Ngawha Thermal Springs
En route to the north west coast of the North Island, we stopped at a little hot springs called Ngawha Springs, and spent 20 mins there soaking in the pools (temperature varied between the 6 or 8 small pools from about 33 degrees right up to 40, which was far too hot for me so I stayed in the coolest pool).
Paul preferred the hot ones, so stayed down the other end of the complex, where he met a couple of very big maori women who joked with him and said they were going to eat him!
In my pool, I met a woman from the UK who now lives in the area and comes to these pools often, and we had a good chat while relaxing.
It was only the 2nd hot springs complex we came across on our travels to the North of Auckland – there was another one, Waiwera, north of Orewa, but it looked very much like an upmarket resort and there’s no way we could have got in there for the $4 per adult we did at Ngawha, which wasn’t over developed at all, and looked like photos I’d seen of hot springs over 30 years ago, with wooden surrounds to the small pools, and no concrete to be seen.
The guy at the desk (who you leave to mind your belongings while you're in the pool) was very helpful and told us a lot about the springs, and told us our bodies would know when we got in the water, which one was best for us, as different ones had different properties.
It seems to be a place well frequented by locals, a bit off the beaten track, which was great for us.