We had planned to visit Waiotapu Springs, but when we arrived to an overflowing carpark (with traffic marshalls!) we drove a bit further along the road to this valley. What a hidden gem! There is a main pool (thermally heated, but the coolest of the pools), four smaller pools of varying heats, a couple of two-person tubs, and private pools (which we didn't use). We moved from pool to pool and enjoyed the beautiful setting.
We ate our picnic lunch, supplemented by drinks from the cafe, at big wooden tables and chairs, under a very welcome sunshade. If you have no togs or towels, you can hire them: $10 per item, and you get $5 back on return.
I highly recommend the walk to the spring itself. When the steam clears, you can see masses of hot water bubbling to the surface. There are helpful signs along the path explaining the history and the science of the springs, and how they go about cooling the water from 90+ degrees to something people can soak in.
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