REVIEW: Hells Gate, New Zealand

The nahells gate 2me for Hells Gate actually came about when playwright, George Bernard Shaw looked in admiration at the “hell like” landscape and gave the reserve its famous name. The Thermal Reserve is an breathtaking place to see the geothermal wonderland up close and actually get inside some of the baths.

The Hell’s Gate experience includes a walking tour which you can do yourself by following the map, or join a guided tour. The walk is a 2.5km natural geothermal walk past boiling mud, hot water pools in excess of 100 degrees centigrade, Kakahi Falls, the largest hot waterfall in the southern hemisphere, a mud volcano, sulphur fumaroles and a sulphur lake where you can touch the silky hot water and geothermal mud.

Each mud bath contains in excess of 80kgs of geothermal muds found in the local area of Rotorua. Before I dipped in to the pool I was told to carefully smooth the mud over my skin in order to benefit from the mud whilst I was in the pool. So obviously I started smearing it up my arms and over my face, quite literally everywhere, as I was eager to see if this stuff actually did anything. The mud was quite sloppy and I felt like I had jumped in to a pool of s**t, but it smelt quite nice and actually relaxed me. There is something odd about sitting in a pool of mud covered from head to toe, but it really is quite relaxing!

Annoyingly as I could have sat there all day, you are only allowed to stay in the mud bath for 20 minutes, and then have to rinse off the mud in the cold shower next to the mud pool. The difference is certainly an experience in itself however I was told the cold shower helps to restore blood circulation to normal, before you go on to relax in the sulphur filled pools.

hells gate 1Both, the mud bath and sulphur pools are kept at 40 degrees centigrade as this allows the skin’s pores to open so that all the active ingredients gently exfoliate and treat the skin, leaving it very clean and soft to touch. Apparently the mud can rid toxins, cure cellulite (I wish) and even heal wounds!
Overall, the experience was great, I had tried a mud bath in Vietnam before but it was nothing on this and I left feeling totally relaxed and well… we’ll see about the cellulite in a few days…
Hell’s Gate can be found 15 minutes east of Rotorua, in the geothermal field of Tikitere and entry into Hell’s Gate Theothermal Reserve is $30, and the mud bath and spa starts at $75. Hell’s Gate is open every day (except Christmas Day) from 8.30am until 8.30pm and it’s useful to know that there is a complimentary shuttle bus, although bookings are essential and pick-ups from Rotorua leave at 9am, 1pm and 5pm daily. To book the bus make sure you call 07 345 3151.
For more information call 07 345 3151 or email

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