The new hot pools open on Saturday. Image: Chris Hutching
Christchurch’s newest tourist attraction is hoping for 75,000 visitors a year post-Covid-19.
But the New Brighton beachside $11.2m hot pools complex, He Puna Taimoana, would open only to domestic visitors on Saturday.
“We’ll be looking to attract Australians when the border is opened and then Chinese visitors,” the attraction’s manager, Merryn Skipper, told the Ticker.
“But at the moment it’s a great opportunity for locals to make the most of them.”
The pools had been due to open in April but Covid-19 put paid to the original timetable.
However, they were fully booked over the next few opening days.
Coastal Ward city councillor James Daniels said he had bought the first six tickets online and had gifted them to friends for the Saturday public opening.
While New Zealand remained at Covid-19 alert level 2, people must book into two-hour sessions, which are restricted to 50 people. There are four sessions each day.
Daniels said the new Christchurch City Council-funded pools would be a catalyst for private investment in the nearby retail area.
The pools add to other relatively new visitor attractions in the immediate vicinity including a new playground and the pier. The pier building houses the local library, which has proved a drawcard.
A commercial surf school has also been popular and is operating again.
Daniels and his family have lived in the area for many decades and he said he recalled how the pools had been on the drawing board since the 1960s.
“Council funded projects take a long time and so they should because it’s public money, but they’re finally here and they’re a beautiful tourist destination.”
Daniels also recalled how there were once historic cold saltwater pools on the site of He Puna Taimoana.
The five pools are heated with heat exchangers which draw water from dedicated boreholes. Temperatures ranged from 26 degrees to 38 degrees.
There was also a steam room and a cafe that would open on Saturday.
The admission charge for those who live outside of Christchurch would be $18 for an adult and $13 for a child.
For Christchurch residents, the cost for people over 15 is $14. For a child under 16 or with a Cando high school student ID card the charge would be $10 and those aged three and under would be admitted free.
Christchurch residents who want to use the pools regularly will be able to get cheaper admission rates if they take advantage of the multi-entry cards and membership options that would be available.
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