The author at Welcome Flat Hot Pools, south of Fox Glacier. Photo by Maryann Williams.

Book of the week: a guide to the hot pools of New Zealand

You need this book in your life, right now, this instant. Steve Braunias recommends a New Zealand classic.

Finally a guidebook that takes you somewhere you want to go, like right now, as the country trembles under a cold snap and is dying for some warmth. Sally Jackson is the author of a new edition of her classic book Hot Springs of New Zealand, which features over 100 hot springs.

You want this book in your life. Jackson is self-publishing her latest edition and has set up a Pledgeme page to promote and pre-sell signed copies.

The author at Welcome Flat Hot Pools, south of Fox Glacier. Photo by Maryann Williams.

She writes, “Fans of elusive hot springs are provided with GPS coordinates, map references and the detailed directions needed to find them (there are a lot more hot springs in the South Island than most people realise).

“Pledgers will have opportunities to receive signed copies of the book, along with an emailed map-file containing GPS coordinates for 50 of New Zealand’s free hot springs (opens in Google Earth).”

Jackson really knows her stuff; she’s a hot water sleuth, an old wet hand, an expert of the bubbling mineral soak.

Waitaha River Hot Springs, located up a remote valley on the West Coast.

The first edition of her book was published by Reed in 2008. I gave it a rave in Sunday magazine: “Of course Jackson goes to the famous spots in Te Aroha, Hanmer, Waiwera, Miranda, Mt Maunganui, Rotorua, Tokaanu, Maruia. But this is a woman who stalks her prey, tramping four hours to find a fibreglass tank up the Mohaka River, six hours to fiddle with a black plastic pipe connected to cool spring water in a dammed hillside pool above the Hurunui River, 13 hours to ford and reford rivers to sit in a 40 degree pool with views of a pale blue glacier on the West Coast, and four days in the Southern Alps to locate New Zealand’s most isolated hot springs somewhere or other in the Mungo River.

The Lost Spring, Whitianga

“She notes the intentional lack of showers at the public Wairiki Pools in Ngawha – the idea is to leave those precious, healing minerals on your skin as long as possible. She hands out the phone number for the farmer who owns the private kauri-lined tubs at Te Maire. She lists the nudist hot springs and the hot springs beneath hot waterfalls.

“Her book is an indispensable addition to any New Zealand roadtrip.”

It still is, and her new edition is the most up-to-date record of just about the most precious natural resource in New Zealand. Get a copy. Put it in the car. Get thee to the nearest hot spring at once.


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