Stepping into Hell’s Gate in Rotorua, you’ll first notice the swirling clouds of steam, steaming fumaroles, pools of boiling mud and the occasional “land coral” caused by the interaction between the microorganisms and chemicals from the geothermal space.
The benefits of a mud bath are well-known. For a long time, the Maoris in New Zealand have used them for healing and revitalising properties. This includes giving your body a good detox, and it is also good for your bones and skin. The sulphur itself has antibacterial properties. By massaging the mud in your sore areas, it’s said to alleviate the soreness. It also helps to regenerate skin cells due to its strong affinity with moisture in the skin.
We finally had a taste of a real mud experience at Hell’s Gate through our combo package of Mud Bath and Sulphur Spa (NZD 75).
Both private and public showers and changing facilities are available at the spa. We were given towels and waterproof baskets to deposit our belongings and to carry it wherever we go. The waterproof baskets are not tended for, so put it where it’s visible when you go for your mud bath.
We were advised to soak for no more than 20 minutes first in the mud bath, followed by the sulphur mineral springs because of how the minerals and chemicals in the mud cause our bodies’ core temperature to rise quickly.
I didn’t know what to expect when I signed us up for this mud spa experience. To my absolute surprise, the geothermal mud is smooth and silky, caused by the extreme heat and pressure from which it melted from.
While I initially thought the mud bath consists of an entire pool of thick, viscous mud in which you step into and immerse in, the mud bath is actually a combination of clear sulphurous geothermal water, with buckets of geothermal mud underwater that you grab by the handful to apply on your skin.
The thing is, you’d have to stay above the water for the mud to dry on your skin, as once you’re immersed in the water, the mud dissolves into the water.
After the indulgent 20-minute soak, a staff member would buzz you to tell you your time is up.
Next, I hopped to one of the sulphur springs for a good, warm soak. It was drizzling when we went, so jumping from one hot spring to another was an absolute joy. It was fun testing out the varying temperatures of the sulphur springs, which ranged from 38ºC to 41ºC. I would have stayed forever if I didn’t have anything else planned for the rest of the day.
After a good shower, we proceeded to explore the Geothermal Park and learn about how mud pools and volcanoes were formed, and about the geothermal activity that exists under our feet.
Kakahi Falls is the largest hot water fall in the Southern Hemisphere with an average temperature of 40ºC. Imagine taking a bath under the waterfall! I reckon it’ll feel so comfortable in the winter. 😉
This little mud volcano has grown to a height of 2.4m and is still growing. Every 6 weeks or so the top hardens. The pressure then builds to the point of eruption of up to 5m in diameter after 2-3 days.
It can take 30 minutes to over an hour doing the
It was nice to complete our experience at Hell’s Gate with a hot cup of Manuka Honey tea after our hot spring. 🙂
While I can’t vouch for any apparent improvement in my body, either physically or mentally, I surely felt revitalised after the mud spa!
The only thing is… the smell of sulphur still lingers on my bikini that I wore even up til today, despite multiple washes!
Special thanks to Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park & Mud Spa for this experience! All opinions remain my own.