After spending time in Rotorua (for more on that click here), we visited Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland to see the Champagne Pool and all of the other creatively named thermal sights. The grounds are extensive and we enjoyed the walk to discover the many caves, lookout points, and pools. We even took a picnic in with us. If you have time, I recommend checking out this sight and touring the entire sight. But, if you are short on time it is easy to do the first loop or just part of it to see the Champagne Pool and some of the other top spots.

Hot and Cold (not a “secret hot spring pool”)

After, we went to Hot and Cold. It is under the bridge on the way out of Waiotapu on Waiotapu Loop Road. This free, natural hot spring is the perfect place to relax after a long day of sightseeing. We weren’t the only ones who thought so. There were some locals and tourists enjoying a soak along with us. This place had a great vibe when we were there.

Hot and Cold is aptly named because of the hot thermal waters mixing with the cold water stream. You can literally pick your perfect temperature or switch between extremes just by moving around the pool.

Pro tip

Locals let us know that it is not a good idea to put your head under water because amoeba could be present in the water. I learned that if you do dunk your head you put yourself at risk of contracting amoebic meningitis. So keep your head up (up and above the water that is). For more on amoebic meningitis click here.

The locals told us where we could get mud to bring back to the Hot and Cold pool and Ryan went on a mission. Soon enough, he returned (as if showing up to a flailing party with a keg) and in a matter of minutes he had almost everyone covered in the healing thermal mud. Suddenly, we looked like a group of warriors. Or maybe more like stone statue replicas of ourselves. It bonded us together and we became one family for the rest of our soak!