West Coast

Relaxing at the Glacier Hot Pools, Franz Josef

The words “glacier” and “hot pools” don’t seem like they belong together, but this is the new age and magical things can happen when electricity is involved. Sitting there in your private hot pool, surrounded by rainforest, the mechanics of how your glacier fed pool came into existence will be the furthest thing from your mind. You’ll be relaxing, and chances are you’ll need it after a few days of travel on the West Coast.

The Glacier Hot Pools

We were lucky enough to be hosted by Glacier Hot Pools on our recent trip to the West Coast. After an early morning walk to Franz Josef Glacier, and lots of short hikes the day before, our heavy legs and aging backs needed some rest. We headed to our private pool, with its own little changing room, and emerged 30 minutes later ready to take on the world (or at least a couple more West Coast walks).

Our hot pool experience didn’t end there though, as there are three large public pools to lie in when your time is up in the private ones. They are all slightly different temperatures and were almost empty when we were there. We visited at around lunchtime — it seems like a good time to go if you want some (public) privacy. If you really want to make a day of it you can also book a variety of massages and spa treatments.

Other things to do in Franz Josef

It’d be tempting to spend all day relaxing in the Glacier Hot Pools, but there is so much else to see nearby (and you’d probably get really wrinkly if you did). Obviously you’ll want to do the hike to Franz Josef Glacier, which takes around 90 minutes. It’s best to do it in the morning as the weather is generally at its best early. It rains a lot on the West Coast so bring a jacket! You can also go out after dark to spot glow worms or hike one of several other trails close to town.

READ MORE: Hiking the Franz Josef Glacier Track

Glacier Hot Pools Info

  • Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm (last entry at 8 pm)
  • Costs: Access to the public pools costs $28. Private pools cost $95 (for two people) plus $15 per extra person (max 4). You get 45 minutes in the private pools — when your time is up it’ll slowly drain. When paying for a private pool you also get access to the public ones, so if you have a few people it makes sense to go for the private option.
  • Towels are provided and there’s free WiFi.

Getting to the Glacier Hot Pools

The Glacier Hot Pools are located on Cron Street in Franz Josef (a street over from the main road). Franz Josef is one of the most popular tourist towns on the West Coast and it’s a great place to stop for the night. There are lots of hotels, bars and restaurants and numerous activities to do, including hiking, helicopter trips and glacier walks.

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Disclaimer: We were hosted by Glacier Hot Pools. All thoughts and opinions are our own

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.
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