Queenstown is located on the South Island of New Zealand, and is commonly known as the adrenaline capital of the world. People from all over the world flock to this adventure capital for bungee jumping, white-water rafting, sky-diving, jet-boating and much more. However, Queenstown is not only great for these types of activities, but also its natural beauty and experiences based on relaxation and tranquility. The Onsen Hot Pools are exactly this.
Set in a quiet valley where you get your very own private hot tub high over the Shotover riverbed, overlooking the mountains and the crystal clear river. If you’re in search for a retreat and tranquil elegance, the Onsen Hot Pools are for you!
How To Get To The Onsen Hot Pools
The Onsen Hot Pools are located in Arthurs Point, which is only a short drive away from Queenstown. There are three ways you can reach them.
Firstly, if you have your own car/hiring you can easily drive from Queenstown, which only takes around 10-15 minutes, it’s a scenic drive through the mountains and over the Shotover River. Make sure to stop at the bridge on the way to capture the jet-boats shooting through the crystal blue waters.
The second option is via public bus. Bus line 2 goes from Queenstowns Town Centre (Camp Street Station) to Arthurs Point, and the last stop is literally right opposite the Onsen Hot Pools entrance. The bus fare is only NZ$2 each way. Depending on the time of day, the bus leaves every 30 to 60 minutes and takes about 15 to 20 minutes.
The third option is via their complimentary shuttle service from Queenstown, you do need to pre-book this and it’s only available for pool bookings on-the-hour (ie. 3pm, 4pm, etc.). Do note that the shuttle bus leaves the Station Building sharp at half past the hour, to ensure you are in your pool on time!
There is technically a fourth option, however we do not recommend it as it is very expensive. You can take a taxi, but the price is likely to be around NZ$40 each way.
How To Book
Our package and experience was organised and provided by Experience Oz and it couldn’t have been easier. They have such an array of tours, sites, packages to choose from around Australia and New Zealand. We’d heard many great things about Experience Oz and since booking with them, we now know why.
Another bonus of booking with them is that you’ll receive the Tandeki Experience (see different packages below) for the same price as basic Onsen Experience on the homepage of the Onsen Hot Pools. Meaning you can indulge and have a few extra benefits (beer, bubbly, chocolate or ice-cream for example) for the same price. We know you would never say no to that!
There are three different packages to choose from, which must be booked in advance.
Tip: make sure to book well in advance as the pools get booked up very quickly.
The basic package is The Onsen Experience. Which includes one hour of pure relaxation in one of their private cedar hot tubs with views of the Shotover River. On their website this costs $95 for two people during day time hours and $119 for two people during sunset and evening.
The middle package is the Tandeki Experience. Which you get when booking through Experience Oz for $96 for two people during day time hours and $120 for two people during sunset and evening. This includes, an aromatherapy burner, towels, a complimentary glass of the regions finest wine, beer or juice and a choice of ice cream, crisps or chocolate to enjoy while you soak in one of their private hot tubs for an hour.
If you’re looking for pure indulgence, the Ultimate Relaxation Package might be the one for you. Similar to the Tandeki Experience but with a 60 minute or 120 minute massage. This cost upwards of $432.00 for two people. Quite expensive, and the Tandeki Experience is definitely the best value for money!
You can book those packages for either one or two hours. We were there for an hour, and while it was enough to take in the scenery and enjoy the pool, we were a bit surprised how quickly our time was over, although we were taking so many photos as we couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. So, if you really want to enjoy your experience and love photography like us, booking two hours might be worth it.
Our Experience/What To Expect
When you arrive at the Onsen Hot Pools, you’ll be greeted by magnificent views of the mountains and surrounding landscape, if you book a daytime session you’ll most likely see the jet-boats blasting through the river, it’s amazing! Make sure to plan your journey, and arrive no later than 15 minutes before your scheduled time. We got there 20 minutes before, check-in was very quick and professional.
The waiting area is chic and welcoming, with a fire place and sofas to relax whilst you wait to be called to your private room. This is where the staff will take your orders if you’ve booked the Tandeki Experience. Our pool was ready in no time and one of the workers took us down to the private pool, together with the beer, sparkling wine, chips and chocolate that we ordered.
All pools have their own private shower and a small changing area bench to keep your clothes dry. According to your preference you can lower or rise the retractable roof if it gets to cold or windy outside. There are also four buttons to control the bubbles in the tub, the lighting in the room, the retractable roof and even a cold water jet that will pour from the ceiling (however make sure you’re not under it, as it’s very cold!).
The pictures honestly do not do it justice. The views out of the hot tub were out of this world, it was like a real life postcard. Sipping on our beer and bubbly while sitting in a hot tub, overlooking the mountains and the river is really tough to beat. As we mentioned earlier, you can book a session during the day, for sunset or at night. We really can’t say what would be the best, because they’ve all got their advantages. During the day, you get those very blue river colours. Sunsets always result in a great atmosphere, and at night you get a fantastic night sky full of stars including lanterns in your room.
Once your one or two hours is over, one of the staff members will give you a 10 minute warning by knocking on the door. At this point, you can either get changed inside or enjoy the hot tub a little longer and change in their public changing rooms, we took this option as we wanted as much time as possible in the water.
Overall, we cannot recommend the Onsen Hot Pools enough if you’re looking for relaxation after a long day hiking/adventure or you’re just wanting tranquility with your partner. By slowing down the pace you’ll come to realise just how beautiful this part of New Zealand really is, and you’ll come to realise it may be very hard to beat!
Book your Onsen Hot Pools with Experience Oz here!
Luxurybackpacking was welcomed as a guest of Experience Oz to the Onsen Hot Pools, as always all opinions are our own and we were not influenced in any way.
Have you been to Queenstown? Does this sound like your ideal getaway? We’d love to know in the comments!
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