Tokaanu Thermal Pools and Thermal Walk

The Tokaanu Thermal Pools and Thermal Walk, five kilometres from Turangi and a forty minute drive from Taupo, have long been regarded as one of the town’s hidden gems.

Heated fresh-water pool

People who live in Tokaanu are fortunate to benefit from the continuous supply of hot thermal water. At the marae the water is used for traditional cooking as well as treating and whitening flax before weaving. Most residents also take advantage of the geothermal energy to heat their homes.

However, the most well-known use of the water is for its therapeutic qualities. Many people have used the water to create their own private spa.

Local Maori have lived in Tokaanu since the 16th century and were originally attracted to the area because of the thermal water they used for cooking and bathing. Heat from the ground also made it a welcoming place to sleep in the winter. When the early 20th century European travellers discovered Tokaanu, it became a major travel stopover point – and the popularity continues today with people who ski and hike in nearby Tongariro National Park. With temperatures ranging from 39-41 degrees celsius, the private pools at the Tokaanu Thermal Pools are a relaxing way to soothe away all aches and pains.

Tokaanu Thermal Walk

The heated fresh-water chlorinated pool and toddler pool are a great favourite with families, as is the entrance to the complex over the bridge. Many children (and adults) have delighted in feeding the trout and ducks in the cold water stream which flows beside the hot thermal area. It is a protected spawning stream and food pellets can be bought from the shop.

The 20 minute free thermal bush walk is also a firm favourite with families. Visitors discover steaming hot mineral pools set in sinter basins and spluttering mud pools while walking through the beautiful native bush.

Tokaanu was a thriving settlement in the area until the 1960's when the town of Turangi was built. There is a lot of history in Tokaanu, with several churches, the Tokaanu Marae (not open to the public), the old Post Office and the once-thriving Tokaanu Hotel.

One of the endearing features is the Tokaanu Wharf. It is one of the oldest structures in New Zealand and was recently upgraded by the Department of Conservation. Before a road was built, about 1880, it was the main way of getting supplies from Taupo to Tokaanu via a steamer service. It remains a popular tourist attraction, fishing spot and picnic spot.

Tokaanu Warf

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