Forest bathing, the Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku, has been proven to lower stress and improve health. The Nature Fix by Florence Williams extols the benefits of just being in the forest or bush as it’s known in Aotearoa New Zealand. Immerse yourself in nature and let your worries float away.
Abel Tasman National Park is rich in natural wonders, and Cleopatra’s Pool is one of the jewels in its crown. The pool under the trees has the added bonus of a natural waterslide lined with moss. If that’s too adventurous, the crystal-clear waters are ideal for bathing.
Karamatura Valley in Huia is a beautiful bush-clad valley intersected by the Karamatura Stream, only 45 minutes from the Auckland CBD. Walk up the track to discover Karamatura Falls, a 15m cascade that has a bathing pool at its base. There is a large rock close by where you can soak up the rays before plunging into the icy depths.
New Zealand is renowned for its thermal activity, and Kerosene Creek near Rotorua is a naturally steamy waterslide and pool where the freshwater creek and hot springs meet. The gravelly base of the pool provides for an excellent foot massage, and the water bubbles up to tickle the toes. This hidden gem in a forest canopy is often busy during colder months and attracts tourists from around the world.
One of Auckland’s most popular boltholes, Karekare Falls was voted the best swimming spot in New Zealand recently. The falls are a short walk from the main road and the pool at the base provides the best in bush bathing options. It gets very busy in the warmer months, however, so get in early to secure a spot by poolside.
The Pelorus River between Havelock and Rai Valley is crystal clear and blessed with deep pools for swimming. You might recognise your surrounds and that would be because the river was the location of the dwarves-in-barrels scene from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Spend the night and camp amongst one of Marlborough\'s last river-flat forests with towering beech, rimu and kahikatea trees.
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