Picture this… You’ve been hiking for the better part of a day, through lush rain forest, over quintessential New Zealand swing bridges and across alpine meadows. Your Kiwi guides are telling you all about the local flora and fauna whilst you walk past awe-inspiring and grandiose mountain panoramic views, and numerous waterfalls. You’re well-fuelled with a hearty lunch at a back country hut and you’re enjoying the challenge of the hike, but also thinking about the comfort of a fireplace and a place to rest. To the outdoor adventurer, this is what we live and breathe – the chance to explore off-the-beaten-path and revel in the accomplishment at the end of the day, with a warm fire glowing and a warm drink to hold. That in itself would be enough, but when you add in natural hot pools, things really step up a notch!
New Zealand is a geothermal hotbed of activity, with hundreds of natural hot pools in the wilderness, in some resort towns like Hanmer Springs and even on the coast, like Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel. One such hot spring, is at the far end of the Copland Track on the West Coast of the South Island. The Copland Track is one of those fantastic hiking trails that ‘s managed to escape the international limelight and is largely only known to locals. One day it will probably be added to the growing list of ‘Great Walks’ in New Zealand, but for now it remains relatively quiet – perfect when you want to stretch out in the thermal hot pools at the end of a great hike! The pools are located at ‘Welcome Flat’ just 5 minutes walk from the back country Copland Hut, and are surrounded by native forest and mountain views. There are a few different pools to choose from, ranging in temperature and there’s plenty of room for a small group (say 10-12 people). It makes for a pretty special evening when you reach the hut, drop off your pack, rest your legs, grab a snack, get changed and then head on down for a relaxing soak!
Here are a few photos of Copland Track and Welcome Flat Hot Pools – taken by Active Adventures New Zealand clients during their ‘Winter Rimu’ trip: