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Natural Hot Pools in South Westland

Trampers enjoying hot pools at Welcome Flat Hut - Westland National Park, West Coast, New Zealand

Last time, we hiked toward the Welcome Flat Hut to be rewarded with a bath in natural hot springs. These natural hot springs are located in the Westland National Park, approx. 20km south of Fox Glacier and it takes quite a few hours of exercise to get to them. But it’s all worth it. The hike itself along the Copland River and through the beautiful rainforest I talked last time about is rewarding enough but when it is all capped up with sitting in a hot pool while watching beautiful, snow covered 2.000 m asl peaks of Sierra Ranges, the world seems to be perfect. The hiking track is not difficult in dry conditions but during the wet weather period, venturing out toward the hut needs to be considered carefully, as many of the side creeks can be dangerous to cross.

The hot pools are part of the volcanic activity of this region. Two tectonic plates – Pacific and Australian – collide together, generating an immense pressure which heats the rock and boils the water. Water from the ground seeps into the depth of the Earth from the surface, is boiled and forced to return back up to the ground. After cooling down along the way, water temperature of these pools settles at around 57 degrees of Celsius. Just perfect for rejuvenating tired body after the hike!

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