The Waiho Story... so far



I established Waiho Hot Tubs late in 2020 to provide the ultimate wilderness experience to our visitors and to provide another really good reason for visitors to discover the beautiful region of Franz Josef.

Like many, post lockdown, I was keen to take some control of my future. Franz Josef has been my home for the past 15 years, where I have loved operating the Bella Vista Motel, working with my business partners at SnakeBite Brewery and contributing to the small community.

About 10 years ago the Hot Pools at Franz Josef opened. A soak in the pools had become as important to visitors as a walk to the glacier. However, it looked like they were not going to reopen after lockdown, and as a village, we were missing them.

I love soaking in hot pools, however a chlorine intolerance has always prevented me from enjoying public pools. The simplicity of the freshwater, wood-fired hot tub experience successfully operating at Omarama excited me. I saw an opportunity to do something positive for my community, keep my staff employed and provide a luxurious experience to visitors of our area.

After looking at many sites I settled on a gravel pad at the Orange Sheep Campervan Park. The central site was ideal, with bathrooms, an office and surrounding rainforest. 

A strike of luck was acquiring some beautiful plants from a local property developer, who needed to clear bush off a road reserve. Over six weeks Mike and Dave, from Franz Hire, along with Peggy and myself worked away at transforming the site into what it is today.

Takahoa and Johnathan share the role of hosting our guests. Your support of our business directly supports them and their families.

After looking at options for the hot tubs themselves, we decided to go with Degree 43 tubs. These tubs are built very strong and the team there have continued to go the extra mile.

At a time when Franz Josef was getting quiet, it was great to be able to keep Paul the local plumber busy for a few days. I had always wanted a heat recovery tank to be part of the design. Paul put his thinking cap on and made it a reality. This simple heat recovery system lifts the temperature of fresh cold water by 5 degrees Celsius.

The moody Waiho River flows from the Franz Josef Glacier to the Ocean. The name Waiho loosely translates to Smokey Waters. The steam rising from the hot tubs creates this image beautifully, leading to the name Waiho Hot Tubs.

The Glaciers are a magical place to visit.  Find out more about this special area at

Thanks for checking out our story. We hope that if you have not already been a part of it you soon will.

If you have any feedback about your Waiho experience, please take a moment to email or call. Suggestions for improvement as well as positive reviews are so valuable to us.

[email protected]
027 752 1234