We sometimes see them on television or in the movies, but until very recently, we hadn’t seen any in New Zealand. Well, we have now; a large, thermally heated lagoon style pool with a swim-up bar and café, swim-in grotto cave and a giant outdoor movie screen. It is Lake Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Resort’s latest iconic feature that offers year around use and value to the resort, creating a destination within the destination.
Managed by (and named after) Lloyd and Trish Lusty, and partnering with Eco Springs, the pool was built utilising an Italian patented resin, overseen by Italian suppliers, as this product had never been used in the Southern Hemisphere.
The pool measures 790m2 making it the largest privately held pool in New Zealand. Holding more than one million litres of water, the pool is filtered every 2.5 hours through 10 filters, each containing 1.5 tonne of media. The hydroxinators produce magnesium chloride which is softer and better for swimmers’ skin than chlorine. The pool is thermally heated up to 35oC year around, much appreciated by guests, especially on the cold winter days that Taupo is known for.
Even before construction started on June 15, Lake Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Resort had a great deal going for it. Lloyd and Trish Lusty and family, previously from a sheep and beef farming background, have been the owner-operators since February 1996. They haven’t stopped making improvements since the day they took over.
“We both wanted it to become the best holiday park in New Zealand,” said Trish Lusty. “That meant growing significantly greater underground infrastructure for the business to expand.
“Our first step was clearing the land of over 500 fully grown pine trees, which we donated to locals, Kiwanis and Rotary for fundraising. Now with reticulated gas, fibre, bigger capacity power cables, and larger water and sewer mains, our plans are as far reaching now as they were 20 years ago, but we can now start to expand at a greater pace to see a greater return on investment and net profit.
“This was never going to be a Ma and Pa business. We now have 30 full time and part time staff, and plans to greatly expand the accommodation side of the business – and the quality,” she said.
The resort has had a 5-star Qualmark rating for more than 10 years. It is an award-winning, modern and spacious holiday resort with superb facilities, in a large, tranquil garden setting – an excellent base for exploring the beautiful and versatile Lake Taupo area.
Guest facilities include BBQ areas where guests can cook meals using gas BBQs at no cost. There is plenty of space in the 7.49 hectares for children to safely roam, be active and play with their family and friends, and there are several entertainment facilities for the young and young at heart, including: jumping pillows, two tennis courts, petanque, volleyball, games rooms, an adventure playground and trampolines.
Wifi is available throughout the entire resort and for those needing snacks or general goods, an on-site shop means there is no need to leave the resort. For those guests who like a day out on the water, they can leave their boat securely at the resort, then clean up their catch at the park’s designated fishing station.
Nevertheless, it is the pool that is surely now the highlight for those who come to stay. Lusty’s Lagoon sets new standards in New Zealand and internationally with New Zealand’s first swim-up bar and café.
“In 2014 we both decided we had to be proactive and not just wait for the economy to improve – we had to continue and create something that was great for our business and hopefully Taupo,” said Mrs Lusty. “It had to be the first in New Zealand in as many ways as possible, have something for all ages to enjoy and make guests want to travel to us to come and experience something special.”
The couple began planning in 2014 with trips to Australia and China – and then consulting with Paul Thompson from Eco Springs NZ.
“Paul travelled to Italy to inspect first hand Bio Design pools with their patented pool construction process and design,” said Mr Lusty. “After Paul’s feedback and photos, in March 2015 we made the decision to start construction, signing contracts with Eco Springs, Bio Designs’ New Zealand agent.”
“From day one we knew there would be a swim-up bar, a free formed pool that even elderly and young people could walk into”, said Mr Lusty. “A spa area and the outdoor LED 4×3 metre screen was there from day one. We also wanted a swim in cave/grotto which proved to be the most challenging part of the whole build – not because of the depth at four metres but the time in construction and materials.”
World class result
The entire project ran for 19 months with the construction of the pool itself taking 14 months.
“The whole concept took far longer than anyone could have imagined, with consents, weather, materials and this being the first pool of its kind in New Zealand,” Mr Lusty said. “The owner and men from Eco Springs worked tirelessly and were fastidious in the build of the pool, and it was a challenging project in aspect and size. Very little was changed from the concept to finishing.
“Everybody concerned breathed a sigh of relief when it was completed, but is it something to behold, absolutely fantastic and a credit to Eco Springs and their commitment and follow-up now. The pool was constructed to the highest quality and standards following our motto: “If we are going to do it, let’s do it right.”
The result is a world class lagoon style pool, coupled with the convenience of food and beverage.
“The huge LED movie screen is extremely popular for anything from rugby and sport screenings to children’s movies enabling themed events,” said Mr Lusty. “The screen can be watched from the swim-up bar, most of the lagoon pool and even from the old pool which has been incorporated into the new complex. The hot spa area (40oC) overflowing into the old pool is the preferred watching location, especially on colder nights. The new pool has been constantly monitored and with a second heat exchanger now installed, is at constant 35.
“The sheer size of Lusty’s Lagoon and the rolling shore line caters for family fun, secluded relaxation, swimming, diving, exploring, a cold drink, sun bathing, lounging, talking, meeting other friendly travellers, laughing……whatever makes our guest’s happy,” he said. “The fully licensed bar includes a range of cocktails and mocktails and is proving to be very popular among guests.
“Sales and comments have been extremely encouraging, with higher sales than we predicted. We are now adding in two tap beers and a 10×10 marquee for conference groups and guests before Christmas,” Mr Lusty said.
The significance of the pool as cornerstone for the future of New Zealand tourism was seen by the attendance of numerous industry representatives in June with Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key officially opening Lusty’s Lagoon. Other attendees included Honourable Louise Upston, Member of Parliament for Taupo; David Trewavas, Taupo Mayor; Fergus Brown, CEO of Holiday Parks Association; David Ovendale, CEO of TOP 10 Holiday Parks; and many other park owners, industry members and local business leaders.
Trish and Lloyd Lusty have no doubts that their considerable planning and effort has proved well worthwhile.
In Lloyd Lusty’s words: “It is now much it is more of a resort with a lot more to do. The guests are blown away with the facilities we offer and have returned three to four times in one year when normally they would only come once or twice. It’s extended our shoulder and off-peak seasons, even in the wet weeks, while our forward bookings are continuing to improve.”