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Queenstown is easily one of the most popular resort towns in New Zealand! Would you believe close to 1.5 million people visit every year? If you’re one of them, you’ll love this beautiful mountain town known for having some of the top adventure activities, but Queenstown has plenty of relaxing activities too – including some of the best hot pools in New Zealand.
Queenstown is built on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful areas in NZ. While it may not be located on the coast, this region has no shortage of other bodies of water, especially when it comes to the hot pools in the area.
Traditionally, hot pools, (also referred to as hot springs) were used for everything from cooking to bathing, thanks to their natural heat. The medicinal properties of the minerals found in these little bodies of water make them the perfect spot for day spas, and other relaxing retreats. Although the hot pools in Queenstown are artificially heated, the experience is much the same!
You’ll find that between all the adventures you embark on during your trip, the infamous hot pools in Queenstown will help you to relax, recharge, and take in the beauty of this magnificent part of the country. Whether you’re in Queenstown for a week or just a day, a visit to a hot pool is worth adding to your agenda.
But, with so many amazing hot pools to choose from, your decision might go from relaxing to overwhelming. We want to help you avoid that, so we’ve taken some of the guesswork out of the equation for you!
Without further ado, here are the 6 best hot pools in Queenstown.
Don’t have time to read the full article? If you’re looking for a hidden gem in Queenstown with the most incredible views, Hot Tub on the Hillside is my absolute favorite pick! This secluded, private hot pool experience provides the ultimate relaxation and boasts the gorgeous scenery of New Zealand.
6 Best Hot Pools in Queenstown
1. Onsen Hot Pools
- Location: 10 minutes from Queenstown, in Arthurs Point, overlooking the Shotover River
- Opening hours: Daily from 9 am to 11 pm
- Stop by for: A boutique retreat and day spa experience, with cedar-lined hot pools that overlook the Shotover River
- Standard soak cost: $60-97.50 NZD for one hour
The first hot pools on our list may not surprise you, because Onsen Hot Pools is regarded as one of the top spots to see in all of New Zealand. For islands with so many of these bodies of water, that says a lot!
In fact, Onsen Hot Pools and Day Spa is a winner of the 2022 World Luxury Spa Award and is partnered with Tourism New Zealand. It doesn’t get more official than that!
Just thinking about their cedar tubs and the surreal views has me thinking about booking another session.
Located just 10 minutes from Queenstown, you can arrange your own transportation or take the complimentary shuttle from the city center. All you have to do is request transportation in your booking and boom! Easy as that.
The shuttle runs on a consistent schedule, which makes it extra reliable. You’ll be picked up half an hour before your booking and will want to make sure to be there right on time so that you don’t have to scramble for last-minute transport to the hot pools.
The soak-only options allow 1-4 people, and costs will go down when you have more people in your party. For example, ‘The Outdoor Onsen’ soak is $97.50 NZD for an individual to book but will go as low as $60 NZD when you have a 4-person party.
You can soak under the open sky or book an option with a retractable roof. Regardless of your choice, you’re sure to have a breathtaking view of the mountains and river just beyond your pool.
When it comes to the spa packages, you get about 45 minutes to soak and an hour or two for your spa treatment afterward, with various massage options to choose from.
One thing that I found particularly fun about the soak and spa packages is the refreshments they include. You’ll receive complimentary regional wine, beer, or juice and can choose between ice cream, chips, or chocolate to enjoy as you relax.
If you happen to be staying nearby and are flexible with your schedule, I highly recommend booking a soak after sunset, too. The experience is made magical by Japanese lanterns that surround your hot pool, and the starry night sky above you. You’re surrounded by light, and this is an experience you won’t forget any time soon.
Keep in mind that children under 5 are not allowed for safety purposes, and the evening sessions are restricted to those 12 and over.
Related read: A visit to the hot pools is a fantastic addition to a honeymoon in Queenstown!
2. Driftaway Queenstown
- Location: 10 minutes from Queenstown, in the Frankton Arm, overlooking Lake Wakatipu
- Opening hours: Reception is open from 8 am to 8:30 pm
- Stop by for: A new holiday park with modern facilities, accommodations, and an emphasis on sustainability.
- Standard soak cost: $79 NZD guests/$158 public for a two-person one-hour session
Driftaway Queenstown is branded as New Zealand’s newest holiday park, and it is certainly worth the stop! Located further south than Onsen, these pools are in the Frankton Arm area, but still about 10 minutes away from Queenstown.
In fact, you can grab a water taxi from the Central Queenstown lakefront to get to Driftaway in no time. Once you’re in your private hot pool, you can gaze over the lake and enjoy 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) water during your one-hour soak. This is ideal on a cool winter day, as you can stay warm in the hot pool and get beautiful views of Lake Wakatipu while you relax!
With cabins, camping, family units, and studio units, we also recommend staying for a few days to make the most of your time at Driftaway. If you rented a campervan in Queenstown, this is the perfect stop at the beginning or end of your South Island road trip. Not only will you have lake views and access to the hot pools, but you’ll also have full use of the facility hub to cook, do laundry, eat meals, and dry off after skiing.
If you’re traveling to Queenstown with kids, they are sure to be occupied by the outdoor play spaces, indoor pillow and games rooms, and other activities so that you can relax and reset. The site also backs up to Queenstown’s best and safest swimming beach, which means that the entire family will have plenty to explore and enjoy here.
The idyllic area is full of guests who are looking to enjoy the scenery, meet new people, and relax in a lively yet tranquil space.
3. Hot Tub on the Hillside
- Location: 10 minutes from Queenstown, in Frankton, overlooking Lake Johnson
- Opening hours: 12 pm to 7:30 pm
- Stop by for: A secluded, very private, experience in the middle of Queenstown’s mountains, overlooking a small lake.
- Standard soak cost: $239 NZD for 2 people
If some of these hot pools seem a bit too busy for you, with their spas and campgrounds nearby, you will absolutely love Hot Tub on the Hillside. This is one of those hidden gems in Queenstown with a singular hot tub available for private bookings.
It fits 2-4 people and you can book up to 3 hours of relaxing soaking time.
Because this hot pool is a singular fixture, the water is changed between groups, and you can raise or lower the temperature as you prefer, but it’s usually around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) You’ll want to expect a bit of a walk between the parking lot and the hot tub area, but that just means you get to see a little extra scenery.
I loved the feeling of sitting in the warm water and looking out across the incredible landscape. It’s hard to describe it, but it made me feel at one with the nature surrounding me.
The experience was so special from start to finish, and such a welcome contrast to some of the more populated areas we visited on our trip.
The best part, though? Its location is no further than any of the other locations from central Queenstown! That’s what made this hot pool the perfect intersection of accessible and personalized, for me.
Also, let’s be honest for a second… this is the perfect place to get all your Insta-worthy pics without feeling silly or getting other people in the background.
Since this hot tub is open year-round for bookings, they recommend arriving before 3 pm in the winter months, and in the evening during the summer. This way, you maximize your daylight hours in the winter but avoid the heat of the day in the summer. It’s all about balance!
While there may be age restrictions, much of this will fall under your discretion. The good thing is that you can keep an eye on the kids by letting them play or have a picnic while you soak.
Related read: If you’re not sure what season to visit, we have a guide to the best time to visit Queenstown!
4. The Spa at Nugget Point Hotel
- Location: 7 minutes from Queenstown, in Arthurs Point, overlooking the Shotover River
- Opening hours: Reception is open daily from 7 am to 11 pm for you to book spa/hot tub services
- Stop by for: A sustainably-driven hotel near a peak skiing area, with a Roman-style spa overlooking the Shotover River and the nearby mountains.
- Standard soak cost: 2 people for $129 NZD for 1 hour
Facilities are open to hotel guests, but you’ll need to inquire about booking a package if you want to use the spa or hot tubs as a visitor. You can reserve an outdoor hot tub for $129 NZD for two people, or the combined 1-hour spa and 1-hour hot tub package is $149 NZD for two people. This is a very affordable rate, compared to many other hot pools out there and it is extremely luxurious!
You can enjoy the hot tub night or day and will appreciate the screens on two sides of the tub that allow you some privacy as you look out toward the mountains, the water, and maybe even the starry night sky.
5. Kamana Soak
- Location: 6 minutes from Queenstown, in Fernhill, overlooking Lake Wakatipu at Kamana Lake House
- Opening hours: 24-hour service is available to make your Kamana Soak reservations
- Stop by for: A hotel stay that offers incredible views, access to adventure activities, elegant rooms, and private soaking tubs, exclusive to hotel guests.
- Standard soak cost: Hotel guests only – $119 NZD for 1 hour, up to 3 adults
Not only does this hotel include stunning rooms and high-altitude views of the mountains and water, but it also includes access to Kamana Soak, the private hot pool experience for guests only.
The hotel has 3 private hot tubs that look over Lake Wakatipu and the mountain range beyond.
Not only are the views incredible, but so is the space where the hot tubs sit. They’re best described as a balcony type of area, with a door to enter, wood-paneled walls on two sides, and a nice open view of nature.
It feels like you’re sitting on the deck of a cabin in the woods somewhere, taking in the crisp air and beautiful sights, all while having access to all of the hotel’s amenities once your session is up.
You can book a session for yourself and up to 2 other people for an hour at a time. Another perk is that, depending on your room type, you may be eligible for an extra 50% off of your booking price!
The experience is not only exclusive but also quite affordable. I can tell you that you will get the biggest bang for your buck here and will be glad you decided to try out this unique, private soaking experience.
There is a bench space and some floor space around the hot tub if you’re hoping to bring kids along with you.
You must be a guest at Kamana Lakehouse to be eligible for their hot pools, so be sure to book your stay at Kamana Lakehouse online here to avoid disappointment. Also, message them after booking to secure a time to visit the hot pools.
Related read: After a dip in one of the hot pools, check out some of Queenstown’s best tours for a fun add-on to your vacation!
6. Alpine Aqualand
- Location: 12 minutes from central Queenstown, in Frankton at the Queenstown Event Centre
- Opening hours: Weekdays – 6 am to 9 pm, Weekends/Holidays – 8 am to 6 pm
- Stop by for: A great budget option to balance some of the more expensive, higher-end hot pools.
- Standard soak cost: One-time casual entry costs $8 NZD for adults, $5 NZD for seniors, $4 NZD for kids
All of these hot pools are wonderful options, offering views that are out of this world and additional amenities and services that will have you as relaxed as ever.
The costs of visiting spots like that can add up, though, which is why we want to highlight Alpine Aqualand as an excellent inexpensive option. It’s also an indoor pool, so it’s a perfect rainy day in Queenstown activity.
Getting to experience the hot pools of Queenstown doesn’t have to leave you worried about your budget for the rest of the trip. In fact, you can plan to spend $8 NZD to get in and spend as much time as you want there.
It may not have a direct, isolated view of the mountains or water, but trust me when I say that the relaxation factor is there all the same. The hot pool is for adults 16 and over, so you can still anticipate a tranquil experience, for less money.
The center has lockers and changing rooms, along with many other pool spaces (including a hydroslide that is a big hit) so that you can be sure to keep your belongings safe and secure while you relax.
I have to say that some of my favorite experiences have been meeting other travelers and locals at these local pools!
Remember, kids under the age of 16 are not permitted. However, you can bring them along to enjoy the hydroslides, lazy river, toddler pool, lap pool, and leisure pool.
Related read: For more budget-friendly fun, there are tons of free things to do in Queenstown!
Must-Do Activities While in Queenstown
While in Queenstown, there’s plenty to keep you busy. Honestly, there are so many things to do in Queenstown, that it’ll be hard to choose which ones to do! Below are some of my favorites:
- Take a cruise – Aboard the TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise you’re in for a scenic and relaxing cruise in Queenstown that’s great for any afternoon. This is one of the last coal-fired steamships in the world and you get to watch the crew add coal to the flames to power the vessel as you take in mountain ranges and lush green valleys. You can also upgrade this tour here to include dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm.
- Watch a sunset – As the day draws to a close in Queenstown, make sure to head to the shores of Lake Wakatipu to watch a sunset. It’s one of the best viewpoints to watch the sun sink behind the Southern Alps. I like watching from Queenstown Beach or Perky’s Floating Bar where you get a view of the lake and delicious food and drinks too!
- Go canyoning – Climb and jump off waterfalls, rappel, swim, and trek as part of this Queenstown Canyoning Adventure with a qualified guide. This thrilling full-day activity is perfect for those who love adventure and exploration! As long as you aren’t afraid of heights and have a basic swimming ability you won’t need any other skills.
- See Milford Sound – This day trip to Milford South with a picnic lunch will give you the ultimate ability to explore the beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. Not only will your guide stop at several impressive viewpoints on the way from Queenstown but there is also a cruise in Milford Sound included.
- Wine tasting – This Central Otago Wine Tour and Tasting is my personal favorite wine tour in Queenstown! It is one of the best values for money as for $239 NZD your tour bus will stop at 4 different boutique wineries in the Otago region that include a wide range of wine samples and a provided gourmet lunch platter. As you hop between wineries you’ll gaze out the window at spectacular views.
Why I Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! I almost always book tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
Check out the Viator website here!
Where to Stay in Queenstown
Finding the right place to stay in Queenstown can be hard. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome choices but things book up fast! For that reason, I highly suggest booking your accommodation well in advance.
Honestly, during peak times, any of the best hotels in Queenstown will be fully booked several weeks in advance…you have been warned!
To get you started, here are a few places I personally love and that would make an awesome place to stay in Queenstown.
Absoloot Hostel Queenstown – $
The first is for budget travelers and that’s Absoloot Hostel Queenstown. This small hostel has dorm rooms and budget privates and it’s really clean and comfortable. The location is in the heart of Queenstown – the window from the kitchen looks out over Lake Wakatipu! It is easily one of the top cheap hostels in Queenstown and can be booked on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
La Quinta Queenstown – $$
If you have a little more money to spend, then you should seriously consider La Quinta Queenstown. It’s a beautiful hotel in a quiet but close location and the views are amazing (although you won’t find me recommending a place without great views!) The rooms are all studio or one-bedroom apartments, which is really handy if you want to cook or even just have breakfast in your room. You can check availability and book online here.
Kamana Lakehouse – $$$
For a luxurious stay, you can’t pass on Kamana Lakehouse. This hotel is located just on the outskirts of town, far enough that it’s peaceful but close enough to walk to take a short drive into the center of town. Many of the rooms boast lake views, and some even have outdoor baths! The trick will be snagging this for your dates (it’s a popular place!) You can check availability and book online here.
Travel Insurance Has Your Back!
Life can be unpredictable and when you’re traveling abroad, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to pay out of pocket for treatment.
If this concerns you, SafetyWing can help! SafetyWing specializes in very affordable and comprehensive medical and travel insurance that is aimed at digital nomads, remote workers, and long-term travelers. It costs just $45 USD per 4 weeks!
To start coverage, you must purchase it after leaving your home country, so we usually buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
Since using SafetyWing we’ve been reimbursed thousands of dollars when we’ve gotten sick. During the pandemic, they’ve even gone as far as to pay for our last-minute flights back to Canada before the border closed!
Thanks for reading!
There you have it, my picks for the top 6 hot pools in and around Queenstown! These are such great additions to your time in the city – especially if you’ve had busy days full of hiking or exploring. There’s nothing quite like some relaxing while you’re on holiday, am I right?
Whether you’re planning a long or short stay in New Zealand, I hope you have an amazing time! If you enjoyed this blog, take a peek at my other Queenstown travel guides before you go: