Waiwera has been famous since 1848 for the therapeutic and curative properties of the water and became recognised as the first Spa in the Southern Hemisphere in 1863.
People travelled from around the world to “take the waters” at Waiwera, bathing in and drinking the naturally hot mineral water which bubbled out of the ground at a constant temperature of 52 degrees celsius. The special healing powers of Waiwera Water came to be known far and wide, attracting a large international audience.
People travelled to the resort by horse or steamer in the early days, disembarking at a man-made jetty located on Waiwera Beach. Many guests staying at the hotel originally built by Robert Graham, were so amazed at the results they enjoyed after taking the waters at Waiwera that they were moved to write testimonial letters, such as these that follow far below.
Waiwera’s natural mineral water, originally called Te Rata meaning The Doctor, is sourced from a geothermal aquifer located 1500 meters below the resort. This means every pool is 100% naturally hot!
Independent carbon dating by the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences estimates Waiwera water to be between 10,000 and 15,600 years old. Making it the oldest water in the world!
Waiwera Artesian Water is still bottled at the source over 140 years later! Our water is New Zealand made and our famous glass bottle design is based on the original glass bottle design from 1875. Our new bottle has won several prestigious awards notably for its bottle design in 2006 voted "World's Best Glass Bottle" in Milan, Italy. Furthermore our water was voted “World's Best Water” in a blind taste test by International wine magazine, Decanter, London, UK in 2008.
Well over a hundred and fifty years later the offering is vastly different but Waiwera Thermal Resort continues to enchant, enthrall and revive all those that visit this special place.
16 January 1875
The Honorable Samuel D. Hastings of Wisconsin, USA, having recently visited the Waiwera (Hot Springs) gives the following opinion of them;
“I have visited baths of various kinds in Europe, America and Australia but have never found any more enjoyable than the hot baths of Waiwera. These baths are admirably arranged, the temperature of the water is most agreeable, and the effect is most invigorating. I went to the hot springs exhausted by the incessant labour of twelve months’ constant travel through the colonies, speaking almost every evening, and I leave after a few days’ experience of the baths, having gained more in health than I ever gained before in the same length of time. If the hard worked literary and professional men, merchants, and others of Auckland, and the other cities of New Zealand, knew the benefit they could derive from a short stay at the Waiwera (Hot Springs), I am sure the hotel would soon be too small to accommodate those who would seek the advantages to be secured from the use of the baths there to be found.”
Samuel D. Hastings
25th February 1875
Having suffered from rheumatism for some time past, on the recommendation of my medical adviser, Dr Turnbull of Christchurch, I visited your hot springs. After three weeks bathing, and drinking mineral water, I am restored to perfect health. In fact, I have not felt so well for years as I am at present. The trip altogether has been a most enjoyable one. I found the hotel comfortable, excellent table, attendance good, civil and obliging, pleasant for the invalid seeking health, or the man of business requiring relaxation. I know of no place in New Zealand where a person could pass a few weeks more agreeably than at your hot springs.
10th December, 1875
I beg to record my sense of great benefit to my health by a short residence at your hot springs. I came here ten days ago suffering from asthma – the result of a severe attack of congestion of the lungs but from taking a hot bath daily, followed by a cold shower bath, and copious drinking of the water, the asthma is gone, and my breathing becomes free and regular.
10th December, 1875
Before I take my leave of Waiwera, allow me to testify to the benefits I have received from the use of the hot baths on your estate. I came here a fortnight ago almost prostrate and helpless and required assistance in gaining both the steamer in Auckland and the shore and hotel here. My weakness has been the effects of a severe attack of typhoid fever which lasted for eleven weeks. On recovery my doctors advised me to recruit my system by a residence at the hot springs. I now find myself thoroughly recovered thanks to the virtue of the mineral waters and the purity of the atmosphere.