When you think of an Onsen your mind wanders to the Japanese Islands, nestled away in the Pacific. But what if I told you there was a Japanese Onsen hidden in the heart of Rotorua in the center of New Zealand’s North Island?
Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity and boasts a large number of hot springs. The city itself often has a sulfuric smell lingering over it which thankfully you get used to very quickly.
Just on the edge of the CBD you’ll find Terume Hot Springs, operated by a lovely family.
The property consists of 12 suites, 2 private indoor hot springs and 1 outdoor hot spring. Like the Japanese version, the Onsen follows traditions with bathers entering the water nude after first cleansing in a shower to keep the water pure.
While not 5 star resort, the rooms are very clean and comfortable and feature a full function kitchen with a minibar, microwave and full compliment of utensils, plates, bowls etc.
The bedding consists of a double bed and a single bed and there’s a small sitting area near the oil heater that keeps the room toasty warm throughout the night (it gets very cold in Rotorua in the winter). The beds are comfortable and you’ll be sure to have a very cosy sleep with the heater keeping guard against the cold.
Outside is a balcony or verandah (depending which level you are on) which has comfortable benches to sit on if you’d like some outside time.
The Hot Springs (Onsen 温泉)
The outdoor spring operates on a rotating basis between men and women, there are no mixed sessions. It is surrounded by a traditional Japanese garden and is very private from the outside world. There’s also some areas to sit and relax outside the hot springs where you can enjoy some cool water and watch the world pass by.
The indoor baths are private and can enjoyed by a couple. They are deep enough to sit in and are much larger than an average bath.
All the areas follow Japanese tradition with a changing area to take your clothing off which you then place in a basket. You then cover yourself with a towel until you enter the water.
The water comes from an underground source which is approximately 190C but is cooled down to 42C for your pleasure.
It does take a little while to get used to the heat but once your body acclimatises to it, it is very relaxing. It is said that the water has healing powers and I certainly had a lot less aches and pains after 30 minutes in the water.
You can find more information on Terume Hot Spring Resort on their website – terumeresort.co.nz where bookings are also available.
I highly recommend this property. It has a far friendly atmosphere than the large hotel chains in town and the hot springs at your door are a great deal maker.
The friendliness of the staff have helped the property score 10/10 in my ratings scheme and I not only highly recommend a stay here but plan to visit again on my next trip to Rotorua.