Hell’s Gate and Wai Ora Spa: Rotorua

Hells Gate and Wai Ora Spa is approximately 18km and 20 minutes drive east of town.

The name is apt as the geothermal reserve is highly suggestive of an end-of-the-world scene – except the 45-minute walk comes complete with signage and a map.

We began with the walk and were very impressed and a little alarmed by the furious fumaroles and pools of violent boiling mud, the entire landscape was steaming, scalded and sulphur coated. Further on there were beautiful colours, formations and a cascading hot waterfall.

During the walk, we were also shown how to do wood carving and with varying degrees of success and much amusement we created our own small carvings to take home.

The mineral enriched geothermal muds and waters are renowned for their curative and invigorating properties which cleanses, detoxifies and regenerates skin cells. So, after the walk, we indulged in a mud bath, spa and massage.

Hell’s Gate has semi-private mud baths with an open spa area overlooking the thermal park. Wai Ora is more upmarket and private in a separate area from the rest of the complex.

The mud bath is about 20 minutes long where you cover yourself in silky mud which leaves your skin tingling, clean and soft. Then a quick dash through a cold shower before moving to the sulphurous spa.

You can relax in the hot sulphur pool for as long as you want, while the water enhances the smoothness and softness of your skin from the mud bath. Meanwhile, I was off for my massage, as if I could possibly be any more relaxed by this stage.

Overall, Hell’s Gate is a reasonably expensive for the full package, but I thought it offered a unique and memorable experience bundled together at one location.

  • Address – 361 State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua, New Zealand
  • Departure point – Complimentary shuttle service to and from accommodation with package deals at several intervals during the day
  • Price – $20+/adult and $10+/child 15 years old and under 5 years old is free
  • Open hours – Open Daily (Except Christmas Day) 8.30am – 8.30pm
  • Duration – Depends on the options you choose
  • Phone – (07) 345 3151
  • Email – bookings@hellsgate.co.nz
  • Website – www.hellsgate.co.nz
  • Kid/families – Yes What to bring – togs (swimsuit) and towel but you can hire them at $2.50 each (plus a refundable $20 deposit)
  • Bookings – recommended for spa treatments