Top 5 Wild Swimming Places in New Zealand


If you love to swim, New Zealand has many spots to entice you. It is also one of the most effective exercises. New Zealand could be an ideal destination offering amazing outdoor therapy. It is enriched with boasting glorious beaches, a patchwork of rivers, lakes, and waterholes just perfect to take a dip or swim in. Here are the Top 5 Wild Swimming Places in New Zealand.

Related read: 10 Natural Destinations to Explore in New Zealand

I have rounded up the top 5 wild swimming New Zealand spots that are natural to take the plunge in.

Top 5 Wild Swimming Places in New Zealand

1. Wishbone Falls, Mount Aspiring

Wishbone Falls, Mount Aspiring - Top 5 Wild Swimming Places in New Zealand
Wishbone Falls, Mount Aspiring

This waterfall falls down a steep, grassy rock face and divides into two streams. This fall invites visitors to the entry of Mount Aspiring National Park, which is about an hour-and-a-half drive from the town of Wanaka.

At the center of the falls sits an idyllic pool; a natural beauty made for days pottering around in the sun.

  • Address: Wishbone Falls Track, Wanaka, New Zealand
  • How to get there: The falls are located off State Highway 6, about 15 kilometers south of Wanaka. There is a car park at the trailhead.

It’s the most popular picnic spot, with amazing flat banks surrounding the water.

You can reach this spot via private land, so be mindful and respectful. Follow Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road for 49 kilometres from Wanaka, the falls are visible from the road. A sign gesturing to the falls leads the way to a track. You can walk down for 10 minutes to reach the foot of the falls.

2. Lake Mackenzie, Fiordland National Park

Lake Mackenzie, Fiordland National Parkc
Lake Mackenzie, Fiordland National Parkc

This water is covered by an alpine circle, where snow-covered mountains round off a breathtaking picturesque.

t is one of the deepest lakes in New Zealand, with a maximum depth of 722 meters.

This lake is situated in the South Island’s Fiordland National Park (the same region where the famed Milford Sound is). It is one of the country’s most naturally enriched areas with the shore covered with campgrounds and huts, for those who want to take things in for a little while longer.

  • Address: Lake Mackenzie, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
  • How to get there: The lake is located off State Highway 94, about 80 kilometers south of Te Anau. There is a car park at the end of the road.

Lake Mackenzie is a little tough to reach but is one to make hikers happy. The lake is a highlight along the Routeburn Track. It is one of New Zealand’s 10 Great Walks. Lake Mackenzie itself is about a 4-6 hour walk from the Divide, Milford Road (reached via Te Anau).

3. Hot Water Beach, Lake Tarawera

Hot Water Beach, Lake Tarawera
Hot Water Beach, Lake Tarawera

The Coromandel Peninsula’s Hot Water Beach is one of the popular places enjoying a lot of attention, but that’s not due to the hot water beach but there is much more to check out. Situated in a secluded bay of Lake Tarawera is the little-known Hot Water Beach campsite.

The beach is known for its hot springs, which bubble up from the sand at low tide. Visitors can dig their own hot pools in the sand and enjoy a relaxing soak.

  • Address: Hot Water Beach, Waiotapu, New Zealand
  • How to get there: The beach is located off State Highway 30, about 50 kilometers south of Rotorua. There is a car park at the beach.

Make your hole in the lakeside sand to bathe in, or take a short (signposted) walk away from the lake to discover a piping-hot natural spa carved out of the earth. The solitariness of this location can certainly pay dividends as you escape the crowd of travellers.

If you have time, you can pack your tent and trek the 4-5 hour lakeside track to Hot Water Beach campsite.

4. Pori Pori, Lower Kaimai

Pori Pori, Lower Kaimai
Pori Pori, Lower Kaimai

This is a waterhole with large rock structures all around and a lush forest bursting with ferns. You can sit in the naturally occurring, almost perfectly human-sized bath holes. You can also ‘pop a manu’- slang for a water bomb, what many of the locals do.

The spa is made up of a series of hot pools, waterfalls, and mud pools.

  • Address: Pori Pori, Waiorongomai, New Zealand
  • How to get there: The spa is located off State Highway 29, about 60 kilometers south of Tauranga. There is a car park at the spa.

This spot is located just off State Highway 29 on Poripori Road. You must understand that the first glimpse of water is not the swimming spot itself. Cross the elevated section of the Wairoa River and find out other people’s footsteps through the blackberry shrubs and native grass known as toi toi. Here, the river converts into a deep pool you can plunge into.

5.Kerosene Creek, Rotorua

Kerosene Creek, Rotorua
Kerosene Creek, Rotorua

Craving for free hot pools? It is the dream for most travellers, a luxury that many countries envy and others often charge to access. Rotorua is known for some of New Zealand’s most sensational spots. Kerosene Creek is the place where geothermal energy heats what would otherwise be a cold creek. It is perfect for relaxing and rejuvenating. Reach here to rest and relax, with the picturesque view of a petite 2m waterfall and a backdrop of the North Island bush.

Kerosene Creek is a thermal spa located in Rotorua. The creek is fed by hot springs, and the water is warm enough to swim in. 

  • Address: Kerosene Creek, Rotorua, New Zealand
  • How to get there: The creek is located off State Highway 5, about 5 kilometers south of Rotorua. There is a car park at the creek.

Kerosene Creek is about 57km north of Taupo and 28km south of Rotorua on State Highway 5. Beware of the turnoff at Old Waiotapu Road. The end shows a grassed area where vehicles can park. A word of warning, this area is known for theft. Keep valuables well hidden or take them with you.

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Legality of Swimming in New Zealand

It is generally legal to swim in New Zealand, however, there are some restrictions and regulations in place. For example, it is illegal to swim in areas where there are signs prohibiting swimming, such as at some waterfalls and hot springs. It is also illegal to swim in areas where there are health risks, such as where there is sewage or other pollutants.

It is also important to note that swimming in New Zealand can be dangerous, even in areas where it is legal to swim. There are a number of factors that can contribute to swimming accidents, such as cold water temperatures, strong currents, and hidden hazards. It is important to be aware of these risks and to take precautions to stay safe when swimming in New Zealand.

Here are some tips for staying safe when swimming in New Zealand:

  • Swim in areas that are supervised by lifeguards.
  • Be aware of the water temperature and currents.
  • Swim within your limits.
  • Do not swim alone.
  • Be aware of hidden hazards, such as rocks and underwater plants.
  • Wear a life jacket if you are not a strong swimmer.


Ans – Wild swimming, also known as open water swimming, involves taking a dip in natural bodies of water like rivers, lakes, and oceans. New Zealand’s stunning landscapes and pristine waters make it a hotbed for wild swimming enthusiasts.

Q. Is wild swimming safe in New Zealand?

Ans – While New Zealand offers incredible opportunities for wild swimming, it’s essential to be cautious. Always check local guidelines, be aware of potential hazards, and swim with a buddy if possible. Safety should be a top priority.

Q. Are there any specific regulations for wild swimming in New Zealand?

Ans – Regulations may vary from place to place. Some areas might have restrictions on swimming due to conservation efforts or safety concerns. It’s crucial to research and follow any rules and regulations in the specific location you plan to swim.

Q. What are the best times of the year for wild swimming New Zealand?

Ans – New Zealand’s summers, from December to February, are generally the best times for wild swimming New Zealand due to warmer water temperatures. However, some adventurous swimmers enjoy the crisp waters during the shoulder seasons as well.

Q. What are some unique experiences associated with wild swimming in New Zealand?

Ans – New Zealand offers opportunities to swim near waterfalls, in glacial lakes, and even alongside dolphins in some coastal areas. These unique experiences make wild swimming in New Zealand truly unforgettable.

Q. How can I find more information about specific wild swimming New Zealand Locations?

Ans – You can consult local tourism websites, guidebooks, or online communities dedicated to outdoor enthusiasts. Additionally, reaching out to locals or joining social media groups focused on wild swimming New Zealand can provide valuable insights.


These are some of the most popular and widely flocked wild swimming spots that you can visit during your New Zealand vacation. New Zealand, with its vast and diverse landscapes, offers a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and especially for those who love to swim. Each of these top 5 wild swimming spots – Wishbone Falls, Mount Aspiring, Lake Mackenzie, Fiordland National Park, Hot Water Beach, Lake Tarawera, Pori Pori, Lower Kaimai, and Kerosene Creek, Rotorua – is a unique jewel waiting to be discovered.

Every spot, with its picturesque landscapes, offers not just a refreshing swim but an unforgettable experience. Whether it’s the thrill of diving into an idyllic pool at the foot of a waterfall, the serenity of camping by an alpine lake, the joy of soaking in a natural hot water spa, or the exhilaration of taking a plunge in a deep forest pool, these places have something for everyone.