Tourist Hot Spot Gets a Makeover

Popular hot water swimming spot gets an overhaul with the redevelopment of Otumuheke Stream in Spa Thermal Park, Taupo.

Work has begun on the exciting redevelopment of Otumuheke Stream area in Spa Thermal Park, Taupo. This beautiful natural hot spot on the banks of the Waikato River is popular with locals and visitors alike and has been in significant need of upgrade due to environmental and safety concerns from rising visitor numbers over the years.

Visiting Otumuheke Stream has long been recognised as a must-do activity in Taupo, with warm geothermal waters flowing into the upper reaches of the Waikato River where bathers can relax under a waterfall or soak in the shallow rock pools. The area is recognised as culturally significant to local iwi as an historic bathing and meeting place, and the redevelopment enables the ongoing protection of this taonga by combating erosion, pollution and threats to the unique natural biodiversity of the area.

The project is a collaboration between key partners; including Patuiwi Reserve Trust, Tūwharetoa Maori Trust Board, Taupō District Council and the Department of Conservation. Taupō Police and Waikato Regional Council have also been involved.

The plans for Otumuheke Stream are significant, enhancing the overall visitor experience and safety of bathers while protecting the natural and cultural integrity of the area. The redevelopment includes new toilet facilities with changing rooms and lockers, river edge lounging platforms, hot spring seating area, extensive landscaping and a new walking bridge to allow more space for bathers. A coffee kiosk will also be operating onsite and storyboards placed along the walking track to explain the historic significance of the area.

The benefits of these developments will be felt widely, with members of the local community and visitors to our region being able to enjoy the enhanced facilities of Otumuheke Stream.

Destination Great Lake Taupo general manager, Damian Coutts is thrilled to see the investment in this tourist hot spot going ahead: “In the peak tourist season this site can see up to 1800 visitors per day so it is fantastic to offer a safer and significantly enhanced experience for those visitors.”

“This development rounds out a unique geothermal offering that our region is renowned for with excellent commercial thermal hot pools and geothermal walkways on offer.”

“It is a stunning location, right on the banks of the crystal-clear waters of the Waikato and on the Huka Trail walkway, so we expect that this upgrade will ensure this site becomes an absolute must-do for visitors to New Zealand.”

During the first stage of construction, access to the hot stream may be prohibited for health and safety reasons though disruption will be kept to a minimum where possible. There will be signage onsite to advise visitors of any closures and information about alternative routes.

The redevelopment is expected to take around nine weeks, with the reopening mid-2018.

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