A MAG­I­CAL retreat

Go Travel New Zealand - - Coromandel - by Lynette Dey

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.

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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

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