You might never have thought you’d thank Mother Nature for dirt, but immersing yourself in a mud bath at Hells Gate Geothermal Park would change your mind. Hells Gate Geothermal Park is treasured by Maori as a place of healing and revitalisation. The Ngati Rangiteaorere tribe of Maori in Rotorua have lived on this special site for over 700 years. It’s the only Maori-owned thermal park in New Zealand.
This refreshing mud bath experience wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the tourism office of Rotorua! They worked with me in arranging all fun and unique adventures in Rotorua for me and my buddy, Ryan.
A Stroll Through the Geothermal Park
When you get to Rotorua, the sulphur in the air means it smells like rotten eggs…not very pleasant. But after a while you get used to it and it is incredible to see this hotbed of geothermal activity. Hells Gate & Wai Ora Spa is based on a volcanic plateau, producing hot springs, steaming fumeroles, erupting geysers and mud pools.
Here you can explore the pool where Maori Princess Hurutini lost her life and take to the special muds and sulphurous waters that have been guarded for centuries by warrior Kaitaki.
Before indulging in the spa experience, Ryan and I did a walk around the geothermal park. As we walked through the geothermal park, we passed boiling hot springs of different temperatures and colors, a sulphur pool with a PH similar to strong acid, a mud volcano, a pool of boiling water which is 122 degrees Celsius at the surface, a pool used by Maoris for cooking and a medicinal sulphur lake.
The highlight was the Kahaki falls, which is a hot waterfall with a temperature of 40 degrees; warm enough to take a shower. The Maori Warriors used it to bathe their wounds and remove the “tapu” (sacredness) of war under this waterfall before returning to their families. Nonetheless, it is the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere.
Ryan and I agreed that we were in awe of the spectacular landscape. We couldn’t stop taking photos and contemplating over the view throughout our walk. It took us about 45 minutes to finish the park.
Mud Bath Spa
Ah, now it was time for the mud bath. Ryan and I were given towels and boxes to put your clothes in as soon as we entered the spa area. Then we were advised on health and safety before going into the mud. We were told that we were allowed 20 minutes in the bath due to it causing a rise in body temperature.
Ryan and I couldn’t wait to pamper ourselves, so we immediately dipped into the pool after our clothes were removed. The water wasn’t even too hot or cold at all. It was perfectly comfortable.
You will find a container with fresh mud by the pool. All you have to do is scoop some mud with your hands and give yourself a mud body mask.
To fully enjoy your mud bath experience, cover yourself in the silky smooth geothermal mud in the stainless steel container in the mud bath. The mud is rich in minerals and the sulphur lakes have curative and invigorating properties. It’s a complete detox therapy that helps to remove toxins and impurities from the body, thus leaving one feel refreshed and rejuvenated. They also contain many minerals that can soothe itchy, irritated skin.
After you’ve covered yourself, all you have to do is relax and wait until your 20 minutes is over. It’s long enough for a mud face mask to dry and start cracking.
Boy, that 20 minutes surely went by so fast. Ryan and I were asked to leave the pool and rinse ourselves into a cold shower before going into the sulphur spa where you are free to soak with no time limit. That cold shower wasn’t fun, but getting out of the cold and into the sulphur spa is the best part of the experience. I’ve never felt so awake and aware.
The sulphur spa got me relaxing beyond my abilities. My level of relaxation went through the roof. I was so relaxed to the point that I wasn’t looking forward to leave, but it had to end eventually.
Also, since Hells Gate is unique in that it is the only “acid sulphate ” geothermal system in NZ, you will smell like sulphur and it’s not too pleasing as I’ve mentioned, so do your best to wash yourself well afterwards. However, your pores will exude sulphur for up to 24 hours after your mud bath experience regardless.
Besides, you can find more information on how to wash your swimwear and towels that you have used for your mud bath and spa experience here.
Seriously… My skin was unbelievably smooth and soft afterwards. It allowed my pores to breathe and reduced my acne breakouts.
I will be lying if I didn’t tell you that this was the best Mud Bath I’ve ever had. You cannot miss out on this when you’re in the North Island of New Zealand!
Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa
- Address: State Highway 30, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.hellsgate.co.nz/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HellsGateROTORUA/