Is the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua New Zealand worth visiting?

polynesian spa rotorua
The Pavillion Pools in Rotorua.

We were looking for things to do in Rotorua and the Polynesian Spa was highly recommended by our hosts at Karanda Bed & Breakfast, the guesthouse we were staying in for the night. While the temperature outside was 15 degrees, I was tad reluctant to go to the spa, which is made of steaming pools of geothermal water. But I was glad we did so as it was actually rather comforting and relaxing to be soaking in very warm water. My skin felt rather soft too after that. Is the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua New Zealand worth visiting? I was say yes, most definitely.

About the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua New Zealand

According to the spa’s website, the water from two natural springs are fed into the spa’s 28 mineral pools (I suppose these include private pools, as I don’t recall there being so many public pools). I also didn’t realise there were acidic and alkaline water. The slightly acidic Priest Spring is said to be able to relieve tired muscles, aches and pains while the alkaline waters of the Rachel Spring nourishes skin.


The Polynesian Spa was a 10 minute drive from our guesthouse, Karanda B&B. Most of its pools are public and you get the option of renting private pools. S and I got a couple package which cost NZD94 for two, which I thought was pretty worth it. Access to the the public pools cost about NZD32 for one person.

The staff recommended that we use the public pools first before using the private pool. I can see why as it was much easier to shower and and get dressed after that, using the shower provided near the private pool.

Public pools

Polynesian Spa in Rotorua New Zealand
The big public pool – the water wasn’t as warm here.

We visited the spa at night, so I can’t comment on the scenery. But from the pictures, it does look good. We first got change in the public toilet – there were plenty of people – it’s not the cleanest but still decent. You get a complimentary locker token to stash away your valuables. For bulkier coats and other belongings, you can stash them outside the changing area.

Most people would first start with the larger pool (picture above) as it wasn’t so hot. You can then migrate to the pavillion pools (see top picture), which have varying temperatures. We soaked in the pool for about 5 minutes before coming up to rest. It can get pretty warm. The water was quite viscous and smelt similar to the sulphur hot springs I tried in Taiwan.

Private Pool

The private pool was a small little pool – there isn’t much of a view as we got the one which was enclosed by walls. But we could see stars in the sky! The time allocated for the private pool was 30 minutes, but we were out in 20 minutes – largely because we had soaked a fair bit in the public pools and it was pretty warm. I did enjoy the little shower facility we had to ourselves. That beats having to change in the public changing rooms later on.

cafe polynesian spa rotorua
The Cafe – to get juice from.

There was a sweet ending to our experience. As part of the package, we got a nutritious juice at the end from the cafe. The juice was pretty good.

The Travelling Squid’s Take

If you’re looking for activities to do in Rotorua, the Polynesian Spa is definitely worth it. They have various packages tailored to the needs of the individual, families and couples. It’s a perfect evening activity as they are open till 11pm in the evening. It could be psychological but I felt my skin feeling slightly softer after the spa experience. We slept really well after that too.

Polynesian Spa in Rotorua New Zealand

  • Address: 1000 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua, New Zealand
    Phone: +64 7 348 1328
  • Opening hours: 8am – 11pm
  • Last pool entry: 10.15pm
  • Website: