Report - Aotearoa Thermal Resort, Tokaanu - March 2015

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Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014
Aotearoa Thermal Resort, located in Tokaanu, is a former hotel and spa and it was well known for having an onsite thermal swimming pool. Since the Aotearoa hotel was part of the thermal resort branch, history of the site is rather vague. When it was operational though, the hotel’s location was described as being quiet and tranquil since it is positioned beneath the prominence of the Tongariro Heritage Park on the southern shore of Lake Taupo. The resort was able to offer visitors a range of leisure activities which included; trout fishing, skiing, water rafting, trekking (tramping), hunting, Māori cultural meeting groups and transfers into nearby towns and cities. On the actual site itself the hotel had a number of function rooms, a bar and restaurant area, a communal room, thermal heating and 27 rooms which all included a bath/shower, television and, apparently, ‘all those little touches that make your stay unforgettable’; whatever they were. Aotearoa also boasted having a large geothermal pool (meaning it could be used throughout the entire year) with a sheltered area in the centre of the complex. They offered regular BBQ’s and cocktail parties during the summer months. If you were to stay here, check-in was not available until 2pm, and you were required to vacate your room by 10am on the day of your departure. Aotearoa Thermal Resort was a popular holiday destination for energetic people who enjoy a more active and lively holiday.

The stereo was booming as we bombed down the highway, eagerly searching for our next explore. The majestic New Zealand countryside whizzed past as I gazed out of the window from the backseat. At least, that’s how I’d like to begin. Instead, since we’d left one of the mountain regions (which was incredible to say the least) we were on a straight road passing the same predictable countryside for miles. The stereo didn’t work properly either, and we had to strategically position the cable in the right way for the shitty contraption to emit a sort of fuzzy T-Rex “I love to boogie” sound. But, all of a sudden a large abandoned looking resort appeared on the horizon. We cheered in a moment of joy. Instantly forgetting about our desperate search for food for the moment we decided to pull over. Bingo! We’d stumbled across an abandoned thermal resort. Just the ticket I thought; I was ready to stretch the legs and grab a few shots. We parked up alongside some residential housing, which itself looked abandoned, and made our way into the premises. Access didn’t require any particular effort, other than avoiding a very large and deep puddle. Needless to say, much like the scene from of the Vicar of Dibley, Nillskill fell into it which gave us a good warning as to its whereabouts. Squelching on we soon discovered that all of the room doors to the resort were locked; this was little more than a minor setback though since we found all of the keys in the head office, just behind reception.

As an explore the site was interesting and there were plenty of old objects and items lying around; ranging from canoes to silverware. One surprise, however, was the remnants of the suspected meth lab we discovered in part of the kitchen area; that whole section, oozing with a foul stench, was certainly filled with many dubious looking instruments. Unfortunately, the sun had set by this point and this part of the site was windowless and dark, and as we were on the beginning of a trip I didn’t want to waste my battery power by taking long exposure shots of New Zealand’s underground crime scene. So, that was that. Afterwards, remembering how desperate we were for food, we pulled into the nearest Burger King (not much choice in a country that doesn’t yet have the population to warrant having regular service stations). Two ‘meals’ for the price of one was certainly one deal that wasn’t to be sneezed at.

1: Aotearoa Thermal Resort


2: Outdoor Walkway


3: Thermal Swimming Pool


4: The Main Reception


5: One of the Function Rooms


6: The Restaurant Area


7: The Kitchens


8: Brick Fireplace


9: Ornamental Touch (Copper Kettle)


10: The Old Electronic Equipment


11: Lamp Assortment


12: Teacher's Scotch Whisky


13: Bar Taps


14: Leftover Restaurant Items


15: Menus


16: Leftover Silverware


17: The Bar


18: Breakfast Items


19: The Bar


20: Coffee Machine


21: Site Documentation


22: The Manager's Office


23: Room 814 Key (Found behind reception)


24: A Mattress or Two


25: Laundry Room


26: Room 814


27: Bathroom


28: The Bedroom


29: Where the Bed Used to Be


30: Retro Bedside Radio



Is this the future?
Regular User
Mar 16, 2014
I'm pretty sure I'll be back there again. I live there nearly 3 years and loved it. But gosh I wish I'd known some of these! :) Thanks for posting them.
Haha, same. If you're over there give me a message on the off chance I'm there again too. Always good to know more people who are exploring stuff out there. The population is pretty small :p

Very nice and retro,I love the radio,
Cheers for sharing :thumb
Thanks :thumb Haha, yes. That radio is a relic.
Likes: Miss Mayhem

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