. It's likely you'll see a variety of fish, such as snapper, red moki, blue maomao and even some eagle rays. Don a mask and snorkel, or hire a transparent kayak so you can paddle to outer reaches of the reserve and marvel at the sea life below.

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Tasman Tours.

BATHE IN A CRYSTAL-CLEAR ROCK POOL IN THE ABEL TASMAN

You're spoiled for choice with postcard worthy water choices in the Abel Tasman National Park, but Cleopatra's Pool takes the cake for its unique location. The natural rock pool at the base of the Torrent River comes with its own natural moss-lined waterslide. Slide down the slimy chute or watch the action unfold on one of the surrounding rocks. The hidden treasure is accessible via a detour along the track from Anchorage.

Published on December 08, 2020 by Stephen Heard

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