Summer is (mostly) here and with that comes the usual ways to try and escape the heat and humidity.

Luckily, being the skinny country that we are, the oceans are never too far away for a quick dip, but there are other places dotted around Aotearoa to cool down a bit.

Water parks

Kiwi Water Park, Cromwell

Cool down every time you wipeout!

The country’s biggest floating water park can be found deep in the South Island. Kiwi Water Park has a host of obstacles to tackle, from a floating hamster wheel to what is allegedly the largest floating sheep in the world.

And every time you don’t succeed, well enjoy being dumped into the drink. If Cromwell and Central Otago is a bit far to go, then the same company also has slip’n slides in Auckland and Queenstown.

See: kiwiwaterpark.com

Off the Loop Wake Park, Foxton

More inflatable fun can be found at Foxton’s Off the Loop Wake Park, which has a floating obstacle course for the family to enjoy.

Those with more of a sporty side can also try wakeboarding, hydrofoiling and paddleboarding.

See: offtheloop.nz

Splash Planet, Hastings

The country’s biggest water theme park has had a bit of a makeover with millions spent on an upgrade to some of the facilities.

The Double Dipper and Sky Castle Screamer rides will provide the thrills while the young ‘uns can enjoy Toddler Island.

See: splashplanet.co.nz

Outdoor pools

Parnell Baths, Auckland

One of the most famous destinations in the big city in the summer.

The historic site offers a 60-metre salt water pool to cool down in, and an interactive aqua playground for those with a bit more energy to burn. Warning though, it can get a bit busy.

See: clmnz.co.nz/parnell-baths

Lido Aquatic Centre, Palmerston North

Do as much, or as little, as you want if the temperature is rising in Palmy.

There’s a speed slide, a superbowl, and an aquaplay park to keep the kids, and those young at heart, happy.

See: clmnz.co.nz/lido-aquatic-centre

St Clair Hot Salt Water Pool, Dunedin

Yes, this is a heated saltwater pool, but Dunedin’s answer to Sydney’s world-famous Bondi Baths is hard to beat on a summer’s day.

Occupying a perfect perch on the southern end of St Clair Beach, the pool is heated to a cosy 28C.

See: dunedin.govt.nz

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, Hanmer Springs

Famous for its therapeutic hot pools, Hanmer Springs is also the place to go for water slide thrills.

Alongside the already iconic Superbowl and Conical Thrill slide experiences, two new state-of-the-art $3.2 million hydroslides have opened – Violet Vortex and Waiau Winder.

See: hanmersprings.co.nz

Wainuiomata Summer Pool, Lower Hutt

An 80-metre open-air water slide through native bush is a highlight of this hidden gem of a complex in Lower Hutt.

Set amid rose gardens and shrubs surrounded by bush, it features a 50-metre pool with lanes dedicated to lane swimming and aqua jogging at certain periods, a “splash zone” for kids and teens with an “aquarun”, hydroslide and aqua toys, plus a spa pool.

See: pools.huttcity.govt.nz

Swimming holes

Arethusa Pool, Mou Waho, Wānaka

About a 45-minute boat ride from Wānaka, predator-free Mou Waho island has a famous lake within a lake.

While a long way from tropical, the lake is much shallower than Lake Wānaka so typically warmer – although a wetsuit might come in handy if you plan on wallowing for a while.

Charlie’s Rock swimming hole, Kerikeri

Kerikeri’s iconic Charlie’s Rock swimming hole has long been a favourite of the locals, but the secret is out.

While travellers flock to nearby Rainbow Falls, Charlie’s Rock offers an equally picturesque waterfall and water hole. Tiered rocks form a natural staircase for lowering yourself into the cool water.

Kai Iwi Lakes, Northland

The Kai Iwi Lakes are a little slice of the Pacific Islands right here in New Zealand. Just north of Dargaville and Baylys Beach, the three lakes are surrounded by pure white sand and are perfect for cooling off.

There are shallow areas for little ‘uns, while the typically calm surface is also ideal for kayaking and standup paddleboarding. Fishing for rainbow trout and hiking around the lakes are also popular activities.

Tiny town

Manapōuri

This tiny enclave in the southwest corner of the South Island is a great place to cool off, and we mean really cool.

Last year it set the lowest temperature of summer in NZ at -0.4°C on February 24 according to NIWA. That would make a dip in Lake Manapōuri certainly bracing!

Hopefully, it won’t be quite that cold this summer as there are plenty of beaches and hikes to try in the region.

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