(“Hello”  or “Be Well” in the Māori language)

When I knew I was going to New Zealand the one thing everyone said not to miss was Onsen Hot Pools Retreat & Day Spa in Queenstown. They were not wrong!

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An Onsen is a Japanese hot spring. In Japan there are 1000’s of Onsens. After some research, I learned that hot springs were once considered a sacred place where injuries and diseases could be cured. They use hot geothermally heated spring water containing beneficial minerals and compounds.  Come On!!! this is truly a special experience.

Overlooking the Shotover River Canyon the setting for the Onsen Hot Pools are absolutely stunning. This is a Luxury Travel Experience for sure.

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We were greeted like royalty, offered tea and nibbles while we signed in.  Then we were shown to our private hot pool bath where again luxurious robes, drinks, snacks and gifts awaited us. After showering, you enter the cedar hot tubs. This is pampering at its finest! Soooo delightful to soothe all your aches and pains.

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The pools were each separated by walls but in good weather open to the outside night and day. Oh god, the views were amazing!  While we were languishing in our pool, savoring the peace and views, there were Shotover jet boats riding in the Shotover River below.  These boats ride fast and high on the shallow water of the river as they spin around 360° thrilling their riders.

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Looks like such fun, but we could only enjoy from afar as we never had enough time to participate in what looks like a crazy, fun, exhilarating time.  This is a unique way to experience the Shotover Canyons. Queenstown is truly an outdoor adventure paradise.  There is no shortage of things to do here from boating to skydiving, tandem paragliding, luge, hiking, biking, helicopter rides and skiing.

Like I’ve said before, I believe it is possible to find La Dolce Vita outside Italy.  Just look for it! New Zealand is unlike anywhere I’ve ever been with its glaciers, mountains and lakes. You know I couldn’t resist bringing my camera in to the pool but quickly abandoned it to just relax and enjoy the moment. Otherwise, I would have had a very unhappy husband 🙂

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There are a few rules to follow in any Onsen.  Shower first so you don’t contaminate the water, do not put your hair underwater and in some cases you might be allowed a bathing suit but typically nudity is the name of the game.  The water is so silky and feels so good on your skin, so indulge! Besides, you are in your own private room so there is no one to see you. Let all those yummy minerals and compounds sink into your skin.  The baths are drained and cleaned regularly so no worry about who was in there last.

After our allotted time in the bath we had arranged for a couples massage.  I know lots of people like to just zone out while getting a deep tissue massage but I love to chat and learn about my therapist. I was fascinated what brought them to this occupation and to New Zealand in this case.

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When you’re done; more treats and drinks are provided while you wait for your ride back to town. Onsen Hot Pools in Queenstown even picks you up in town and brings you back after.


Loved every moment! Highly recommend this experience.

After being dropped off and this relaxing treat we went all out for lunch at the infamous Fergburger. Yikes this is a burger on steroids!  What the hell we are on vacation 🙂


Want more New Zealand? Did you miss the blog on the wineries of Central Otago?  Here is a link too: Whose up for a wine tour or Bungy jumping?   

In case you want more about the South Island: Queenstown – Glenorchy or as some call it land of Lord of the Rings.