Watch: Reporter tests New Zealand's largest waterslide, opened today at Hanmer Springs

New Zealand's largest waterslide has opened in Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury.

The new slide had its official opening this morning, with a class from Leithfield School having the honour of the first ride.

The slide, called Conical Thrill, is 13.5 metres high, and includes a winding hydroslide before a steep drop that propels people up a nearly-vertical wall for a moment of weightlessness.

Five new thermal pools connected by waterfalls were also opened today.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa general manager, Graeme Abbot, said the pools were were built on timber frames, above ground, in order to protect the giant Redwood tree roots below.

He said they were also very water-efficient and have no balance tanks. A balance tank stores excess water displaced when more people get in the pool, thereby keeping the water at a constant depth.

The new features cost $4.5 million and took three years or planning and construction.

Nine-year-old Isaac Pond from Leithfield School said the ride was amazing.

"It was scarier than I expected but lots of fun. You go down the drop and then get a little bit of air. This is the best day off school ever."

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The new slide had its official opening this morning. Source: 1 NEWS