State Highway 30, Tikitere, Rotorua, New Zealand. Ph:+64 7 345 3151
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Hells Gate FAQS

What is the difference between Hells Gate and other NZ geothermal parks or attractions.

Are the Hells Gate and NZ Spas luxury spas or not?

 what is the difference between the Hells Gate & NZ Spa facilities?
Can I hire swimsuits, shorts or towels?
How far is Hells Gate away from town?
What age is a child?
What times are the Shuttle pick-ups and where do they pick up from?
Do we need to make a booking for a "Wai Ora" massage or other treatments i.e. facial, massage and/or body scrub?
Is the sulphur spa and/or mudbath suitable for children under 2 years of age?
Does sulphur cause asthma?
Do you add any other chemicals such as chlorine into the mudbaths or spas?
Where do you get the mud and geothermal water from?
What do we need to bring?
What days are you open?
What is in the mud bath?
Will the mud bath and/or sulphur spa discolour my swimsuit?

 

What is the difference between Hells Gate and other NZ geothermal parks or attractions?

 

Hells Gate is unique in that it is the only "acid sulphate " geothermal system in NZ. As a result it does not have the beautiful colours of the other geothermal attractions which are "alkali chloride" systems. It has the most active geothermal features with water temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Celsius, the largest hotwater fall in the southern hemisphere and the largest mud volcano.It also has an extensive history and interaction with the local Maori who have owned the reserve for more than 700 years and more recently with European settlers and visitors over the last 180 years. It is the only geothermal attraction to have an English name care of George Bernard Shaw and was the birth place to spas in New Zealand both with Maori and European. It is the only geothermal park to produce more than 2 tonne of geothermal mud each day and has been the site of a number of world first discoveries in terms of thermophiles found here and no where else in the world. It is known as the "beast' of geothermal parks or attractions but many have said it to be an "Awesome Beast"

 

 

Are the Hells Gate and NZ Spas luxury spas or not?

 

No they are not luxury spas and have never been promoted as such. They are Rotorua's historic spa experiences that enables visitor from around the world to experience the authentic geothermal mud and sulphur water of Tikitere or Hells Gate in the same way as was first experienced by European visitors some 180 years ago and Maori for more than 700 years. This spa experience is a component of the " New Zealand Cultural Spa Experience" which includes the upmarket Wai Ora Spa at the Wai Ora Lakeside Spa Resort. The experiences at both spas are different and complimentary giving the visitor a truly unique New Zealand Spa experience that can not be achieved elsewhere.

 

 

 

What is the difference between Hells Gate & Wai Ora Spa facilities?

Hells Gate has semi private mud baths with a very open spa area overlooking the thermal park. The NZ Spa complex has private mud baths with two open spas that are secluded and set apart from the rest of the complex. In addition the NZ Spa has a private lounge area the NZ Spa clients can access any time. The geothermal mud used in the Mud Baths are the same for both the Hells Gate Spa and NZ Spa. This is also the case for the sulphur water which is the same in the spas in both complexes.

 

Can I hire swimsuits, shorts or towels?

Yes swim suits, shorts and towels can be hired at reception for $5.00 per item. These items are commercially laundered after each use. For those clients who are traveling on the day of arrival the hiring of these items is a good idea to save having to travel with wet items in your car. 

 

How far is Hells Gate away from town?

Hells Gate is approximately 15 minutes drive from the Rotorua I Site which is in the centre of Rotorua City. For those with out a vehicle there are shuttle buses that pick up from Rotorua City three time a day and do scheduled drop offs. Please click here for details

 

What age is a child?
 

For the purposes of charging the age of a child is deemed to be under the age of 15 years. When we calculate pricing for a family it is made on the basis of two adults and two children under the age of 15 years. For children under the age of 5 years there is no charge. The mud bath is not suitable for children under 2 years.

 

What times are the Shuttle pick-ups and where do they pick up from?

 

Please click here for the shuttle timetable and pickup points.

 

Do we need to make a booking for a "Wai Ora" massage or other treatments i.e. facial, massage and/or body scrub?

Yes when either making a booking by phone or online for therapies your will need to prebook your time and day slot. During the high season  IE December through to the end of March it is unlikely that you will be able to turn up at reception and book a therapy on the day for the time slot that you would like.
By booking in advance we can endeavour to cater to your time requirements to suit whenever possible.

 

Is the sulphur spa and/or mudbath suitable for children under 2 years of age?

The sulphur spa are suitable for children under the age of 2 years. Mud bath are suitable for children over the age of 3 years. The most important requirement is for the child to drink water while bathing to keep hydrated. This is the same requirement for adults. The other issue to be aware of is the need to ensure that the child is comfortable with the heat. Again this is the same requirement for adults.

 


Does sulphur cause asthma?

This is a very interesting question. In the main the answer would be no but it cannot be ruled out in every case. In the 17 years that we have been operating Hellsgate I have not come across one case. As an interesting aside some years ago a study was made to see if Rotorua residents suffered from more bronchial problems due to the inherent sulphur and sulphur compounds in the air of Rotorua.
The results of that small study showed the reverse. 

 

Do you add any other chemicals such as chlorine into the mudbaths or spas?

No we do not add chlorine or any other chemicals to the sulphur spas or mud baths. Alot of people on seeing the colour of the mud baths have some concerns regarding there cleanliness. The natural sulphur compounds in the spa water and mud baths act as a very effective sanitiser in fact delivering an efficiency greater than chlorine when used as a sanitiser in swimming pools. It is also of interest that before penicillin was discovered and used widely as an antibiotic, sulphur drugs were used extensively.

 

Where do you get the mud and geothermal water from?
 

The geothermal mud is collected from the top of the geothermal park from our hot lakes while the sulphur water is collected from our "Hurutini" hot pool which is opposite the bridge.

 

What do we need to bring?

If you are having a spa or mud bath experience then you can either bring your own bathing attire and towels or hire them at Hells Gate. If you are going to walk the geothermal park then we would suggest comfortable footwear, some sunscreen during summer as well as water as you walk around due to the heat. If it is raining bring out a suitable raincoat or you can purchase a disposable rain cape at Hells Gate for $3.50. Do not be deterred by rain as the geothermal park is at its best when it is raining (as long as it is not to heavy).

 

What days are you open?

We are open every day except for Christmas Day. Our hours of operation are 8.30 am to 8.30 pm daily.

 

What is in the mud bath?

Each mud bath holds about 60 kg of geothermal mud which is in suspension and solid form. When you are in the mud baths the sulphur water from "Hurutini" hot pool and the geothermal mud combined provide a very unique spa bathing experience where the skin is very gently exfoliated leaving the skin clean and soft to touch which can last for more than 5-6 weeks. Sometimes when you first go into the mud bath you may find it difficult to pick up mud from the bottom of the pool. This is because the geothermal mud particles are so fine that they very easily go into suspension. If this is the case please let you spa attendant know and they will bring you some more mud to put into the mud bath.

 

Will the mud bath and/or sulphur spa discolour my swimsuit?

No it wont. What will happen after the experience is that you bathing attire will smell of sulphur and as such you will need to wash your attire as soon as practicable. Remember to wash these items separately in a small amount of "cloudy ammonia" that you can ready get at a supermarket and once washed hang them out to dry naturally. Do not place in a dryer as this will fix the sulphur smell into you bathing attire and make it very difficult to remove.

 

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