The ornate Blue Baths on the shores of Lake Rotorua, blend history, leisure, and high society. This building, which fuses art deco and Spanish mission styles, has been restored to its original splendor from 1933, when the thermally heated baths became New Zealand’s first place for “mixed bathing.”
The baths in this section of Rotorua actually date to 1885, when men-only bathhouses sat by the lakeshore, west of the current site. With the opening of the now-famous Blue Baths, however, the original ones were shuttered, and mixed bathing became the cultural norm. A small museum details the history of the baths; visitors on a tour of Rotorua or an independent visit can also enjoy high tea with a view of the Government Gardens. If you fancy a dip, purchase a ticket for a relaxing soak in the pools.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Choose a city sightseeing tour that points out the famous landmark.
- There are two hot-soak pools, which vary between 99°F and 106°F (37°C–41°C).
- The original Juvenile Pool hovers around 86°F (30°C).
- There is no lifeguard at the Blue Baths pools; all children under 14 years of age require supervised entry to the pool area.
How to Get There
The Blue Baths are located on Queens Drive, within the Government Gardens on the shores of Lake Rotorua. Pickup from centrally located hotels is included in most city sightseeing itineraries, but the site is also an easy stroll from downtown Rotorua.
When to Get There
The Blue Baths are open daily from 10am to 6pm. It’s best to call ahead and inquire about closures, because the venue is occasionally booked for private events. After a soak or a stroll through the ornate building, set out for a picnic in the surrounding Government Gardens.
Harken Back to Yesteryear
With muscles relaxed and skin all smooth after a swim or soak in the geothermally heated pools at the Blue Baths, stick around for an evening dinner show of live music and dancing. Visitors will enjoy the glamorous ambience of this historic Rotorua attraction, topped by sunset views over Lake Rotorua.