Head off full of anticipation. Return feeling like a wrung out dishcloth, ready to topple into bed. I think I need to work on my descriptive writing skills a bit… ok, maybe a lot. Anyway, Kerosene Creek is a well-known hot water stream located in a bush setting south of Rotorua city. After parking up on the side of the gravel road, a short walk through the bush alongside the hot water stream takes you to a wonderful little waterfall cascading into a naturally formed pool. Did I say sublime?
3. Tenzan Onsen, Japan
How to embarrass yourself when entering a traditional Japanese hot-spring pool: about-turn immediately and head for the exit, your tail between your legs, at the first sight of a naked body. Following proper etiquette is crucial in Japan and failing to do so is offensive as well as embarrassing. But instead of calmly walking into the changing room without any hint of discomfort, I could only manage a startled face and a change of direction after opening the doors to two naked bodies: one towelling himself off, the other holding his frank in his hand and walking to and fro. This wasn't exactly the ideal introduction to Japanese onsen - the mineral-rich geothermal hot pools, much like those in Hanmer or Rotorua, that dot the country. For centuries, the people of Japan, which lies over active volcanic terrain, have enjoyed the natural benefits of the hot springs, which are said to be good for all kinds of ailments.
I have been coming here since a kid. It's always had the little dam, don't know why people think this is new? Never had a problem with mozzies, probably happens sometimes though I guess. Water is always scummy, natural texture, sure beats non-natural pools. People have jobs. This is important, and they give you changing sheds and maintenance.
Soaking in the healthy mineral waters of hot springs for a couple of hours will change your life and rock your world. Alright, that last sentence may be a bit over the top, but I really have felt like a different person after a day spent soaking in natural hot springs. If you are really lucky, you soak in an oasis in the desert like in Saline Valley, a word-of-mouth gem in the middle of Death Valley National Park.