For our second mini-break, we headed north and inland to the picturesque alpine town of Hanmer Springs. About a two hour drive from Christchurch, along the coastline and after stopping off to admire the mountainous views several times we reached our cabin room at a cosy holiday park. This efficient accommodation was perfect for our one night stay, with shared facilities but a lovely comfortable room with all you could need, but we weren’t in there for long as Hanmer Springs is truly a place to embrace the outdoors.
We went for an evening stroll to explore what was around the main street, and it’s quite clearly a place designed for tourism as aside from bars, restaurants, and souvenir shops there’s not much else! In such a peaceful, quiet town it’s hard not to feel yourself completely relax and soak up the fresh air and beautiful views, and after we eventually picked one of the many restaurants to grab a bite, we were making our way back for an early night in.
A beautiful bright morning and we were off to enjoy the main attraction of the town: Hamer Springs Thermal Pools. The pools were created in order to harness natural thermal spring waters which are rich in minerals due to the journey the water makes over many years as snow and rain coming down the mountains, to eventually reach an underground reservoir heated by the earth. This water is then extracted and used in the various pools around the park, and has now become an extremely popular tourist attraction for millions of people, bringing a huge amount of recognition and revenue for the Hurunui District.
We arrived at the pools not long after they opened, and to our surprise there was barely a queue so even at busy weekend times such as this we realised you don’t need to feel pressured to get up at the crack of dawn in order to make full use of the day, thank goodness! Once inside, all we had to do was decide which pool to aim for first. There’s a varied selection of pools with a choice of temperatures, minerals, and bubbles!
We started off with a relaxing hot pool to acclimatise to the temperatures, and after dragging ourselves away went on to explore the other options. Alongside the hot pools are swimming lanes, a lazy river, and even waterslides to entertain children and all the big kids who fancy a little thrill in between relaxation sessions (ahem, mentioning no names!). We tried out all the pools, and by far my favourite is the aqua therapy pools, where you have the soothing heat and knowledge that the minerals are doing their thing, with the addition of water jets providing a gentle massage to help you sink even further into relaxation heaven. It was hard to pull ourselves away from the comforting warm waters, however we knew it was time to get dry, rehydrate and de-prune from stewing in all that water! Another beautiful drive home meant we had the chance to stop off at Leithfield Beach for a dramatic walk along the sands, and before we knew it we were home and dry after a perfect night away from everyday life.
Windy Leithfield Beach
If indulgent relaxation is what you’re after, Hanmer Springs will certainly have you covered. And if you’re looking for something a little more adrenalin filled, there’s plenty of lively activities too! We didn’t explore all the activities on offer, from hiking and biking to jet boats and bungy-jumping Hanmer Springs has every activity you could imagine. Our visit to the Thermal Pools are but a sample of the spa options available to try out, however it’s also easy to simply enjoy your time in Hamer quite literally soaking it all up if you just fancy a day of chilling out. All in all, it’s the perfect little getaway town that really does have something for everyone.