During the week my partner and I decided to become Day Trippers (altogether now, ‘she was a day tripper’) and visit the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.
The day turned out fine and sunny in stark contrast to the previous day of rain and cold.
Our first stop was The Gebbies Garden Café to buy two coffees, a delicious coffee in a wonderful location surrounded by green hills. Its on the way from Christchurch to Akaroa and well worth a stop.
We then drove through Tai Tapu, Hornby, Kaiapoi, Woodend, Waikuku, Leithfield, Amberley, Waikari and Culverdon.
I recommend stopping at Amberley as you can learn about the history of the town and surrounding towns by reading twenty one information boards along a two hundred metre stretch of the main footpath. The boards are located near Cob Cottage.
We have completed the Weka Pass Walkway in the past to view the Maori rock drawings but the walking time is between two to three hours so we did not have time to do this today.
We both love the hot pools but whilst my partner sits in his favourite hot pool (42 degrees) and soaks up the atmosphere for the entire visit I alternate between the freshwater, length pool and the hot pool. I can only sit in the hot pool for a certain amount of time before I feel too hot and get itchy feet. It is the perfect spot to both relax and get some exercise.
The freshwater pool (for those of you that do not know) is in a wonderful outdoor setting surrounded by tall, majestic trees which are particularly attractive in the autumn. It is described as:
The resort style beach access makes the freshwater pool easily accessible and its waters are a comfortable 28 degrees Celsius. Surrounded by sun loungers, there are plenty of places to relax and enjoy the action.
For a cold water freak like me the water temperature of 28 degrees is so important, I do not enjoy swimming in really cold water, never have, never will. I normally go into a hot pool first then walk to the freshwater pool, my body temperature cools down between pools (particularly if there is a chill wind) and I then find 28 degrees warm! I also jump straight into the pool as I find this helps.
The other important thing for all the swimmers out there is that one lane is roped off specifically for swimmers although sadly not in the school holidays.
I normally swim for twenty lengths, return to the hot pool then swim another twenty lengths. I tell myself this counts as High-Intensity-Interval-Training (HIIT).
The atmosphere is fantastic – the outdoor setting, the beautiful trees, the feel of the water, the craziness of a small group of overseas tourists who stand in the roped off lane even though they are not swimming, taking photos with their mobiles on selfie sticks!
Teenagers in the main pool sitting on each other shoulders having competitions about who knocks who into the water first. Young children who dive from the side in the deep end again and again and again. People on sun loungers at the side of the pool either sleeping or reading a book, people unloading their chilly bins to enjoy their lunch. All the sounds and sights of people enjoying themselves.
After the Thermal Pools we completed the forty minute loop walk along Lower Dog Stream Track. It was a beautiful walk amongst the trees and woodland.
There are many walks in Hanmer Springs both long and short. There are also various mountain bike tracks but we had not brought our bicycles on this occasion.
If you do not like walking the alternative is to stroll through Hanmer Springs Village to take in the various shops, pubs, restaurants, etc. There is also a crazy golf course in the main street.
We then treated ourselves to a distinctly Unketolike meal of fish and chips from Captain Mikes. We felt we had to do this as we are originally from good old Blighty! Being from good old Blighty we had taken a bottle of vinegar and a shaker of salt with us in our bag as you can never had enough salt and vinegar on your chips! On the plus side we also took our water bottles with us.
The drive to and back from Hanmer Spring is beautiful – snowcapped mountains, green hills, the braided Hanmer Springs River. We had a wonderful day trip with some relaxation, some exercise (swimming and walking) and very importantly, fish and chips!
12th September 2018 – A Weekend In Hanmer Springs
A fantastic week with two seasons within two days. We arrive late Friday afternoon and visited the Thermal Pools, where for the first time ever during a visit it actually snowed. A big cheer went up in our pool when the snow started. We then had a pint in the Irish Bar and watched the snow fall. It is always exciting when it snows probably because we so see little snow.
The following day (Saturday) the weather was beautiful, sunny with a clear blue sky and no sign of the snow from the previous day.
We went for a drive through the Lewis Pass stopping at an alpine tarn where we spotted two tadpoles. We went for a twenty minutes alpine nature walk (loop walk) which was stunning. We then returned to Hanmer Springs for a soak in the Pools.
It’s the same old story – you don’t visit anywhere for months (or even years) and then you visit the same place within the space of a few months. You can never beat the Thermal Pools.
My Top Tips For Visiting Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa –
If you are visiting, do not have children and want a quieter, more relaxing time at the pools choose a weekday during term time!
If you prefer the atmosphere when the pools are busier go at the weekends and during the school holidays.
For more serious swimmers who like to swim in a lane that is roped off and you can plough up and down without other simmers getting in your way visit during term time.
For the ‘Big Kids’ amongst us the Lazy River, the hydroslides and the SuperBowl aquatic thrill ride are a must, the many steps upto the top of the slides are a good aerobic workout.