Hanmer Springs is a lovely small village with all the facilities, set in an alpine environment on the edge of the Southern Alps. The geothermal nature of the area have provided the beautiful Thermal Springs Reserve in which to relax. This thermal complex is second to none other in New Zealand. See Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa website to find out more.
The village is located at an altitude of approximately 400 metres (1300 feet). This provides a crisp clear climate, with snow falling on several occasions. The combination of the colder climate and the hot pools (normally 25-42C or 77-108F) is both invigorating and relaxing. The really lucky ones get to soak in the hot pools when it is snowing (for which there is no extra charge).
Located in the Hurunui District less than 90 minutes motoring north of Christchurch, Hanmer Springs sits under the towering mountains which form the backbone of the South Island. No matter what the season, there is a range of activities available catering for all tastes. Check out what other activities can be done within the Hurunui District on the Visit Hurunui Website.
Hanmer's winters are cold and snow falls regularly. There are times when the land is covered with snow as far as the eye can see. In summer it can be as hot as many other parts of New Zealand. Frequently in summer Hanmer Springs achieves the nation's highest temperature for the day. The autumn show time, of golden and rust covered tree leaves, is second to none.
The thermal pools, for which Hanmer Springs is so well renowned for, were discovered in 1859. However it was to be 20 years later an unpaved cart way enabled the public to get access to them. When the Queen Mary Hospital was built the pools became a central part of many patients' rehabilitation programmes.
Experimental forestry was carried out from the turn of the twentieth century in the area. Many species of trees can be viewed in forestry walks close to the township. Until recent times the hillsides were mainly covered in forest. Many of the trees have now been harvested.
Numerous competitive events, shows, performing arts and markets draw large crowds of participants and spectators to the village, therefore accommodation can be in high demand during these times, as well as during public and school holiday periods. Hanmer Springs is rather unique because the large majority of the homes in the village are holiday homes available to rent. The local population of the village fluctuates between 700 and 800 yet during weekends there can be as many as 5,000 people in the village at any given time.
If you like adventure, you could try bungy jumping off the Waiau Bridge or jet boating up the river. You might prefer to take a quad bike tour around some of the picturesque country terrain. For others, trail riding on a well trained horse could also provide some excitement.
A farmland tour to a high country station would be an enlightening experience for many people. Others may prefer an eco and nature tour. For the sophisticated, a wine trail could make for a pleasant afternoon outing.
For the ski buffs there is the Amuri ski field close by. The golfers have a beautiful 18 hole course to play which is only five minutes walk from the centre of town. For the fit and adventurous, there are mountain bikes and motors scooters to zap around on. The four wheel drive brigade has plenty of territory to explore.
Over the hills at the back of Hanmer Springs, large river flats open out and the Clarence River twists and turns its way to the sea at Clarence Bridge, 40 kilometres north of Kaikoura. Rafting and canoe trips can be organised for those who enjoy adventurous water sports. This area is great cycling, tramping and four wheel driving territory. To the north are the Molesworth, St James and Rainbow Stations. The track terminates close to Lake Rotoiti. A 100 kilometre drive eastwards links the intrepid travellers to Blenheim. The other option is an eastward trail that terminates quite close to Seddon in the Marlborough province.
There are rivers to fish and places to hunt within an hours travelling from the township. If you enjoy walking, the forestry tracks will keep you amused for days. Serious trampers have plenty of places to go as well. Some tracks start quite close to the village. The local Information Centre has plenty of maps of the area to assist with your plans.
Over the last few years, Hanmer Springs has come of age. There is a large range of very good restaurants and cafes, a few taverns to enjoy a social drink in and the clothing and variety shops can keep the shop-a-holic occupied for a considerable time.
When the crowds have gone back to the smoky city and life is only interrupted by a few tourist buses and a host of campervans, the idyllic Hanmer Springs really shines. There is no rush, bustle and clock watching. Times becomes irrelevant and the true pleasure of a relaxed lifestyle begins.
If you crave a generally quite environment, clean air, therapeutic hot pools and spa and as many or few distractions as you wish to keep you happy and fulfilled, Hanmer Springs is the holiday destination for you.