The Secret Sauna

Stay and explore key icon. Wellbeing key icon.
Stay and explore key icon. Wellbeing key icon.

1208 Makarora-Lake Hawea Road Lake Hāwea, Wānaka

Picture this: an off-grid, wood-fired sauna sits peacefully on the shore of a glacial lake, smoke softly puffing out of the chimney while through the generous window, a dramatic mountain range rises from the far side of the crystal-clear waters. You can stop pinching yourself; this place exists. The Secret Sauna in Hāwea is a secret that you won’t be able to keep – your rejuvenated grin will give it away.

As a child, founder Nat Van Halle loved the novel The Secret Garden, the idea of having a special place where magic happened. After studying plants in the Amazon and training in energy healing and Reiki (a Japanese technique of energy work), Nat moved to Lake Hāwea to expand her knowledge of Aotearoa’s native plants and their medicinal properties. The Secret Sauna is the solution to her desire to create a healing place for others.

Tranquillity to a tee, this is the place to go to relax, unwind, destress and detoxify. All whilst taking in one of Otago’s characteristic, incredible vista combos – a great lake and jagged horizon under a big, open sky. Speaking of the lake on its doorstep, it’s suggested that for the whole experience – and most restorative results – after 15 minutes in the sauna, you duck outside and go for a plunge. Seriously (refreshing). Sauna sessions last for one hour, so there’s plenty of time to warm your bones back up after a cold dip or three. The choice is yours!

The sauna can be booked for a private session of up to eight people, or you can opt for a shared slot, and there are occasional women- and men-only nights. There’s a heated lounge tent a few steps away, which you’re welcome to hang out in before and after your sauna time. The lounge is also heated by a wood fire – the entire facility is off-grid – and it’s the perfect place to wind down after your sauna with a complimentary herbal tea foraged from local plants.

Let the power of nature heat (and cool) you at The Secret Sauna, whose unbeatable location and special blend of essential oils are only part of the magic. The rest you’ll have to discover for yourself.

Words by Izzie Thompson & Photography by Anna Briggs

Information not correct? Report an error


1208 Makarora-Lake Hawea Road Lake Hāwea, Wānaka

Nearby Places

Hāwea Hotel

Inside the restaurant where people are dining and looking out the windows over the lake.
Place Wānaka
Accommodation key icon. Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

How do you like the idea of enjoying your morning coffee from a private balcony, with uninterrupted views of mountains encircling one of the country’s largest lakes?

Hāwea Store & Kitchen

A fireplace and tables and chairs.
Place Wānaka
Goods key icon. Restaurants key icon.

A community hub that combines a grocer, café, restaurant and bar overlooking the lake.

The Camp

A small cabin nestled in bushes.
Place Wānaka
Accommodation key icon. Stay and explore key icon.

Aotearoa, land of the great outdoors, is unsurprisingly a land of a long list of incredibly scenic sites to spend a night, too.

Similar Places

Bike Glendhu

Cycling over grass at sunset.
Place Wānaka
Stay and explore key icon.

Biking in a naturally beautiful setting.

Cardrona Hotel

Historic cream and maroon weatherboard frontage of Cardrona Hotel with a vintage cream 1968 Chrysler Model 62 parked in front.
Place Wānaka Editor's Pick
Accommodation key icon. Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Rumoured to be the most photographed building in the country, Cardrona Hotel was built in 1863 first and foremost as a place to stay for hardworking gold miners.

General Service

A group of three people sitting around a table working.
Place Wānaka
Cafes key icon. Services key icon.

Tucked down an alleyway in the heart of Wānaka is a place where the inhabitants look forward to coming to work each day.

Wānaka Lavender Farm

A purple tractor parked in between rows of purple lavender at Wānaka Lavender Farm.
Place Wānaka
Cafes key icon.

This is not your typical working farm.