Image of the September 2017 Wilderness Magazine Cover Read more from the
September 2017 Issue
Home / Articles / Walkshorts

Into hot water

Sally Jackson researches another hot spring. Photo: Supplied
Sally Jackson has released the fourth edition of her book Hot Springs of New Zealand. She shares some soaking tips with Ashleigh Martin.

What’s it like to travel the country in search of hot springs?
Well, someone’s got to do it! Part of why I love hot springs is that you get to go on amazing adventures – not only in New Zealand, but around the world. I’ve met so many people and visited places I would never have gone otherwise – all in search of hot springs. I’ve been on Japanese fishing boats, looked for hot springs, in helicopters, in kayaks – all kinds of crazy adventures.

How do New Zealand springs compare to those elsewhere in the world?
I think we’re in the top three countries in the world for hot springs, alongside Japan and Iceland. Not surprising considering we’re located on the Pacific Rim of Fire.

Which is your favourite backcountry hot spring?
Welcome Flat Hot Pools. I lived and worked there for five years as a hut ranger and volunteer coordinator. It’s reached on a superb hike through the rainforest of Westland/Tai Poutini National Park. You get breathtaking mountain views from the three large hot pools near the hut. It’s likely to be the only hot spring in the world where you can blissfully bathe while safely watching avalanches cascade off the adjacent mountainside.