Just an hour-and-a-half north of Christchurch youll find the natural playground of Hanmer Springs. The area is most famous for its springs – a series of open-air thermal pools that have attracted visitors for around 125 years due to the health benefits associated with their natural mineral waters and clean alpine air. The springs have a fully equipped spa complex attached and it's possible to relax and rejuvenate with the most modern treatments. The area offers numerous accommodation options, from the simple to the luxurious, and there’s certainly enough to keep you occupied for any number of days.
The Maori knew of the springs long before European colonisation, and their name for the springs means ‘the falling of the embers of the fire of Tamatea’ which relates to the story of Tamatea beseeching the gods of Tongariro and Ngauruhoe to save his party from freezing; some of the embers the gods sent fell in the area on Hanmer Springs. The springs weren’t discovered by Europeans until 1859, but it was another 20 years before an iron bathing shed was erected at the site and a manager appointed. Recreational bathing has always played a part, but other activities, such as the recuperation of the soldiers returning from war and relief for the arthritic and disabled, have had a major role in its history.
With around 40 kilometres of biking tracks, 56 kilometres of bush walks, fishing, golf, skiing, jet-boating, horse-trekking, wineries and more, will immerse you in the wild beauty of Hanmer. Go forest-hiking, mountain-biking, horse-trekking, bungy jumping, jet boating or, in winter, hit the slopes and go skiing. Once you've caught your breath, you might enjoy a leisurely round of golf.
The Infinity Experience
Hanmer Springs TownShutterstock
Hills Near Hanmer SpringsShutterstock
Content & assistance provided by Tourism New Zealand.