After a relaxing day trip? Look no further than Onsen hot pools Queenstown!
Onsen hot pools are a must-visit when in Queenstown. Onsen is Japanese for ‘hot spring’, and these natural hot pools are fed by the same geothermal springs that give Rotorua its reputation for being a ‘hotspot’ for geothermal activity. Onsen hot pools range in temperature from 38-42 degrees Celsius, making them the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring Queenstown’s many attractions.
The stunning views of the surrounding mountains are an added bonus – set on the cliffside overlooking the Shotover River Canyon, you get to relax while taking in the alpine scenery.
Where is Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown?
Located at 160 Arthurs Point Road, just 10 minutes from the centre of Queenstown, these pools are nice and easy to get to. The drive is pretty scenic too – much like the rest of the entire Queenstown area!
How to get there
You’ll want to take Gorge Road from the top of Shotover St and head towards Arthurs Point. Pass a one-lane bridge at the Shotover Jet Base and you’ll know you’re heading the right way.
Then head up the hill and keep an eye out for Nugget Point Hotel which will be on your right. You’ve made it! Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown is located right next to the Nugget Point Hotel and you can find car parking behind ‘The Picture Framing’.
Once parked, it’s just a short walk (about 100m) down the winding trail or stairs towards the river. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to find. If anyone’s going to get lost it would be me and I was fine.
They recommend that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your booking. Each time slot is an hour so you want to make the most of your time in the pool!
If you haven’t got a car, Onsen Hot Pools offer a complimentary shuttle service that will pick you up from the Station Building in central Queenstown.
Make sure you book the shuttle when booking your pool as it only operates on request and for bookings on-the-hour. Be sure to book in advance, this is a popular tourist destination and spots do fill up fairly quickly, especially if you’re limited to on-the-hour time slots so you can get the shuttle.
The shuttle seats up to 9 people, for large groups you’ll need to find your own way there unfortunately.
It will pick you up from the station 30 mins before your booking, don’t be late! Be sure to give your mobile number when making your booking so if the driver can’t find you, they’ve got a way to reach you.
On the return journey, the shuttle leaves Onsen Hot Pools at a quarter past the hour.
Pick up / drop off location:
Bus Stop D, corner of Camp Street and Shotover Street
Look for the brown benches outside the AJ Hackett Bungy building and you’ll know you’re in the right place.
How much is Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown?
The price for your Onsen Hot Pool experience can vary slightly as there are a number of different options. First, you need to make the choice between ‘The Orginal Onsen’ or the ‘Outdoor Onsen’.
What’s the difference?
The Orginal Onsen are the pools that have a retractable roof with wooden side walls for privacy. With the retractable roof, the push of a button allows you to change from an indoor to an outdoor experience.
This type of pool is the one you’ll most commonly see on ‘the gram’. These pools, as the name suggests, were the original Onsen Hot Pools so they’ve been around for the longest.
The price for these pools starts from $107.50 and varies based on the number of people, up to a total of 4. You’ll enjoy a soak for an hour and receive a complimentary glass of wine, beer or juice and a snack of either ice cream, chocolate or chips.
1 person = $107.50
2 people = $165
3 people = $215
4 people = $250
Children aged 5-11 are allowed for $20 during the hours of 9am – 4.30pm.
Then the Outdoor Onsen works out to be a little cheaper and is, you guessed it, outside. The heat is the same as the Original Onsen however at approx 38.3 degrees. Toasty!
With the Outdoor Onsen you still get those gorgeous panoramic views across the Shotover River. The pools are partially separated by plants and they come with a shade sail so you’re protected from the elements.
Like the Orignal Onsen you’ll also enjoy an hour’s soak with a complimentary drink and snack. The pools are the same size too, accommodate 1-4 people. Prices start from $87.50.
1 person = $87.50
2 people = $145
3 people = $195
4 people = $230
Children aged 5-11 are allowed for $20 during the hours of 9am – 4.30pm.
Note: Prices updated May 2022.
Other Onsen Hot Pool Experiences
Being a spa as well, Onsen Hot Pools offers a couple of other packages besides just soaking in a hot tub.
Called ‘The Ultimate Relaxation Experience’ you’ll enjoy a 45min soak to begin with, then you’ll be able to enjoy your choice of a body or face treatment. You can choose from either 1 or 2 hour treatments and the prices vary depending on the treatment chosen but start from $315 for a single or $235 for twin-share.
For a full range of treatments available, visit the Onsen Hot Pools website.
The other blissful experience offered by Onsen is called ‘Serenity Soak and Spa’. Again you enjoy a relaxing 45min soak but this time it’s in one of Onsen’s new private oval hot tubs which look a bit like a large bath. These tubs are private and set on your own deck.
After your soak, you get your choice of a body or face treatment. Depending on which treatment you’ve chosen, your soak in the hot tub will include scents or salts in the water to compliment it. You’ll leave feeling incredibly relaxed!
Prices vary depending on the spa package you’ve chosen but start from $335 for a single or $255 for twin-share. A full range of treatment options can be found here.
What is the best time to go?
The Onsen hot pools are open every day from 9 am to 11 pm so there are plenty of time slots to choose from. Depending on the time of year, the pools may be hot or cold.
I went during the winter so my pool was nice and hot, it was so relaxing! If you do have a temperature preference just tell them when you book and they will try accommodate your request.
Because it was so cold when I was in Queenstown (compared to Auckland anyway) the pool felt very hot getting in. It takes a while to adjust but if you do find yourself feeling too hot there is a button you can push to add some cold water into the pool.
The time I booked for my pool was 4pm which was a good time but ideally I would have loved to be here for sunset. If you’ve been following me for awhile you’ve probably caught on that sunsets are one of my favourite things EVER!
If you are the kind of person who loves stargazing, go for a night time booking. You’ll also receive a free upgrade to enjoy Onsen by lantern light for all bookings after sunset.
The Onsen hot pools have this awesome retractable roof that opens and closes with the touch of a button so there’ll be plenty of stargazing to be had!
Evening booking used to be slightly more expensive but now the cost is the same no matter what time you go. An evening session would be a fantastic way to relax after dinner and would be a super romantic date night.
What to bring
There isn’t a lot you need to bring with you, just togs and of course a camera cause did you even go to the Onsen Hot Pools if you didn’t post a photo on Insta?!
You don’t need to worry about bringing a towel with you as that’s included with your booking.
A pair of slides is also handy to bring with you so you’ve got a pair of shoes to easily pop on after you’ve changed into your togs and are making your way to your pool. Nothing more annoying than having to slip socks and shoes on again, only then having to take them off two minutes later!
If you go in winter make sure you bring warm clothes to put on afterwards. It will defs feel a little chilly when you get out.
Do I need to book?
YES! Definitely. Try to make a booking a couple of weeks in advance if you can, at least. These pools are pretty popular so the time slots fill up fast.
If you need to plan this around other Queenstown activities then good to be prepared so you have your pick of timeslots. Sunset times will also book out super fast so you’ll want to be onto it if you’re planning to be there for golden hour!
Don’t forget that in New Zealand we have daylight savings so depending on the time of year, the time the sunsets can change quite drastically. In the winter sunset is usually between 5.30pm – 6.00pm whereas in the summer it can be as late as 9.00pm.
It’s pretty easy to book and pay through the website but they also have a number you can call if you prefer to phone.
Wrap Up: Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown
There you have it, everything you need to know when visiting Onsen Hot Pools Queenstown!
It truly is a must-do experience while in Queenstown and one you’ll certainly enjoy. Yes it is pretty touristy these days and every man and his dog has that insta pic of them at Onsen but there is a reason for that, it is pretty beautiful.
Not to mention a relaxing way to escape all the hustle and bustle for a bit! Or if you’ve had a day on the slopes, what better way to help relax those sore muscles.
Planning a holiday escape and looking for accommodation? Check out my recommendations on Best Places to Stay in Queenstown.