Hells Gate, Rotorua, New Zealand - A Family Experience

by - 2:32 PM

The North Island of New Zealand is full of geothermal wonders. So of course you have to include a mud bath/sulphur spa on your New Zealand itinerary. For day 1 of our family tour, we started the day at the Hobbiton Movie Set then travelled 1.5 hours to get to our next stop: Hells Gate to experience a natural wonder and to indulge in some pampering. Anybody up for a mud facial? Let's tick that off the bucketlist.

The Cost

You can opt to do the geothermal walk without the spa for $35 per person, or do the spa without the walk for $75 per person. But we were already so we might as well go for the NZD$90 (NZD$215 for a family of 4) package for the geothermal walk and mud and sulphur spa, right? While you have the option to book online, we opted to just walk in and book and pay there because we weren't sure how the day would actually turn out. I didn't want to risk wasting a pre-booking. Walking in was no problem at all.

The Geothermal Walk

It's true what they say, Rotorua's geothermal wonders smell like rotten eggs. You can smell it from the parking lot. Gag reflex acting up. Once you get used to it, you can start the walk and you won't regret it.

According to their website, the walk is approximately 45 mins-1 hour long along 50 acres of the geothermal reserve. It is a self-guided walk. We walked at a leisurely pace and enjoyed staring at the bubbling and boiling waters... There were plenty of warning signs and while it was absolutely tempting to get closer and closer... don't. Some of those waters are above 100 degrees Celsius. Boiling hot.

While I have been to hot springs before, this was nothing like it. You could actually see the water or the mud boiling to a point where it was spouting up some water or steam. It is pretty scary to imagine what would happen if one fell in...

Hells Gate is also home to a large mud volcano so it's really no wonder why they run a mud spa. They definitely have tons of fresh supply right there.

Wood Carving

After we finished our walking route, we found a section where we could avail of free wood carving. This was a pleasant surprise as we didn't know this was included in the tour (although I probably should have read about it).

We got to choose from pre-drawn symbols which stood for words like 'love' or 'loyalty'. I chose the simplest one and while the demonstrator made it look so simple to do, it was NOT as easy as it looks. I guess I have no future in wood carving but this was sure a fun activity for the whole family.

The Mud Bath

The mud bath/spa section of Hells Gate was a lot smaller than I had imagined. However, it was just as enjoyable. The staff were friendly and were smart enough to advice us to remove our wedding rings and not to put them on until 24 hours after so that they don't stain due to the sulphur on the skin.

We didn't book our own private mud pool but they limit the number of people in 1 pool anyway so we got to enjoy one mud pool to ourselves. The square bucket in the above photo is where you can dip your hands in to grab some mud to lather on. We obviously got too excited and didn't realise that there were actually guidelines that said that you're not supposed to put mud on your forehead or anywhere near the eyes... Oops.

The hot pools were too hot for my 5-year-old niece (although they say that these are safe for kids above 2 years old as long as they stay hydrated). She dipped her feet in instead. But everyone else enjoyed and like to think that the steam and hot pool opened up and cleansed our pores.. and the mud exfoliated and rejuvenated our skin. Lather me up!

Jeannie in a Bottle Blog Tips for Hells Gate:
  • Bring your own towel - this will save you some towel rental money.
  • Bring water and stay hydrated.
  • Only wear the swimwear and use the towels that you are happy to dispose of. 
  • Follow website instructions for washing your sulphur-stained clothes and DO NOT put them in the dryer with your other clothes.. Take it from us. Lesson learned the hard way. Some clothes were just too permanently stinky that they had to be disposed of.

Have you been to New Zealand North Island before? What was your favourite experience? Are you into mud baths too?


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  1. mud bath looks so much fun.. Loved your boots

  2. Amazing :)


  3. I've never been to New Zealand! It looks so cool on your photos! And you look amazing darling! *.*


  4. You look amazing, honey! Lovely place!

  5. I've never done anything like that before, it sounds like so much fun! :)

    Hope that you have a lovely weekend ahead of you! It's going to be a hot one here, feeling so much like summer! :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

  6. New Zealand looks so amazing and is somewhere I really need to check out soon! I'd definitely do this mud bath regardless of the smell and the stains, but it was really interesting to read that you can smell the gasses from the carpark hahaha

    The Hidden Thimble - View our latest post

  7. Wow! It looks so amazing. I want visit it. It´s lovely place :)
    Inspiration by Linda

  8. This looks like such a beautiful place to visit! The mud bath definitely looks like a lot of fun!


  9. I love Rotorua NZ is amazing glad you had a great time xoxo Cris

  10. Wow its such a cool place!

  11. It sounds like an amazing experience:-)Thanks for sharing!


  12. This looks like so much fun! Once you get over the smell the walk would be so interesting! Such an amazing experience for you all. I really enjoyed reading your post lovely! xx


  13. This looks like so much fun Hun and such an incredible experience! x

    Grace Louise || www.gracelouiseofficial.blogspot.co.uk/

  14. This looks like so much fun! Thanks for sharing. Xo, Ellese


  15. That look like so much fun!


  16. Looks like you had such an amazing time!!
    xo, allie

  17. The hot pools looks so much fun indeed!
    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  18. Wow looks like so much fun!
    xx- Nina


  19. Oh so good trip darling. thanks for share your experience and photos with us


  20. Looks like you had an amazing time darling!


  21. Hell Gate seems like an amazing place to visit. I've never had a mud bath but I'd love to try it some day. Thanks for sharing these tips, they're very useful. It's great that the staff remember to advise you to take your wedding rings off and keep them that way for 24 hours so they wouldn't be stained.

    Lovely photos. You look cute!

  22. This looks so amazing! I too want to visit now, thanks for sharing doll xx


  23. A mud spa? And I thought I had seen everything! So fun! I LOVE the color of your striped top and that cream vest with it!


  24. Sounds like a fun trip! I'm obsessed with your last outfit!

    S | Je M'appelle Chanel

  25. Love that the tour is inexpensive! The scenery looks amazing! I haven't been to a hot spring before but I can imagine how cool it is to see it in person. I love how everyone got a piece of wood carving to take home! The mud bath looks fun!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

  26. So fun and I'm totally into mud baths. I feel like I can sit there for hours!


  27. This looks like a really fun experience! I've never taken a mud bath before but now I want to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    x Kara | http://karascloset.net

  28. These pictures are amazing! It's so cute! Really amazing!

  29. This looks like so much fun! I've never been into Hells Gate but I went to the Polynesian spa. So this was the area that really smelled everytime we passed by a certain location? Worth checking the next time we'll be in this side of the world again.


  30. That looks so fun! need to go!

    xx, Jessie

  31. Oh wow! What an adventure!
    I haven't tried a mud spa yet.


  32. Wow, I see it is fantastic there!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  33. This looks like such a lovely experience to have enjoyed as a family - the spa really does look super enjoyable :) Have a fabulous week babe!

    aglassofice.com x

  34. Haha the pictures are amazing and it sounds like an amazing trip my dear.
    I hope to visit new zealand one day too :)

    Need cute cat content?
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  35. ahahaha that place is amazing dear
    New post in my Lifestyle Blog !

  36. I've always wanted to do a geothermal spa!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  37. all the places look so amazing, and the mud bath look so fun also ^^


  38. Wow, this is so exciting! I have been longing to go to New Zealand, hopefully some day.
    x Rivania | The Glam Unicorn

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