Everything you need to know about Ngawha Springs

by Tom Riddle and Dennis Ferman, pictures from June 2009, text January 2014

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The Healing Waters of Ngawha Springs
 by Dennis Ferman, an old friend of Tom Riddle

    Here is some information on the hot mineral pools of Ngawha Springs    (population about 100), New Zealand – reputed to be some of the   strongest and most beneficial mineral springs in the world. This is  some information from visits starting in 1975, with most of it from four visits since 2006.
    Besides the pools, there is nothing to do in Ngawha Springs (pronounced nah-fah, and meaning hot pool), so bring along your reading materials, writing projects, exercise routines, etc. A  laptop computer with Wi-Fi can be used at the Public Library in Kaikohe and possibly at Ginns Ngawha Spa.

    The best time to visit Ngawha Springs would probably be during the warmer, drier season from November to March. November and March might be good in that they are not at the height of the tourist  season, not that many tourists come to Ngawha.
    Getting to Ngawha Springs:
    (All prices are in New Zealand dollars. NZ$1 dollar would be about
    If you are in Auckland, you can book a reservation on a bus to Kaikohe at 09-583-5780 or go to the bus terminal for buses to Northland: The Sky City Terminal, 102 Hobson St.  There is now only one bus going all the way to Kaikohe.  It has a change in Kawakawa.
    It leaves Auckland at 7:45 am.  You may also book online.
    If arriving at Auckland International (or Domestic) Airport, outside is a kiosk that sells shuttle bus tickets for $16 into Auckland with several stops along the way.  It goes every 10 minutes 7 am - 7 pm,  weekdays, and takes about 35-45 minutes.  For other times, check  this timetable:
    For a hostel with cheap private rooms, take the airport bus via  Dominion Road (not Mt. Eden) and get off at stop 1D, the first stop, where Upper Queen Street meets K-Road (Karangahape Road).  Walk left  onto K-Road for about 10 minutes until you come to Mercury Lane on  the left.  On the corner across the street look up to see BK Hostel  advertised.
    Turn left onto Mercury Lane for half a block to the entrance at 3 Mercury Lane and ring the bell.  This hostel has several private rooms for $45 or $49 with window.  You can book on-line, but the hostel was not crowded and you could call (09) 307-0052 from the  airport between 8:30 am and 10 pm to book a room.  There is a bathroom down the hall.  There is a kitchen with two refrigerators, two stoves, and a tap of filtered water.  There are also three   computers for $3 an hour.
    To go from BK Hostel to the Sky City Coach Terminal, 102 Hobson St.,  walk up Mercury Lane and cross K-Road.  Continue on Pitt Street to Hobson Street and continue down toward the Sky Tower for a total of about 15 minutes to the office.  When you return to BK Hostel, if you will need a taxi have them call a cab to meet you in front of the hostel about 7 am.  The taxi meter will come to about $10.
    Tom has a description of "BASE" hostel which is more conveniently  located near the bus station.  It has a few single/double rooms (2 beds) you can book on-line for about $70.



Auckland Map

If you want to stay nearer the Sky City Coach Terminal, you can stay at "BASE" http://www.stayatbase.com/base-auckland-central-backpackers/ . Take the bus into town. The bus driver will know where to let you off — in the middle of downtown Auckland near the corner of Queen and Darby St. You can get a single room, with the toilet down the hall, or stay in a dorm. It's an easy ten-minute walk from there to the bus station. You need to arrive 15 minutes before the bus leaves. Bus drivers in New Zealand live in a world of their own — they have celebrity status. Or at least they think they do. -- Tom Riddle.

  Besides the one bus going from Auckland at 7:45 am all the way to
    Kaikohe each day, and takes about 4 1/2 hours, there are two other
    buses that go to Kawakawa later in the day.  You could also take the
    Naked Bus to Kawakawa, and stay overnight there.  Naked Bus has its
    own hostel near its station in Auckland.

    The Kawakawa Motel is $85 and the Star Hotel, farther away across
    town, is $30 a person. The Star Hotel has a bar downstairs with
    music on Friday and Saturday nights.  The bus to Kaikohe would leave
    Kawakawa around noon the next day.

    The AWI Flats in Ngawha Springs have five units. Cost per person per
    night is $25. There is a kitchen with a stove and refrigerator. It
    might be advisable to reserve a room a few days in advance with the
    manager, but usually there are empty flats. The flats are very basic
    and there is only a small portable heater for heat during the cool,
    damp winter months. The pools warm a person up though.
    The Maori manager at the AWI Flats is Ms. Ngawai Poa:
    (09) 401-0633

    If you arrive by bus you may have to take a taxi to Ngawha Springs.
    The taxi service costs $20.  Telephone Mid North Shuttles at
    0800-212103 or 021-847280.

    Here is a website recently created by Ginns Ngawha Spa.   The Ginns
    Spa manager says she will go to the bus station to pick up people
    who have booked to stay at Ginns Spa.

    If you have a tent or camper, it costs $8 per adult per day.  If you
    have an RV camper that needs power, the cost is $10 per person per
    day.  The pools are extra.  Renting a camper is a way to have a
    place to stay and be able to drive the seven kilometers into Kaikohe
    for supplies.

    Ginns Ngawha Spa now rents a flat in a duplex in a quiet area near
    the entrance to their pools.  It costs $60 for one or two people,
    and $75 for three.  It is in the process of creating a couple of
    rooms in the spa building that might rent for as little as $15 per
    person per day.  The rooms are basic with a kitchen and toilets
    close by down the hall.

    Kaikohe is a town of 4,100 people.  There are two motels that will
    rent rooms by the day or the week.  They have Wi-Fi for laptops and
    Campbell's Motel, 7 Sydney St., 09-401-0484, is $80 a night for 1 or
    2 persons, but only $170 a week.  This is a bargain with
    refrigerator and stove.  But these units are sometimes taken.
    New Haven Motel, 36 Raihara St., 09-401-1759, is $75 a night and
    $385 weekly.
    The Kaikohe Photographic Centre on Broadway, the main street, sells
    bus tickets for when you leave.  The only bus leaves at 1:25 pm
    daily.  The bus tickets can also be bought online.
    The photographic shop also has computers that charge $8 per hour,
    but you can buy a two-hour ticket for $11 that can be used multiple
    times. They are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

    The public library has computers with free internet access for a
    half-hour.  If you have a laptop with Wi-Fi, you may connect for
    three hours within the library or 24/7 in the area in front of the
    Banks in Kaikohe have ATM machines and will change currency and
    travelers checks.  I ask the teller in Westpac Bank if there was a
    surcharge for changing money.  She said there was a $5 fee for
    changing currency and travelers checks.  I assume there would be
    similar fees at the other banks.  ATM fees would depend on one’s own
    bank.  There are a few debit cards that pay all ATM fees.  But even
    with paying the fees this would probably be the least expensive.  

    There are two supermarkets, Countdown and New World.  And there is a
    health food store, GreenWorld, on Broadway.

    Renting or buying a car might be the best approach if you are going
    to stay for a few weeks and you aren't into hitch-hiking. Many
    rental car dealers are near Auckland Airport. But they can be found
    in other places if you don’t want to start out driving on the left
    on Auckland freeways. You can do a search for car rentals in New
    Zealand and compare their prices.  The longer you rent a car, the
    cheaper the daily rate generally is.  And winter rates are often
    cheaper than in summertime.

    You can rent a car in Kaikohe, but it might cost as much as $50 a
    day. I was told you could buy a car for perhaps $1000 in Kaikohe and
    easily license it.  You would need insurance. You could sell it
    before you leave. If you want to do some sightseeing around New
    Zealand, you might spend a little more on the car.  The bulletin
    board at BK Hostel had many cars for sale from $1000 to $4000.  One
    dealer said he would buy the car back later.  To avoid Auckland
    traffic, you could take a bus to Paihia near the Bay of Islands and
    rent a car there.  For example,

    The Pools of Ngawha Springs:

    There are two sets of pools in Ngawha Springs – the Maori pools and
    the Ginns Ngawha Spa pools located about 150 meters apart.
    Tom’s pictures above give a panorama of Ngawha Springs.

    Here is a recent brochure that is available at the Ginns pools.
    Ginns Ngawha Brochure with prices and contact information by email
    and phone
    GINNS Ngawha--Brochure
    Here is a brochure on the Benefits of Ginns Ngawha Spa pools which
    discusses the various pools, their reputed benefits, and their
    mineral content.
   Ginns Pools’ Benefits.
    The Ginns Spa has eight pools, the Maori pools number 15. The pools
    range in size from about 6’ x 8’ to 8’ x 12’. The pools range in
    color from milky, to greenish, to black and some pools are covered
    with an oily film or bubbles. This seems to indicate a variety of
    minerals and organic compounds in the different pools. The pools are
    pumped out regularly.  
    The Ginns Spa pools cost $5 for all day, while the Maori pools
    charge $4, and $3 for seniors.  The official hours of the pools are
    9 a.m. to 9 p.m.  You may enter the Ginns Spa pools in early morning
    if you first arrange this with the manager.
    A good approach is hydrotherapy: to alternate using hotter and
    cooler pools. If a person goes to the pools once a day, 45 minutes
    to an hour in the pools is a good period. It seems that 30-60
    minutes per time if using the pools twice a day works well, and
    20-40 minutes per time if using the pools three times a day.

    When using the pools for a week or more, it would be advisable to
    have an old swim suit, towel, sandals, and clothes to wear to the
    pools that may get discolored and smelly from the water.  Buy a
    broad brimmed hat for $1 or $2 at the Hospice Shop or other used
    clothing places in Kaikohe to keep off the excess sun when in the
    pools.  Because of a hole in the ozone layer, New Zealand has a high
    skin cancer rate.

    Possible Health Benefits of the Pools:

    There have been a few “miraculous” cures claimed over the years –
    especially for forms of arthritis.  Here is a link with some stories
    heard over the years.
   Tales of Healing

    A good strategy seems to be to bring supplements that stimulate the
    immune system against an ailment and the springs will intensive the
    immune response.  Here is a website by a top naturopath with a good
    SEARCH to research ailments, supplements, herbs, etc.
    You can also sign up for free health newsletters and download a free
    copy of his book: Lessons from the Miracle Doctors.

    Tom has summarized many tips on health and alternative medicine on
    this website that includes this Ngawha Springs link.

    In recent years I have stayed for about a month.  Besides specific
    ailments I may have, I also feel an overall tonic effect to counter
    the effects of aging I have noticed over the past few years.

    When I first arrive at the pools I soak for an hour. That gets rid
    of a lot of aches and stress from the 30 hours of airplane and bus
    rides to get there. During the first week my condition goes through
    various ups and downs. (I tend to interpret this as the immune
    system being energized.) Some old skin blemishes disappear (except
    heat rash); some would not. A few would become inflamed then healed.
    My digestive system was a little rough and then it noticeably
    improved – the best digestion in 40 years. My circulation improved

    Another pattern a person develops while using the pools is to go
    through energy changes that manifest as physical and emotional ups
    and downs (somewhat like in a meditation course). Unusual dreams and
    agitation arise at times – and then pass away. Some days one might
    energetically take long walks; other days one might take two or
    three naps. It quickly changes. Overall, one’s physical condition
    slowly improves.

    In 2006 I was told that the person who had vacated my flat before I
    moved in was a retired M.D. from Germany. She came to Ngawha Springs
    every three years. I heard of other MD’s and naturopaths who send
    their patients or relatives to try the pools when conventional
    therapies don’t work.  In 1975 I heard of someone from Europe who
    came because his doctor said these pools were perhaps the second
    most powerful set in the world.  The most powerful were supposedly
    somewhere in Eastern Europe.

    I also met an elderly woman who had a negative reaction from using
    the pools. She had trouble walking and used a cane. She once went
    into a very hot pool. Even though it was very hot it felt good on
    her legs. She stayed in too long until she passed out. Her tongue
    became swollen. Her doctor told her she had become very dehydrated.
    (It’s good to take a small water bottle to the pools.)

    After leaving Ngawha Springs, ailments generally improve and I feel

    The Ginn Ngawha Spa may be sold someday so they can be better
    maintained and upgraded.  In the 1960's and '70's many people came
    to the Ginn Spa Hotel and pools to help their various health
    problems.  The hotel would provide meals and people could stay for
    days or weeks.  It would be great if a group could buy this property
    and restore the hotel and pools to serve the public at a reasonable
    price.  A management group consisting of hotel administrators,
    naturopath doctors, Maoris, and locals could serve the needs of pool
    visitors as well as the local community.
    Recently, the Ngawha Lodge near the Maori Pools was put up for
    sale.  It is a rooming house in Ngawha Springs that could perhaps be
    made into a health lodge.  It is mainly a large house with 10
    bedrooms and a communal kitchen.  There is also a 3-bedroom flat at
    one end and a 3-bedroom cottage nearby.  Rooms rent for about $30.
    For more information on the sale, call Dave at 0277576374.

    Here are the names of the pools at Ngawha Hot Springs run by the
    Maoris along with brief descriptions.  Pool temperatures can evolve
    over time and can vary somewhat daily.

Maori Springs

The Pools

Bulldog -- Said by the manager to have the strongest and most varied mineral content.  Drinking the water can help internally.  Popular for most ailments including sports injuries, bruises, sprains, and torn ligaments.

Baby -- Often very hot, a pool that is beneficial for most conditions.

Tanemahuta -- Named after a Maori deity, this pool with mild temperatures is said to be good for burns, and for general relaxation.

Doctor -- A hot pool good for aches, sore muscles, arthritis, rheumatism, and, when not too hot, for pregnant women.

Solomon -- Best for skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and rashes.  Also good for arthritis, rheumatism, and general relaxation.

Kotahitanga -- This pool has a mineral content similar to the Bulldog.

Favourite -- The best pool for easing chest congestion, if it's not too hot.

Waikato -- A pool with mild temperatures good for relaxing.  It is also good for skin problems.

Seven unmarked, newer pools are together in another section.  Three are cold, one is very hot, and three tend to be pleasantly hot.  The cold pools offer the great advantage of hot-cold hydrotherapy.

Hot water stimulates blood and lymph flow bringing it to the surface of the skin along with deep biochemical impurities.  This helps the liver, colon, pancreas, kidneys, and other glands and organs flush out these impurities.  This also helps the body absorb the healthful trace minerals found in the pool water.  

The cold water then drives the blood and lymph deeply into organs, glands, and cells along with immunity factors that fight disease and stimulate health.  These factors include antibodies, lymphocytes, leukocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, killer T cells, etc., that destroy or eliminate cancer cells, bacteria, microbes, viruses, parasites, toxins, heavy metals, etc., and help restore normal body chemistry.  (Then with a good diet, regular exercise, and proper relaxation, the body will avoid disease and not age as rapidly.)

Alternate between hot and cold pools and finish with perhaps only half a minute in a cold pool to close one's pores.

The Other Seven Pools

Jupiter -- Good for the skin and relaxation (near the stairs).

Universal -- The very hot pool, good for sore backs, and powerful hydrotherapy when alternated with the cold pools.

Cinderella -- Good for sore muscles and fatigue.

Velvet -- Good for relaxation and stress reduction.

Kowhai, Milky Way, and Sulphur Way are the three cold pools valuable for hydrotherapy as well as being filled with healthful minerals.

Thus you have various perspectives on the healing waters of Ngawha Springs.

Wishing you good health.

sunset in
sunset in Ngawha