A MAGICAL retreat
As one of New Zealand’s best-loved summer holiday destinations, The Coromandel might not immediately come to mind as a place to visit in the cooler months. However, as the long summer days shorten, and the golden light of autumn replaces the bright summer sun, the iconic coastline of The Coromandel remains as tranquil and clear as ever.
shorter, cooler days are perfect conditions to explore the walkways, beaches and forests, and the slower pace of life on the peninsula, just 90 minutes from our largest city, Auckland, provides a restoring getaway from a busy schedule. The eastern coastal town of Whitianga is home to a secluded spot that is perfect for a winter getaway, rainy day escape, or romantic weekend. Situated in the heart of down town, you could pass by this gate on your way to the beach, never realising that behind the lush semi-tropical foliage lies the exotic sanctuary that is The Lost Spring. The Coromandel experienced intense volcanic activity many millions of years ago, resulting in the iconic coastal formations found in the Cathedral Cove and surrounds for which we are so famous, and a large geothermal plain on which the town of Whitianga now lies. Indigenous Māori spoke of secret locations where heated waters bubbled to
the surface, springs revered for their warmth and healing properties, and a lost geo-thermal hot spring that had once flowed into the Taputapuatea Stream (locally known as the Mother Brown Stream). Alan Hopping, owner of a camp ground in Cook Drive, was fascinated by The Coromandel’s thermal history and inspired by local stories, Alan began a lifelong project to discover the lost spring of Whitianga. With a vision of a therapeutic thermal resort, Alan dreamed of creating an accessible, but magical and secluded retreat that would combine the restorative powers of the thermal spring with modern spa culture. After many years (more than 20) of drilling, building and planting, The Lost Spring became a reality in 2008, when it finally opened to an expectant public. Nestled in a 1.5 hectares of a lush semi-tropical forest of native trees, delicate ferns and graceful palms, The Lost Spring is a luxury thermal pool complex with a day spa, lounge area and on site restaurant. As you enter the reception area, housed in the restored historic schoolhouse, the sounds of trickling waterfalls and calming Pacifica music are immediate tonics for the senses. The day we went, the patter of soft rain on the palm leaves enhanced the tranquil tropical feeling. As you leave the reception area to envelop yourself in the thick Pohutukawa coloured robe provided, you are already beginning to relax The sculpted amethyst pools shimmer invitingly through caves and grottos to provide tranquil private places for total relaxation. The therapeutic thermal pools range in temperature from the Amethyst Cave Pool at 32 degrees Celsius, through warm shallows and the Bathtub Terraces to the Crater Lake Hot Pool at the base of The Lost Spring Volcano, at a core-warming 40 degrees. The Lost Spring Day Spa takes pampering to another level. Whether you have an hour or two, or the time to indulge in a whole day of rejuvenation treatments, the spa menu will have something to suit. The team of trained therapists will select personalised treatment combinations to suit your body and state of mind, or you may select from combination packages and specialised treatment options. We loved the smell and feel of the Pure Fiji products used by our therapists in the soothing massage. Taut shoulder muscles felt deliciously relaxed, skin smooth and rehydrated, and it was an effort to rouse ourselves from the experience and snuggle back into our luxurious robes. If you are planning to stay for the day, there are plenty of opportunities to nourish your
inner self from the selection on the menu in the licensed restaurant. The fresh platters and light bites are favourites with guests, and brunch, lunch and dinner meal options cover most tastes. Whether you decide to dine al fresco by the pool or in the restaurant, The Lost Spring cocktails add a decadent touch. The 100 percent pure natural spring waters rise nearly 700 metres from the underground spring deep below the surface. Research has shown that water from the spring is thousands of years old and is rich in minerals that nourish your skin, leaving it feeling soft and supple. Sustainability and water quality are paramount; the geothermal waters are filtered and UV treated to ensure l00 percent pure crystal clear water. The pools are filled to the brim, and as they gently overflow, the thermal waters return to their source far below the earth, restored to their natural state as they pass through purifying ground layers. While we enjoyed our time at The Lost Spring as a glum weather special treat after some particularly hectic weeks at work, if you lived locally or visited The Coromandel regularly, we believe you would find yourself a regular. The combination of handy location (walking distance from accommodation, beach and main street) and feeling of utter seclusion and luxury is a winner. Its great for a romantic evening, a girls catch up, a special occasion or as part of a healthy regime. It’s not a place for young families though - you will need to leave children aged under 14 at home with a minder, and if you are between 14 and 18, you must be accompanied by an adult. Which leaves the hushed tranquillity of the luxury complex completely unbroken. The Lost Spring is open year round, 7 days a week, and it really is a 12-month destination. A very good reason to take a short break to The Coromandel, or perhaps a winter holiday, knowing you will enjoy a sure fire “good for your soul” experience.
The Lost Spring’s Amethyst Cave Pool