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Hanmer Springs Area Guide

Looking over the Waiau river entering the Gorge
below the Hanmer Plain. Winter - ©
The spa resort of Hanmer Springs, 135 kilometres north west of Christchurch, is a favourite weekend getaway for Christchurch residents. The alpine village (population around 1,000) is situated in a high country basin 385 metres above sea level. The main attraction for visitors is the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve, which has a range of outdoor mineral pools, including four rock pools connected with thermal streams, hot sulphur pools with temperatures of between 40 and 42 degrees celsius, and private indoor pools. The hot pools are worth a visit at any time of year, but are particularly attractive in the winter, when the village can be blanketed in snow.

The Hanmer Forest, consisting mainly of plantation trees such as black pine, Norway spruce and Douglas fir, is a lovely place for walking or mountain biking in any season. The gentle one hour forest walk, which begins at Jollies Pass Road and leads through conifer, sycamore, oak and silver birch trees, is beautiful in autumn, or trek up to the top of Conical Hill at any time of the year for good views of the surrounds.

For the more adventurous, Thrillseekers Canyon Adventure Centre, based at the historic Waiau Ferry Bridge, offers jet boat and raft trips up the Waiau River, or bungy jumping off a 35-metre high platform on the bridge.