Hot pools, cool views

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Enjoying the Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa earlier this week were Mount Hutt College Year 11 students (from left) Leah Johnson, Esme Heffernan and Naomi Taylor with friend Amelia Taylor.

New Zealand’s first solar powered hot pools have opened at Methven.

The Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa were officially unveiled last week and opened
to the public on Friday.

Water for the pools is taken from the Rangitata River and heated by a bank of 500 solar panels that feature 15,000 tubes.

Speaking at last week’s opening Regional Economic Development and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the thermal pool, spa and wellbeing complex was a vote of confidence in the future of tourism and the regional economy around Methven and Mt Hutt.

He said government had faith in the the best for the regional economy.

become a year-round tourist destination, building on its existing reputation as a winter skiing and adventure resort. It will help the economy transition from a focus on short-term jobs, to an all year town with more visitors and permanent jobs.”

The $15 million pools project received a $7.5m loan from the Provincial Growth Fund and the balance has been funded by the private sector.

The hot pools hope to draw up to 150,000 visitors a year to Methven and the vision for them was developed a number of years ago.

With scenic views to the mountains, the pools are divided into two distinct areas.

The complex’s discovery pools are the family-friendly aquapark and feature plunge pools, caves and water cannons. They have a temperature of between 34 and 36 degrees C.

The adult-only tranquility pools are heated to between 38 and 40 degrees C and are connected to the spa complex, which features a choice of treatments and also private, wooden solar tubs.

Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa marketing co-ordinator Olivia Attwood said visitors had been very impressed with the hot pools complex.

‘‘The feedback has been amazing. People have commented on the quality and design of the pools and they’ve been telling us it’s the ‘next level’.’’

Visitors were exploring what was on offer and two hour booking slots were popular, as were adult upgrades, she said.

The thermal pools sit on two hectares of land adjacent to the Methven Racecourse on the edge of the township.

The complex also has a cafe and a mezzanine area that can cater for groups of up to 50.

The pools are open seven days a week from 10am until 7pm.

Bookings can be made at the opuke.nz website, or in person.

-By Mick Jensen