The History and Development of The Lost Spring Whitianga.
Finding Whitianga's Lost Spring;
Whitianga lies over an ancient geothermal plain formed in the wake of intense volcanic activity that occurred millions of years ago. Indigenous Maori people knew of specific locations where the heated waters bubbled to the surface and these springs were revered for their warmth and healing properties. Fascinated by the Thermal possibilities of the Coromandel Peninsula, Alan listened to stories of a lost geo-thermal hot spring that had once flowed into the Taputapuatea Stream (locally known as the Mother Brown Stream).
Fascinated by Coromandel Peninsula’s thermal history and inspired by local stories of a lost healing thermal spring that once bubbled up into the Taputapuatea stream, Alan believed there was still hot water to be found. With a vision of a therapeutic thermal resort, Alan began a lifelong project to find the lost spring of Whitianga. Alan dreamed of creating a thermal attraction that would bring magic into adult lives.....
In 1987 one 300m test hole was sunk deep beneath the volcanic layers under the camping ground. Recordings of rock types and temperature gradients ensured that Alan was on the right path.
In 1989 local water diviner Tom Finlay walked the grounds of the Buffalo Beach Tourist Resort, pin pointing the first potential drill site for the well.
After drilling 24hrs for almost three weeks, hot water was eventually struck at 625 meters down.
Originally christened as the Champagne Springs, the thermal waters were sparkling and full of minerals. The therapeutic property of thermal mineral water is well known throughout history. Alan’s thermal spring waters were tested and found to contain over 400 minerals and have a PH level of 7.4.
Now recognised as being no less than 16,000 years old, the fossilized water is sterile and contains zero bacteria. The high concentration of minerals combined and the 7.4ph level leaves the skin feeling soft and nourished, and has also proven to be beneficial for skin and joint conditions.
However, though the lost spring had now finally been found, the well failed due to a major electrical fault. Undaunted, and now with a taste of what could be, Alan continued creating his dream. Designing and building the pool complex, and developing the surroundings that would enhance the overall experience and add a touch of magic allowing for the total healing of body and mind.....
In 2001, Alan commenced his second drilling operation, and again pierced the cap rock to find the hot water below.
But alas disaster struck a second time when the drilling equipment dropped down the shaft and could not be retrieved. The second well had to be abandoned.
In 2006, 17 years after first striking hot water, Alan successfully drilled and capped his third production well.
At 667meters, producing 20,000litres of hot water an hour at 49degrees Celsius. Now with the well in place, Alan's dream of creating a first class thermal attraction was almost a reality.
In 2008 on the 8th December, Alan opened the doors of The Lost Spring to the public for the very first time.
The Development of TLS Whitianga...
The development of the pool complex is set over 3 and a half acres and has been lushly planted with large palms, native trees and delicate ferns.
Pools and waterfalls have been sculpted, and caves and caverns have been created. Gems and crystals that had been unearthed during the drilling of the well, are now dotted throughout the caves, paths and pools. The centrepiece of The Lost Spring is a hand sculpted volcano that looks over the Thermal Resort.
The Day Spa, Cafe, and reception area are housed within the historical Whitianga school house which Alan has had restored and renovated.
The Whitianga School House;
Originally built in 1865, the old Mercury Bay primary school house was moved by four trucks, 500 metres to its new position.
Renovated to house The Lost Spring cafe and reception area, the old school house and part of Whitianga history was restored.
The Day Spa's therapy rooms were built into one of the gables with a sundeck that looked out towards the volcano.
Originally a flat beachfront camping ground, Alan took on the challenge of changing the exsisting landscape...
In 1991, Alan began sculpting the surrounding landscape that would become paths, pools, mountains, volcanoes, caves and waterfalls.
Mounds of dirt from the 309 quarry were moved to the Buffalo Beach Tourist Resort, and mountains began to pop up in the middle of his camping ground.
During the creation of The Lost Spring Thermal Resort;
9 truckloads of Kauri logs were put into place.
34 mature Nikau palms were planted.
8 truckloads of volcanic boulders were brought in from a Whenuakite farm.
3000 trees were bought from Aucklands Ardmore Nurseries & another 1000 from Mercury Bay Garden Centre.
The Lost Spring features several caves within its property. To create these caves Alan had 360 44gallon drums trucked in from Tauranga.
The drums and 1tonne bags of sawdust were stacked up into large piles and covered with heavy black plastic. The engineered design was completed with structural steel a lot of concrete. The drums were then removed one by one, eventually leaving a large cavernous space where they once had been.
The suspension swing bridge over the Amethyst pools was built to reflect the Coromandel Peninsulas historical means of river crossings.
Native and tropical plants were planted and replanted over 10years.
Alan hand sculpted every pool onsite, sculpting concrete over steel frames to create unique pools to be filled with the natural thermal spring waters.
Interlinked with gemstone pathways that look like lava flow, Alan began introducing the overall look & feel of The Lost Spring.
To this day, Alan’s acute attention to detail is reflected in every corner of TLS.