Steaming up in the Mackenzie – Hot Tubs Omarama
as featured on Cambell Live, TV3, Wednesday 17th June
Since opening in March 2009, Oamarama Hot Tubs has been celebrated by locals and tourists as a real High Country oasis of relaxation.
Located on the north-western side of Omarama on the Twizel/ Omarama Rd, SH 8 (opposite the Wrinkly Rams Café), Omarama Hot Tubs is the inspired creation of Jan and Lance Thomas. The Thomas’s have been working for over 4 years to establish their High Country NZ Onsen facility. Passion, determination and the support of friends and family have enabled Lance and Jan to create a stunning, chemical-free, environmentally conscious hot tub complex, unique among its kind in the New Zealand.
The Thomas’s started from scratch with nothing but the land, which they had owned for fourteen years. A friend of theirs, Berend Folkerts of Lingnum Hot Tubs, built his first two hot tubs in 2004 and Lance and Jan had one of these at their home in Timaru. They fell in love with the hot tub experience. Jan also traveled in Japan and cultivated a real enthusiasm for Japanese Onsen. The idea of establishing a hot tub facility on their land in Omarama was born.
Onsen has been a central feature of Japanese society for centuries, with numerous Onsen facilities out in the countryside and also in major cities. The virtues of immersing in fresh mountain water and the relaxing atmosphere of Onsen are integral to Japanese culture, providing a foil to the hectic pace of modern life.
Hot Tubs Omarama brings the relaxing delights of Japanese Onsen to the MacKenzie Country with a facility that combines the fresh mountain water experience with the atmosphere of the uniquely beautiful Mackenzie basin.
From idea to realization, the building of Oamarama Hot Tubs has been a near Herculean achievement. It took nine years for the Thomas’s to get one consent from ECAN for a one-hectare pond that was simply to take water from the Omarama stream and discharge back into the Omarama stream. Lance and Jan have navigated their way through the difficulties with determination and long hours of work.
Together with a tangle of 14 resource consents in total and the onset of the recession, the development of the facility has involved some hard physical labour. A small group of dedicated friends and family landscaped and planted grasses, moved mountains of rocks, dug trenches, laid cable and carried buckets of sand to protect all the pipe work underground. Lance and Jan lived in a tent down by the river for a couple of months whilst the reception building and accommodation was built.
“We gradually built a team of trades people and professionals around us who had the skills we didn’t, and who liked the idea and believed in what we were trying to achieve”, says Jan.
“Amazing things can happen when you have the right people around you at the right time, people who believe in what you are doing and stand in the gap when you just don’t have anything left.”
The landscaping has drawn admiring comments from visitors as it echoes the surrounding mountains and rocky landscapes for which the area is renowned.
Omarama Hot Tubs has been meticulously designed, creating a healthy spa facility that focuses on the environment in more than one way.
Each hot tub has its own private outdoor setting, with individual changing room and shower. Individual tubs are secluded from each other with landscaped mounds and plantings of native flora. Privacy provides groups, couples or individuals the opportunity to truly relax. The tubs themselves are work of wonderful craftsmanship built from Canadian western red cedar. Each tub has an interior seat. The water temperature can be adjusted, hotter or cooler, as desired.
The outdoor complex consists of eight private tubs, including a wheelchair accessible tub, two private ‘wellness pods’ with their own saunas and a public sauna and dip pool, which cater for up to 12 people. Each tub is emptied, cleaned and refilled with fresh water after each group or person has used it. The used water is then pumped through a heat exchanger and used for irrigation, supporting a sustainable environment.
Special care has been taken with energy saving lighting, which creates a soft atmosphere that does not pollute the night sky. In this area, which is renowned for the clearest skies in the country, Omarama Hot Tubs is the perfect place to lie back in rejuvenating heated water of a tub as you enjoy the Milky Way, glittering overhead: perfect for stargazers and romantics alike.
The Maori name for Omarama, Te Aomarama means place of light.
A Pampering Palace, comprising of a therapeutic massage and beauty therapy pod, is in the final stages of development and will enhance the holistic experience that the facility offers.
You will never be closer to the beauty and uniqueness of the MacKenzie Country as when you are immersed in the chemical free mountain water of your hot tub. In Summer or Winter, by day or by night, Omarama Hot Tubs provides the opportunity to immerse and soak in the views of this iconic landscape.