These hot salt water pools at the base of Mount Maunganui (Mauao) are believed to be unique in the Southern Hemisphere.
Open since the 1950s, the Mount Hot Pools has become an iconic venue in sunny Bay of Plenty. Memories made here span generations and customers who enjoyed the pools years ago often come to relive the fun with their own children.
Mount Maunganui Domain Natural Hot Salt Water Pool Postcard published by Logan Print, 150. Collection of Justine Neal, August 1973.
As far back as 500BC, Hippocrates recognised the health benefits of warmed seawater for its ability to rebalance and detoxify our bodies. Salt water bathing was believed to improve mobility by easing muscle and joint inflammation, and general aches and pains.
Today, those healing properties remain, and it’s all right here beneath the majesty of Mauao, Mount Maunganui. Come and soak in our heated salt water pools and experience the benefits for yourself.
Top it off with a massage from our massage therapists to really treat your body.
The development of Mount Hot Pools goes back to the 1950s when Mount Maunganui required more fresh water for an increasing population.
Mr Claris, a local water diviner, assured the Council that he would be able to find sufficient water for the town supply. But rather than finding fresh water, he found hot salt water.
Nothing was done about his discovery until Council instigated the swimming pool development in the early 1960s. A bore was installed to tap the natural supplies of hot salt water and this is the same bore water that is used to heat our natural ocean water today. Read more about the process of heating our water here.
January 1966 – The original pool was opened on the reserve between two camping grounds (Adams Ave).
1975 – Pool extensions and new facilities were added.
1990 – The pools as we know them today were remodeled.
Mr Denniston says hot water used to flow over the beach from where the hot pools are now. In 1926 he and his friends used to swim in the hot water by digging out pools. The water came out from behind the pub near Old Man Courtney’s Store, [he] says it was salt water.
(Excerpt from Council records)
The Mount Hot Pools is privileged to operate on historically and culturally significant land at the base of Mauao. The work of art situated outside Mount Hot Pools is titled He Pou Rarama. Created by artist Tiare Dickson, it tells the story of the four sacred springs of Mauao.
Dickson chose this story because one of these four sacred springs, Te Puna Waitapu, was the original hot pool used in ancient times for bathing and healing.
Waipatukākahu on the western side of Mauao was a spring used for washing. Ruarapapari was a cool water spring for drinking and bathing, and the most sacred spring of all, Te Kawa Waipuna, led into two pools: one for birthing children and one for bathing the deceased.
The tale of the springs is widely relevant. “It is meaningful to all iwi and hapu and cultures who have a connection to Mauao, so everyone will feel involved in this work,” says Dickson.
The pou is crafted from corten steel rather than the more traditional wood, which would erode in the corrosive salt air at the foot of Mauao. The contemporary material will purposefully rust over time to match the natural landscape.
The four springs are represented on each side of the pou by a different colour.
We respect our natural resources and aim to minimise our footprint throughout everything we do.
Here at the Mount Hot Pools we are thankful to Tangaroa, God of the Sea, for providing us with our natural sea water, and to Ruaumoko, God of Volcanoes, for our geothermic heating. In return, we show our respects to Papatuanuku, Mother Earth, by ensuring we are utilising our given energy efficiently.
Other ways we aim to give back include decreasing our carbon footprint via recycling and minimising energy wastage through our operational efficiencies.
Please help us preserve beautiful Aoteroa by utilising our recycling facilities.
Nā Te Puna Waiwera o Mauao, he mihi nui ki a Tangaroa, te atua o te moana, nāna te wai o te Ao Tūroa i kī mai nei. He mihi hoki ki a Ruaumoko nā te ngāwha i whakawerahia. Kua puta mai hoki he whakamiha ki a Papatūānuku mō ngā taonga mōna i whakamahi pai tēnā.
Arā atu, ko te whāinga i a mātou, kia heke haere te tapuwae waro, nā te hangārua ara, e whakaiti ana te moumou pūngao hoki.
Āwhinatia mai mātou, kia rokiroki te whenua ātaahua o Aotearoa.
The Mount Hot Pools logo resembles a water droplet, which is transformed into the extinct volcano Mauao by both the green peak and harakeke flax weave on the side.
On the top left a glimmer of yellow represents the Mauao Legend of how it was caught by the light, and left in its current location by fairies for eternity. The bottom segment is red hot from the bore water used to heat the pools 600m beneath Mauao. Finally, a wave in the middle signifies the Pacific Ocean where the pool water is sourced from.
"It is such a beautiful spot as the sun goes down and the evening sets in. The premises are very well kept, clean and tidy."