You know you are in seriously hot water when people around you make relaxed sighs like AAAAH! And OH THAT'S GOOD!
Taupo Hot Springs Spa has that effect. The natural thermal springs next to DeBretts Thermal Resort off the Napier Highway at diverse Taupo pulled us from our motorhome like a magnet.
Peak season supply and demand pressures had left us with a battered Mitsubishi Canter-based hire motorhome as our touring chariot.
The Canter is definitely a truck and after days of rock hard riding on the road between Auckland, via Raglan and Cambridge we Three Amigos lobbed at DeBretts.
To cut to the chase we felt (and probably looked) like the oldest backpackers New Zealand had seen. But we did not frighten the DeBretts staff too much and they took us in anyway.
Art from local Maori gives private pools a special touch
Good news comes by word of mouth among travellers and DeBretts sounded like good news when we got the word days before when stopped overnight at Miranda.
So when the jolting, Cantering diesel stopped on a spacious, level, hedge-lined site at DeBretts we started towards white feathers of steam rising from the springs determined to get into hot water. Result - AAAAH! Muscles melt down and aches disappear from battered body parts.
There are indoor an outdoor pools and spa. This is a natural warm water high which fits everyone regardless of age or physical abilities.
There is a cascading enclosure with bubbling pipes pouring a fire-hose deluge over capering children. The view from the top of the towering Dragon waterslide is like looking into a social statement, families, couples, singles, young, older, soak up the hot springs feel-good.
Hot water equals relaxation Taupo
The private spa section has Maori carvings, spouting relaxation. They are the real deal according to our DeBretts host Tim Kelly and at night as floodlights catch their highlights it does not take any imagination to take his point.
Managing the hot springs is a full-on operation. The initial thermal blast is far too hot for human hides so its cooled to temperatures which start at about 27deg. Move around the pools and its temperature changes to taste up to levels which require a certain Asian disciple to endure with pleasure as they spout and cascade hotter water.
The complex is immaculate and each night the pools are drained and refilled. Staff like Judy and Merv in easily spotted red and gold gear keep an eye on everything.
Judy and Merv keep the thermal pools bubbling
They are a mine of info on hot pools and New Zealand. Merv started 13 years ago. His wife Judy counts nine years around hot water.
If the mood moves you massage and body treatments are on the can do list.
Much later when we returned to our 'backpackers' motorhome we spent time with Tim Kelly getting to know DeBretts Thermal Resort.
New Zealand sets the pace in Australasia with its camp cooking and lounge area facilities and DeBretts Camp Kitchen shines like a chef's pride withscrubbed benches and plenty of space.
One look and any ideas of cooking in the confines of our plodding Canter were dropped. There is also TV lounge, email and internet facilities, kids play area, laundry, and a barbecue area in polished style.
The camp lounge DeBretts Taupo
The barbecue got the nod from our own Lord of the Tongs, which really says something.
We found our way to the cafe andenjoyed excellent coffee and generous cooked breakfasts next morning. The cafe runs to log fires in winter and the view of Lake Taupo with Mts Tongariro, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe spiking the skyline makes a great start to the day.
There is a licensed restuarant and bar at the adjacent historial hotel.
DeBretts is on the move with motel units and their development as a self-catering alternative for people on the move.
They are self-contained and well presented with modernfit-out and a light, clean touch in the design. Parking is at the door.