Last year, we visited Nghawha Hot Springs and enjoyed a soak in the hot pools within a rustic environment. This year, we decided to visit Ginn’s Ngawha Spa, which is just up the road and is marginally more upmarket than its rival establishment. (Hint: When reading “Ngawha”, pronounce it “Naa-faa”.)

Ginn's Ngawha Springs, June 2012
These hot pools are located alongside a little lake.

During the whole time we’re at the pools, we never see any officials. We pay by dropping money into an honesty box — $5/adult, $3/child is such a paltry sum, who would cheat on that? The lack of officialdom suits us — we’re free to come and go as much as we like.

Ginn's Ngawha Springs, June 2012
Eight hot pools are available. It's like a box of chocolates — until you try one, you don't know if you'll like it. Some are too hot, others are too cold. The most popular pool is undercover, and that was our family's favourite.

Calista in Ginn's Ngawha Spa, June 2012
The bottom of the pools is covered with natural mud, so if you dig your toes in too deep, they can get scalded.

Brioni and David in Ginn's Ngawha Spa, June 2012
Brioni is excited to wear her new swimsuit. We haven't had many opportunities for swimming in New Zealand during this visit.

David in Ginn's Ngawha Spa, June 2012
Whenever David wants some quiet, he retreats to one of the really hot pools that constantly bubble.

Ginn's Ngawha Spa, June 2012
A string of changing booths are available, but we're the only ones in the pools for several hours (even on a Saturday!) and don't need the privacy.

Ginn's Ngawha Spa, June 2012
Next to the pools, there's a large, flat expanse of grass where camping is permitted (for a fee).

I had heard optimistic rumours of hot showers at Ginn’s Ngawha Spa, but when I checked the bathrooms, the handles were removed from the hot-water taps. Our girls didn’t mind the sulphurous smell that they emanated after the being in the pools for several hours and skipped showering altogether.

We really enjoyed this outing together as a family. Aisha and Brioni would have stayed in for several more hours, and it was only their empty tummies that eventually drove to them exit the pools.

Rainbow over Northland, June 2012
After we start driving, we spy another glorious rainbow. Aisha and Brioni want to chase it, and my words are inadequate as I try to explain the phenomena in terms they understand.

When we’re in the area, we’ll definitely go again, though if I had to choose, I probably would return to the even simpler Ngawha Springs establishment up the road. Slightly cheaper, there are more pools to choose from, and we enjoyed friendly encounters with the bathers there.