Overindulgence On New Zealand's North Island

27 February 2015
Read Time: 2.7 mins

Many of us have a one-track mind when it comes to New Zealand: adventure, adrenalin and action. But it's time we all became believers in another perspective of the country; a more relaxed and pampered side.

The North Island alone has enough thermal spas, luxury hotels and fine-dining experiences to put you into a state of near comatose tranquillity.

Overindulgence isn't a bad way of life when it involves your own private grotto, lake views from your balcony, 40-degree thermal water and succulent meals eaten within comfortable seating. New Zealand's North Island provides these moments and more. You only need to know where to look.

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North Island Thermal Spas

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A thermal spa relies on a few elements to dish up the ultimate relaxation experience: a natural and serene environment, healing minerals, and your willingness to simply sit back and let go.

Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa, located in the Tapau region, provides the first two. Its geothermal waters are full of healing and therapeutic properties including silica for healthy skin. There are three pools of varying temperatures, the hottest reaching around 42 degrees Celsius with water fed in through a naturally formed silica waterfall.

The presence of steam, rich green flora and gentle splashing of water creates the desired peaceful surround. If sinking up to your neck in the hot water isn't enough, you can opt for a massage.

 Soaking tired bodies in 40-plus degrees - life ain't so hard

Over on the shores of Lake Rotorua is the Polynesian Spa, which has regularly been named in the top 10 of Conde Nast Traveler's Readers Choice Spa Awards. Polynesia Spa has a welcoming natural feel to most of its pools particularly in the Deluxe Lake Spa. This area faces onto Lake Rotorua, providing views from all of the pools including an uninterrupted vista from the 42-degrees-Celsius spa.

The alkaline mineral water does an excellent job of soothing tired skin and the atmosphere benefits from the grotto, waterfalls and rocks. You can also soak in the family spa, adult pools and private pools.


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Not So Subtle Hotel Extravagance

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When visiting New Zealand's North Island for a stress-free holiday, the pampering typically begins and ends at the hotel. The bedroom is where most of us focus on when choosing the 'right' place, yet it's often what's outside the boudoir that separates the luxury hotels from the astonishing ones.

Lake Tapau is renowned as one of the most picturesque areas of New Zealand, but few hotels actually benefit from a position on the lake. At the Millennium Hotel and Resort your room can lead out onto a balcony overlooking the lake. However, what's really special about this hotel is the private grotto with heated plunge pool able to be booked with your room.

 Your private grotto awaits (Credit: Millennium Hotel & Resort Lake Tapau)

You don't need to stay out amongst nature to enjoy the finer life. Rydges Auckland may not have a lake view, but it does boast one killer breakfast buffet. The combination of fruit smoothies, hot breakfast and sweet pastries, all topped off with a chocolate fountain makes waking up one of the most highly anticipated parts of the day.
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Pampering In True NZ Fashion

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Bring up New Zealand and those who know it well may talk about the countryside's charming and colourful appearance or the unique geothermal mud of Rotorua.

If you've ever wanted to learn the truth behind these idyllic tales, visiting the North Island is a great place to begin. The Bay of Islands offers one of the most picturesque regions of the country, easily explored on a cruise. These range from wildlife cruises to the more leisurely lunch and dinner cruises. Regardless, you need only concern yourself with life's positives, from the vineyards along the shore to the fresh local cuisine served on board.

 There's nothing wrong with wanting to get closer to this picture (Credit: Getty)

Rotorua is a North Island region renowned for its pungent sulphuric smell and the geothermal mud with immense healing properties. If you want the latter, you're going to have to get used to the former.

Hells Gate's mud spas are one of the best places to indulge in a bit of skin therapy, having originated from one of the most sought-after geothermal pools, 'Hurutini'. With a range of small, large and family mud baths, you have a real opportunity to tailor the atmosphere to your needs.

Allow time for the curative properties of the mud to sink in, before washing off in one of the geothermal spas. If you're seeking out some additional therapy, you can lay back and enjoy a 1.5-hour mud body scrub and mask.

Ben Stower

I love the kind of travelling that is one part strategic planning and two parts spontaneous adventure. Whether I'm exploring my local city or a small town in the middle of nowhere, I'm always hoping to find something no one else has discovered.