Tokaanu Thermal Pools

Quick Trip to the Thermal Springs: Tokaanu Thermal Pools

Tokaanu Thermal Springs

Tokaanu Thermal Springs

We strive to get out of the house a little each day, even if it is just for a walk around the neighborhood. We spent the morning researching and buying helmets and life jackets for kayaking, so we didn’t want to spend lots of time researching a cool place to visit.  Also, neither of us felt very well, so we didn’t want a long hike.  I was flipping through a brochure for the area when I came across a 20 minute walk through hot springs. – Perfect, a short walk, not far from here, to see something we’ve never seen before.


Paul Googled the location and directions and we were on our way.  The Tokaanu Thermal Pools are only a few minutes outside of Turangi and very easy to find.  We passed several hotels (or motels more like it) along the way that advertised private thermal pools.  I wonder if this means each room has its own thermal pool or if it is one large one for the entire hotel.

The entrance to Tokaanu wasn’t anything spectacular.  I guess hot springs are so abundant around here that it isn’t that big of a deal.  It was a small parking lot with a standard, green, national park-like, sign. The front office had a few brochures and an entry fee if you wanted to bathe in the hot springs, the options included a public pool or a private bath for a few dollars more.  They set a time limit of 20 minutes for the private thermal pool.  We didn’t do the bath – I’m nervous about how sanitary it might be.  Is it like a hot tub, crawling with germs and the perfect breeding ground for bacteria?

Steam from Thermal Pool

Steam from Thermal Pool

We walked around the park.  It was a just like a nature trail you would see at any national park in the U.S., but there were pools of steaming water around every corner.  Some of the pools were obviously from an underground spring; you could see a small gush of perfectly clear water tunneling from deep within the ground.  Other pools were muddy and looked more like small ponds or just a collection of rainwater, except the steam and bubbles made it apparent that it was a thermal spring.  Some of the water seemed to mix with river water – I’m not 100% sure about this, but some areas seemed cooler than others – maybe it was just the wind.  Over one part I was able to stick my hand through the fence and dip a finger in the water.  It was like bath water, hot but not boiling.

Tokaanu Thermal Pools

Tokaanu Thermal Pools

The coolest thing we saw were the pools of bubbling mud. There weren’t any large mud pools, just small ones about the size of a large truck tire.  The hot volcanic air would come out in brown bubbles the size of softballs.  We actually saw one spew out like a geyser, although it only lasted a few seconds.

Tokaanu Thermal Mud Pool

Tokaanu Thermal Mud Pool

Mud Boiling and Bubbling

Mud Boiling and Bubbling

I was surprised there wasn’t a heavy smell of sulfur.  There was only a hint of foul odor in the air and when I wasn’t near the steam I didn’t notice it at all.  The Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine had a worse smell to it than the thermal springs in Turangi.

If you are searching for amazing thermal springs, I wouldn’t say that Tokaanu is a must see.  I imagine there are much better parks, but if you are close by and want something quick, free and fun, this is definitely something to consider.

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