Hanmer Springs. Village in New Zealand, Oceania

Hanmer Springs

Village in New Zealand, Oceania

Hanmer Springs Photo © media.newzealand.com

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Hanmer Springs

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Just a 90-minute drive from the South Island’s biggest city of Christchurch, Hanmer Springs makes for a gorgeous weekend escape for relaxing or adventure. With its famous thermal hot springs, as well as snow sports and other adventure sports, treat yourself to a break in this alpine village in North Canterbury.


The town is named after Thomas Hanmer, an owner of Hawkeswood Station near the Conway River (New Zealand) (Wikipedia Article) during the 1850s.

The town was built around a popular hot spring, discovered in the late 19th century. The hot springs were produced by the fractured rock bed along the Hanmer Fault.

Thermal Pools

Without a doubt, the most popular tourist attraction in town is the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. Soak in naturally heated, mineral-filled waters, or treat yourself to a range of indulgent spa therapies.

The pools include a range of natural sulphur pools, through to a kids’ activity pool, a lazy river, garden picnic areas, and a café. You can also book private pools, or spend some time in the sauna and steam rooms.

Next to the pools you’ll notice The Spa, a luxurious health and beauty retreat that offers everything from waxing to massage and facials. Treatments are popular, so book ahead.

The pools are family-friendly, and also include hydroslides and an aquatic thrill ride: the Super Bowl.

The pools are open 7 days (except Christmas Day) from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Prices start from $ 22 USD for adults, $ 11 USD for children over 3 years, and $ 55 USD for families.

Other Activities

Whether adventure tourism is your thing, or other outdoor activities like mountain biking or bush walking, you will find something to enjoy in the beautiful outdoors surrounding Hanmer.

For the adrenaline-filled activities, check out Thrillseekers Adventures on Hanmer Springs Road. They are open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and offer jet boating, bungy jumping, rafting, quad biking, clay bird shooting, and paintball.

Explore the New Zealand High Country of the Hanmer Forest Park up close. Hanmer Springs is a great place for mountain biking, with excellent tracks available for all levels of expertise and fitness. Take a gentle ride in the Hanmer Forest Park among mature trees – a perfect way to get into the Hanmer landscape for a short time. Your bike can take you around the village, up into the mountains or along one of the many forest tracks.

If horse riding piques your interest, local landowners have granted Mt Lyford Horse Treks access to thousands of acres in the area for horse trekking. Trails are of varying length, difficulty, and scenery. The trail length begins with one-hour rides.

There are two ski fields in the Hanmer Springs area: the Hanmer Springs Ski Area and Mount Lyford. The Hanmer Springs Ski Area offers groomed runs, perfect for both beginner and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Accommodation is also available on the ski field.

If your budget and sense of adventure are large, check out Hanmer Springs Helicopters for a tour of the region with a difference. You have the choice of four tour options, or feel free to choose your own adventure and customize a trip of your choice.

If you fancy a round of golf with a view, the Hanmer Springs Golf Club is a premier golfing destination. Established in 1911, the club offers an 18-hole golf course, set against a beautiful mountain backdrop, at 385m above sea level.

The village also offers a range of boutiques for shopping. Check out the cute clothing and footwear stores, or pick up some beautiful souvenirs and pieces to take home in the galleries and gift shops.


Despite its petite size, Hanmer Springs offers good food, great coffee, boutique beers and a section of local wines.

The village has a variety of cafés and restaurants, from delicious pizza to quality bar meals, where you can relax and enjoy a delicious craft beer while you dine.

The village also has several high-end restaurants, which make the most of the incredible local produce from the region.

Or if you’re exhausted after a day of skiing or just relaxing in the pools, check out the local takeaway shops!

Getting There

Hanmer Springs is only accessible by road, and the nearest airport is Christchurch International Airport (Wikipedia Article). Driving north from Christchurch, follow State Highway 1, and then State Highway 7. The town lies on a minor road 9 kilometers north of State Highway 7, and the turn off is clearly marked.

Two daily shuttle bus companies travel from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch, and return.

During summer months, gravel roads through the Rainbow Valley to St Arnaud and the Nelson Lakes National Park (Wikipedia Article), and through the Molesworth Station to Blenheim, Picton, and the Marlborough region. This road is frequented by travellers, four-wheel drivers, and guided tour groups.

Once in town, a Visitor Information Center is located next to the hot springs. The center is a good source of information about the area, and also provides booking facilities for transport.

Hikers can obtain weather information, maps and guidance from the Department of Conservation.

Where to Stay

Hanmer Springs offers a wide range of accommodation. From 5-star luxury through to a new Youth Hostel, you will find a place to suit your tastes and budget.

Check out http://visithanmersprings.co.nz/ accommodation for a full range of options.

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Author: Amanda. Last updated: Apr 17, 2015


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