The Secret Sauna

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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

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Location

1208 Makarora-Lake Hawea Road Lake Hāwea, Wānaka

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