Southland is filled with adventure around every corner, from jet boating and kayaking to Great Walks and scenic flights. However, sometimes finding moments of tranquillity is essential to restore our energy and well-being in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Nestled in the scenic landscapes of our region, a collection of spas, retreats and hot tubs under starlit skies offer the perfect haven for relaxation and self-care. From Invercargill's urban comforts to the Catlins' remote charm and the peaceful paradise of Rakiura Stewart Island, these places invite weary souls to relax, unwind, and reconnect with the world around us.
Don't want to leave the comfort of the city but still need some time to relax and unwind? There are heaps of options for you, right in town or only a short drive out. Try out one of these to rejuvenate your mind and body:If you want to take a short break from the hustle and bustle but don't want to travel too far out of town, Beauty & Beyond Urban Retreat or The Beauty Bach are the places to go. Massages, facials, mani/pedi, you can find it all here. Both these places also have a "men zone", with skin and body treatments just for him and at Beauty & Beyond you can also go for a "float" in one of their tanks. This pod contains 600 kg's of Epsom salt and 700 litres of water heated to body temperature, which creates a buoyancy that will make you feel weightlessness. Floating therapy will give you an ultra-deep relaxation feeling that will heal body and mind. Aqua Salon & Spa in Winton offers a full top-to-toe service in one place, from a haircut to a relaxing massage and revitalising facial, and it's only a short drive from Invercargill.
Ten minutes from Invercargill, you will find the Otatara Fern and Feather Retreat. This private, peaceful sanctuary offers dual outdoor baths, where you and a partner, friend, or child, can soak amongst native bush with bird songs from tūī, kererū and fantails in the background. With a nectar bird feeder nearby, you even have the chance to observe them in close proximity from the comfort of your warm bath. The luxury massages at the retreat using hot stones (or not, if that's your preference) increase the warmth to your muscles helping hasten relief and deepen the relaxation. Extra treats like heat packs and electric blankets will maximise your 'feel good' experience.
If you have a bit more time to relax, make your way to LongRidge Estate and stay the night at this hidden gem with your own outdoor hot tub heated by a wood fire. Complementary chocolates, bubbles and fairy lights make this place a luxurious treat. It's all in the details! Can you think of a better place to watch the Southland stars at night?
If you're looking for a place off the beaten path to find some peace and quiet, the huts at Welcome Rock have your name written all over them. At the base of Welcome Rock, you will find The Red Shed, originally a woolshed turned into a studio for two. The twin outdoor baths are the perfect place to rest and relax while taking in the spectacular farm views by day and stars by night. You can also stay up the mountain at the Slate Hut, near the highest point of the track at 1100 metres above sea level. To get here, you must either walk or bike on the 27 km single-track loop trail, but don't worry; your bag can be dropped off for you. Just imagine how good soaking in that outdoor bathtub will feel afterward! Watch the sun setting over the Mataura Valley and Eyre Mountains with extraordinary views. For a truly unique experience, you can spend the night at The Mud Hut, a more basic and rustic hut with another outdoor bath.
Rakiura Stewart Island is the perfect place to relax and unwind and an idyllic destination that won't disappoint. This tranquil paradise with some of Southland's most pristine beauty offers an array of options to rejuvenate your mind and body. While on the island, you can't miss the opportunity to visit Stewart Island Spa, the southernmost spa. This place has everything you need to relax fully: facials, massage (Thai, Swedish, you name it), a sauna, saltwater spa, and mud baths... choosing a pampering treatment will be a delightful challenge!
For a truly immersive experience, spend the night on the island at one of the luxurious accommodations around. The Rakiura Cabins and Observation Rock Lodge are tucked away amongst the lush bush, offering a private sanctuary completely hidden away from the rest of the world. Soak in the bubbling outdoor hot tub and listen to the sound of native birds around you, like kākā, kākāriki, kiwi and many others or be mesmerised by the island's night sky, which is some of the best on earth thanks to its little light pollution. At Observation Rock Lodge, you can enjoy fine dining with gourmet meals and fine wines featuring fresh local seafood with homegrown vegetables and herbs.
Whether you choose to unwind with a soothing massage or soak in a hot tub under the starlit sky, Stewart Island provides the ultimate haven for relaxation and rejuvenation.
With its spectacular coastline, native forests, deserted sandy beaches and cascading waterfalls, The Catlins is another excellent destination for a serene getaway. At the top of Table Hill, Beresford Heights offers a private magical hideaway. This lodge is off the grid and has everything you need for a luxurious escape, including a lovely hot tub outside offering sweeping panoramic views for you to enjoy.
Nearby Tiromoana awaits; a coastal retreat with stunning vistas of the ocean. A spa pool on an extensive sun-drenched deck is the perfect place to sit, relax, and reconnect with nature's beauty. Close to Curio Bay and situated high on the hill above Waikawa, you will find Niagara Ridge Retreat. The coastal views are absolutely breathtaking, and you can enjoy them even better from their outdoor spa bath.
The Catlins offers travellers a unique experience of peace and tranquillity, rare wildlife, rugged coastlines and beautiful scenery. Combine this with fabulous accommodation facilities, and you can be assured of a great visit to The Catlins, leaving you feeling fully refreshed and recharged.
When it comes to finding the ultimate oasis to relax and unwind, Fiordland's beauty presents a breathtaking backdrop. By now, it should be apparent that our love here in Southland for outdoor hot tubs is quite evident. In our humble opinion, there's just no better place to soak and relax while taking in the natural beauty around you or the awe-inspiring sky of stars above.
There is abundant accommodation where you can unwind in the outdoor hot tub. Holiday parks like Te Anau Top 10 and Tasman Holiday Park are budget-friendly options in town, where you can soak your cares away. Blue Ridge Studios and B&B is a lovely place in the heart of Te Anau with an outdoor hydrotherapy heated spa pool.
A little further out of town, you will find Alpine Rock B&B, where the quiet location and private hot tub offer you the perfect remedy for weary travel and tramping muscles. Fiordland Eco Retreat is a sustainable, relaxing stay where guests can simply drink in the unobstructed 360° panoramic views overlooking Lake Te Anau and the majestic Fiordland mountains beyond the outdoor hot tub.
Cabot Lodge is a beacon of peace and luxury, bordering the Fiordland National Park and overlooking Lake Manapouri. Sit back and indulge in everything this place can provide, from cocktail hours with drinks and canapés to gourmet cuisine, massage services and a spa pool. Everything you need to restore can be found right here while surrounded by Fiordland National Park's natural grandeur.
In Manapouri, Kepler Mountain View Cottage is a place with magnificent views of the Kepler, Hunter and Takitimu Mountains. Soaking in the spa pool while the galaxy of wonders unfolds above you is the ultimate way to relax. As the warm, bubbling water envelops your body, the worries and stresses of the day melt away, leaving you in a state of blissful calmness. To top it off, you can meet the gentle and endearing alpacas that live here. With their calming energy and adorable antics, they are the perfect company for your relaxing getaway.
If you want to indulge in a relaxing massage, perhaps after one of the many walks in the area, Fiordland Massage Clinic in Te Anau is the place for you. They offer a variety of massage treatments, including relaxation, deep tissue, hot stone treatment, couples' massages, hiker recovery and more. At their calm and refreshing space, you can take a break from your busy life and truly float away during your massage.
Embarking on a cruise through the majestic Milford Sound while luxuriating in a hot tub is an extraordinary experience combining nature's spectacular beauty with the ultimate indulgence of relaxation. Feel Fiordland's crisp, pure air on your face while soaking in the warm, bubbling water. Aboard the boats of Fiordland Discovery or Pure Salt and let them take you on an unforgettable cruising experience. So far from civilisation and in tune with the natural rhythm of the sun and tides, you'll truly relax.
One of the best ways to experience the magnificence of the fiords, with their rugged landforms, clear waters, tumbling waterfalls and rare animals, is on one of the various boat cruises offered through numerous operators in the…