Methven’s Opuke Thermal Pool and Spa is tracking well after six months of operations and feedback is very positive.

The country’s first solar powered hot pools opened late last year with the aim of supporting Methven to become a year-round tourist destination.

The $15 million pools project received a $7.5m loan from the Provincial Growth Fund and sit on two hectares of land adjacent to the Methven Racecourse on the edge of the township.

Opuke director James McKenzie said visitor numbers to date were encouraging, particularly when you took into consideration the covid situation.

There had been a lull in March, but things had bounced back and were tracking steadily.

“Visitors are telling us that they are loving the boutique feel of Opuke, our point of difference and what we are offering,” he said.

Mr McKenzie said weekends remained the busiest time at the complex.

“We decided from the outset that we would have operational parameters that managed numbers to ensure visitors could relax and enjoy themselves and feedback on that approach has been very positive.”

He said maximum numbers in the adult-only tranquility pools were 45 at any one time and 100 in the family-friendly discovery pools.

Bookings are made in either two or four hour time blocks.

On the operational side there had been a few small tweaks, as was expected, but the solar panels and technology was working well.

Mr McKenzie said staffing remained the biggest challenge, but that was starting to work out.

The discovery pools are heated at between 34 and 36 degrees C and the tranquility pools are between 38 and 40 degrees C.

Opuke also has solar hot tubs, a day spa, function area and cafe.

Bookings can be made at the website.

-By Mick Jensen