With steamy mineral pools, a day spa and café, The Lost Spring is an enchanting thermal resort that offers both relaxation and recreation. Located in the small seaside town of Whitianga, it is about 200 km or a 2.5 hour drive from Auckland, on New Zealand's magnificent Coromandel Peninsula.
For thousands of years the land was occupied by indigenious Maori people who utilised the heat and healing properties of mineral-rich water that emerged from a geothermal plain created by intense prehistoric volcanic activity.
Inspired by such stories, it took over 20 years for creator Alan Hopping to delve 667 metres deep into the earth's mantle and bring the therapeutic thermal water to the surface, creating The Lost Spring and "returning magic to the lives of many".
Spend the day floating around in steamy mineral pools
With a slightly sulphurous scent emanating from geothermal mineral pools surrounded by dense native bush and lush tropical palms, it's hard to believe this magical oasis is found in residential Whitianga.
To reflect the area's natural history, the water flows like hot lava from the peak of a mock volcano into the carefully sculpted lagoons, caves and cascading waterfalls.
Shimmering paths encrusted with crystals and illuminated by coloured lights lead guests through gardens, grottos and an ethereal mist rising from the warm natural spring water that ranges in temperature from 32C to 41C.
The cooler water of the resort's Amethyst Cave pool seems icy after the searing heat of its Crater Lake, but even Goldilocks would agree that the temperature in the shallows of the Waterfall Bathtub is just right.
The geothermal water is alkaline at 7.4 pH and enriched with over 400 different minerals, such as boron, calcium, silica and sulphate. These are readily absorbed to leave skin feeling soft and supple, and the body and mind rejuvenated.
Stations of filtered water near the pools keep guests hydrated, while attentive staff wander the paths taking orders and delivering poolside drinks and snacks.
Bookings are not required to visit The Lost Spring (unless part of a large group), which is open daily from 10.30 am. Its taste of luxury does not come cheap but is well worth it. One blissful hour in the pools costs $35, or a day pass can be purchased for $60, with additional charges for lockers, towels and robes.
A soak in the pools can be complemented with a pampering appointment at The Day Spa, which offers deluxe massage, facial, hand, feet and body treatments using products by Pure Fiji and Dermatech. The Day Spa is highly desirable among tourists and locals, with bookings required one to two weeks in advance.
Treatment rooms are set amid the treetops on the second level, with a sundeck overlooking the resort where guests can relax with refreshments after their treatment to admire the view.
The Cafe is waterfront and fully licensed. It strives to provide guests with nutritious, organic, free range and local produce for breakfast, lunch, snacks and grazing platters, along with a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The cocktail deck and outdoor pavilion are available for private functions and special occasions, providing an ideal setting for memorable moments.
Sleepy in winter and thriving in summer, Whitianga is the main coastal town of Mercury Bay and has population of about 4100 that swells in the holidays. The area is favoured by tourists for an abundance of hotels and restaurants, impressive natural attractions such as Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, and a popular spot for activities like swimming, kayaking, hiking, snorkelling and diving.
Accommodation and activity packages have been arranged with some of the best lodgings in the area. Visit The Lost Spring website and Facebook page for further information.
The Lost Spring thermal resort is a unique and luxurious experience and the ultimate destination for wellness, relaxation and pampering on New Zealand's idyllic North Island.