Just imagine the blissful pleasure of sliding into the warm waters of a bubbling thermal pool, knowing that a traditional Māori massage by a professional therapist is yet to come! The thought alone is relaxing, but the way New Zealand makes such sumptuous dreams become reality is out of this world. The country’s pure, natural environment lends itself to blissful getaways that spell holistic relaxation for body, mind and spirit. So whether indulgence is the main purpose of your clients’ visit, or whether they’re needing a soothing treat after partaking in first-class activities and personalised sightseeing tours, New Zealand’s many hot pool complexes, spa destinations and beauty clinics have the perfect pampering treatment for everyone.

Geothermal Indulgence

A speciality in this part of the world is the opportunity to bathe in a thermal pool rich with minerals and heated by nature; New Zealand has an abundance of hot springs and pools.

New Zealand has attracted bathers for well over 100 years – since the 19th century, visitors have travelled from all over the world to places like Rotorua to ‘take the cure’. At that time, it was believed that thermal pools held curative properties for a wide range of conditions: today, opinions might vary on the health benefits of thermal bathing, but there’s no doubt that soaking in a hot pool is wonderfully restorative for both body and mind.

For a unique New Zealand spa experience, encourage your clients to sample a thermal mud treatment. Rotorua is home to several thermal pool complexes which offer mud therapies or the unique experience of bathing in soft, fine mud. A face or body mask of geothermal mud has a detoxifying and invigorating effect, while its sulphur content eliminates bacteria.

In addition to beautifully developed complexes where visitors can enjoy a massage or beauty treatment to complement their bathing, there are natural geothermal pools that are local secrets – hidden deep in the mountains or bubbling up in lakes. In The Coromandel, a geothermal spring filters up through the sand at Hot Water Beach. Visitors can dig their own hot pool and luxuriate in the warmth while watching the cooler waters of the Pacific lap at the golden sand just a few metres away. If your clients would rather escape the crowds, The Lost Spring offers hot pools in a lush, subtropical setting nearby.

Natural geothermal features were used by Māori for generations before the arrival of the first Europeans. They, too, regarded bathing in hot thermal pools as beneficial to good health, but for Māori geothermal features also hold spiritual significance. A stunning example is Kakahi Falls at Hells Gate in Rotorua, where you’ll find the largest hot waterfalls in the Southern Hemisphere. Māori warriors traditionally bathed at the Kakahi Falls to heal their battle wounds and remove the tapu, or ‘sacredness’, of war.

Like other features of the landscape, geothermal areas were personified in Māori legend, creating a history in which people and the land are interwoven. Each geothermal pool has its own associated legend in Māori tradition; at Whakarewarewa in Rotorua, for instance, every one of the 189 pools has its own story.

Māori Massage

Soaking in a geothermal pool is not the only way visitors can enjoy a traditional Māori wellbeing experience – massage has been practised by Māori for hundreds of years.

Traditional Māori healing was based around the three elements of medicine, spiritual guidance and massage, and it was believed that massage would not only release toxins and relieve tension, but would allow the individual to let go of deep-seated emotions. There are two main forms of Māori massage: romiromi, or deep tissue massage, which applies intense acupressure to the nervous system, bones and tendons; and mirimiri, a gentler, soft tissue massage. Both kinds of massage can be experienced around New Zealand. Hells Gate and Wai Ora Spa in Rotorua, for example, features a wonderful traditional mirimiri experience which concludes with a special karakia (prayer). Other spas may incorporate elements of traditional Māori massage into their treatments: at LeSpa at Sofitel Queenstown, for instance, you visitors can experience a hot stone massage with a uniquely New Zealand flair – beautiful and spiritually significant greenstones are laid on the client’s back, infusing them with warmth and wellness.

Geothermal Spas Around New Zealand

Geothermal spas are a New Zealand speciality. Encourage your clients to visit one (or more!) of these thoroughly indulgent complexes while travelling around the country.

The Lost Spring (Whitianga) Thermal pools and an indulgent day spa nestled in lush forest. www.thelostspring.co.nz

Hells Gate (Rotorua) Mud and sulphur baths, Māori massage and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest hot waterfall. www.hellsgate.co.nz

Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort (Rotorua) A lakeside spa resort offering luxury accommodation and superb spa facilities in beautifully landscaped grounds. www.waioraresort.co.nz

Polynesian Spa (Rotorua) Internationally acclaimed spa featuring 26 sumptuous pools. www.polynesianspa.co.nz

Taupo DeBretts Thermal Spa Resort (Taupo) Private mineral pools, Wet Massage water curtains and extensive spa menu. www.taupohotsprings.com

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa (Hanmer Springs) Hot pool complex in an alpine setting with plenty of treatments available. www.hanmersprings.co.nz

Rejuvenating Beauty Clinics

In addition to hot pools and destination spas there are some wonderful beauty havens in every part of New Zealand where your clients will find everything from detox treatments and anti-ageing packages to aromatherapy, facials, acupuncture and exfoliation. So whether they are longing for a massage, whether they want to experience Māori culture in an indulgent way, or whether they feel like a complete make-over, New Zealand’s professional beauty and massage therapists will look after their every need.

Beauty Products

The most indulgent beauty products are made from the goodness of nature and in New Zealand you can choose from a range of unique ingredients. You will, for example, find beauty products containing geothermal mud. Rich in minerals, geothermal mud improves hydration, softens the skin, absorbs impurities and increases blood circulation. Glacial mud, on the other hand, provides nutrients to the skin and is known to improve firmness, while New Zealand’s sea kelp is great for exfoliation and mineral-infusing treatments. Native oils such as organic avocado oils, Manuka essential oil and flax oil in Margaret Hema’s organic line are beloved by Hollywood stars, and indigenous herbs and flowers are used in a wide range of beauty products.

Trilogy skincare products are created from natural ingredients, sourced from ethical suppliers and delivered in environmentally friendly packaging. Bestsellers include the Vital Moisturising Cream, Cream Cleanser and the award-winning Certified Organic Rosehip Oil. www.trilogyproducts.com

The luxurious products created by Linden Leaves combine nature and science for perfectly balanced skincare. Linden Leaves’ collection ranges from bathtime treats to skincare products, including beautifully indulgent natural body oils. www.lindenleaves.com