“The Morere Hot Springs is not just another hot springs attraction – it is unique. Very much part of the local community, it is a special corner of the world that is attracting more and more visitors from all over New Zealand and overseas. Set in 364 hectares of native bush the Morere Hot Springs provide modern bathing and spa facilities in a beautiful natural environment. The bush reserve, managed by the Department of Conservation, is one of the last remaining tracts of lowland rainforest on the east coast of New Zealand.” VISITOR COMMENT
“If you travel from Gisborne to Napier, you definitely have to stop at the Morere hot springs. After paying a small amount you take a 10 minute walk through beautiful nature to arrive at 3 small hot spring baths up the hill. (if you are squeamish you can also book your own private bath). We were lucky to be the only ones in the open bath and it was lovely. Beautiful scenery and very relaxing.” VISITOR COMMENT
“THis is an awesome place to be. We went there on a very cold rainy day and spent our time bathing in the hot water salt springs and having a picnic lunch under cover at there picnic tables. These salt water springs are high up in the hills and whilst relaxing in their Nico pools is it very easy to imagine that you are the only person present for miles around. Fabulous.” VISITOR COMMENT
“A treat not to be missed – gorgeous hot and cold springs set amid 364 hectares of rainforest. Rare in the world of hot springs, the Morere Springs produce 250,000 litres a day of hot ancient sea water. Known for its therapeutic values, the water is piped to a series of public and private hot pools. It is definitely worth taking a walk on any of the various walks in the Morere Scenic Reserve, from 10-minute walks up to three hours. Especially famous for its nikau palms, the dense virgin rainforest is home to a wide range of native birds.” AA TRAVEL GUIDE
Timely brush with cool oasis
Travel Story Otago Daily Times (7 May 2008)
By Bruce Munro
Tucked away between hot, laid-back East Cape and arid, grape-growing Art Deco Hawkes Bay is an oasis called Morere.
For a week, our family had been steeped in “the other New Zealand” – exploring the East Cape’s untamed hinterland, its fabulous cliff-edged beaches and rich, living Maori culture.
Now we were heading back towards the South Island, driving through more straw-coloured countryside on yet another bright, thirsty day as the family van chased State Highway 2 south of Gisborne towards the northern reaches of Hawke Bay.
By the time we returned to Dunedin, after a month away, we would have travelled more than 5000km.
Where we would spend this night had not been decided – that was part of the adventure.
We only knew we all shared twin desires for a change of scenery and relief from the heat.
It was as the calls from the backseat for ice-blocks and toilet stops grew more voluble that the landscape suddenly and pleasantly changed.
The road was enveloped by lush native bush and, as we rounded a corner, a sign proclaimed we were inside the Morere Springs Scenic Reserve.
So, that was the secret of this verdant refuge in a drought-prone land.
Pulling off the road, we hastily consulted an assortment of travel guides.
Lonely Planet said “Morere’s famous hot springs burble up from a fault line” feeding “hot and cold pools among lowland forest”. It was, we decided, the respite we sought.
Across the road from Morere Hot Springs a couple of options for our night’s accommodation presented themselves.
We booked in at the Morere Tearooms and Camping Grounds – a long, narrow property bounded by the highway and the cool, clear Tunanui stream that wound along the bottom of a bush-topped cliff.
It was a rare pleasure to sit outside our cabin, looking up at the cloudless blue expanse between cliff and trees as we sheltered in the deep, refreshing shade that filled our “lost world”.
Notable for its stands of nikau palms, the 200ha Department of Conservation-administered reserve is one of the last tracts of native lowland rainforest on the east coast of New Zealand.
Here, rimu, totara and matai grow tall among nikau, tawa, kohekohe and pukatea.
On higher ground are remnant stands of native beech, while the undergrowth is crowded with ferns, orchids, shrubs and vines.
Large kereru or native pigeon are plentiful among a wide variety of native bird-life.
King of the night is the ruru, or native owl, which watches over a forest transformed into a glow-worm wonderland.
It was after dinner – but while there were still a couple of hours sunshine left in the day – that we made our way across the road to the mineral hot pools.
Green expanses of lawn led in one direction towards two large pools and private hire pools and in the other direction towards bush walks taking bathers to more pools up the hill.
The tracks range from the 10-minute family walk to the Nikau Pools to energetic three-hour hikes.
The children charged off along the wide bush track as we strolled, reading occasional trackside information.
The springs produce 250,000 litres a day of ancient sea water. This “fossilised salt water” travels for thousands of years before it bubbles up in Morere, emerging from a fractured fault line running across the Mangakawa Valley, to be piped to the pools.
The pools, which are said to have therapeutic qualities, were used in pre-colonial times by members of Ngati Kahungunu and stumbled upon by Europeans in the 1890s.
A few more bends in the track and we could see, through the trees, steam rising to beckon us towards the hot mineral waters.
We had travelled far to be here, both our family and these waters. We would enjoy the meeting.