Like many, post lockdown, I was keen to take some control of my future. Franz Josef has been my home for the past 15 years, where I have loved operating the Bella Vista Motel, working with my business partners at SnakeBite Brewery and contributing to the small community.
About 10 years ago the Hot Pools at Franz Josef opened. A soak in the pools had become as important to visitors as a walk to the glacier. However, it looked like they were not going to reopen after lockdown, and as a village, we were missing them.
I love soaking in hot pools, however a chlorine intolerance has always prevented me from enjoying public pools. The simplicity of the freshwater, wood-fired hot tub experience successfully operating at Omarama excited me. I saw an opportunity to do something positive for my community, keep my staff employed and provide a luxurious experience to visitors of our area.
After looking at many sites I settled on a gravel pad at the Orange Sheep Campervan Park. The central site was ideal, with bathrooms, an office and surrounding rainforest.
A strike of luck was acquiring some beautiful plants from a local property developer, who needed to clear bush off a road reserve. Over six weeks Mike and Dave, from Franz Hire, along with Peggy and myself worked away at transforming the site into what it is today.