A session at the spa is always a treat, but in New Zealand it’s even more special. Māori massage is a holistic experience for body and soul, and Aotearoa’s geothermal mud, native plants and manuka honey will soothe and revitalise your skin.
Get muddy in Rotorua
You can marvel at it bubbling in mud pools, but did you know that Rotorua’s geothermal mud is just as wondrous for your skin? It’s rich in minerals such as sulphur, calcium, sodium and silicon, and releases protective antioxidants when applied to the skin. What’s more, the sensation of being dipped in smooth, soothing mud has relaxation benefits all of its own. Try the Signature Mud Wrap at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa, which begins with an exfoliating scrub and includes a full-body mud mask and scalp massage. Afterwards, head to the spa’s hot mineral baths and soak up the views across Lake Rotorua.
The Polynesian Spa is lakeside in Rotorua, one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s a three-hour drive from Auckland, and one hour from Taupo on the Thermal Explorer Highway. There are daily flights to Rotorua from all three of New Zealand’s main centres.
Greenstone Energy in Queenstown
Hot stone massage therapy is popular everywhere, but in New Zealand therapeutic greenstone is the rock of choice. Also known as pounamu, greenstone is nephrite jade from the South Island. This stone can be shaped and polished until it’s ultra-smooth, and has long been used by Māori to make tools, weapons and jewellery (the latter is still popular today). Greenstone is also believed to have harmonising and healing properties. At the Sofitel Queenstown’s So Spa, try a soothing massage with warm greenstones to melt away tension. Afterwards, enjoy the infrared sauna, steam room or relaxation room of this award-winning spa.
One of New Zealand’s most picturesque destinations, Queenstown is less than a two-hour flight from Auckland and under an hour from Christchurch. Under the Southern Alps and beside Lake Wakitipu, it’s New Zealand’s “adventure capital” thanks to a wealth of outdoor activities – from heli-skiing and hiking to jet boating and bungy jumping.
Manuka to the Max
New Zealand manuka honey is world-renowned for its healing antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is an extremely popular ingredient in anti-ageing skincare. At Amaia Luxury Spa, part of the eco-friendly Te Waonui Forest Retreat at Franz Josef Glacier on the South Island’s West Coast, you can experience a luxurious manuka honey facial to rejuvenate your skin. Enjoy a relaxing neck, shoulder and scalp massage while the rich honey mask nourishes your skin. The wonder ingredient is even present in the lip balm and moisturiser that finishes off the facial. You can take the experience home by trying a local manuka honey skincare range such as Manuka Doctor (manukadoctor.com)
Amaia Luxury Spa at Franz Josef Glacier is in the heart of the West Coast’s Te Wahipounamu, a Unesco World Heritage Area renowned for its mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes. It’s a two-hour drive from Hokitika airport or take the scenic route on the famed TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Franz Josef.
An Organic Facial in Tekapo
Nourish your skin with the purest New Zealand botanical ingredients at Tekapo Springs Glacial Spa. The spa aestheticians here are devotees of Moana Organic Skincare, a premium local skincare brand that uses a host of native New Zealand ingredients. Enjoy a facial based around the reviving properties of red seaweed, which is rich in anti-oxidants, peptides, vitamins and minerals, along with the soothing and anti-ageing benefits of kowhai, harakeke (flax), kawakawa oil, manuka honey and mamaku black fern extract. The spa is part of the Tekapo Springs complex, which also offers star-gazing, ice skating, hot pools and snow tubing.
About three hours’ drive from either Christchurch or Queenstown, Tekapo is part of the Aoraki-Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, thanks to its spectacular stars. Located in the central South Island’s Mackenzie Country, Tekapo is a must-see stop on State Highway 3, one of New Zealand’s most popular scenic drives.
Traditional Māori Massage in Rotorua
The Māori revere massage as a sacred taonga (treasure), and at Treetops Lodge & Estate deep in the forests of Rotorua, you’ll find authentic Māori healers dedicated to this art. This award-winning luxury lodge opens its wilderness spa to guests and day visitors, and specialises in indigenous wellness therapies.
For a holistic experience, the Mirimiri massage begins with an ancient Māori prayer and inspires deep relaxation as well as the union of mauri (life essence) and wairua (spirit). For a firmer, more invigorating treatment, Romiromi is a deep-tissue massage that stimulates pressure points and relieves tense muscles.
Treetops Lodge & Estate is surrounded by 1000 hectares of 800-year-old native forest in Rotorua. A three-hour drive south of Auckland, Rotorua is one of New Zealand’s key cultural attractions. Visit a marae [meeting place], see geothermal geysers, get close to a kiwi and explore beautiful forests and lakes.