Solar-powered hot pools and spa among top weekend getaway spots


Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa. Photo: Supplied
Ōpuke Thermal Pools & Spa. Photo: Supplied
Methven’s Ōpuke Thermal Pools 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 $7.5 million loan from the Provincial Growth Fund and sits on 2ha 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 take into consideration the Covid-19 situation.

There had been a lull in March, but things have bounced back and are 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.

McKenzie said weekends remain 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 the maximum number in the adult-only tranquility pools is 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 has been working well.

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

The discovery pools are heated to between 34-36 deg C and the tranquility pools are between 38-40 deg C.

Opuke also has solar hot tubs, a day spa, function area and cafe. Bookings can be made at

-By Mick Jensen

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