Hot pools at Hanmer Springs Thermal Resort. © davidwallphoto.com

Hanmer Springs: soothe the soul at New Zealand's alpine sanctuary


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The country’s very own alpine sanctuary, more Swiss Alps than Southern Alps, Hanmer Springs vies in a very beautiful country for the ‘most beautiful place’ prize.

Primarily a thermal resort, it’s a bit of a weekend retreat for Christchurch folk as well. They bring their own air of sophistication with them, so after a luxurious, languorous lunge in the theatrically set thermal pools, you can indulge in a spot of fine dining too, if you so choose. A back rub and a good New Zealand pinot: that’s living, huh.

That said, there’s a great bunch of user-friendly caravan parks, camping areas and budget stay offerings, so despite its high setting, Hanmer caters to all-comers, really.

Folk have been taking the waters here for over a century, and there are some delightful older buildings nestled in amongst the new flash ones, giving the town some context and texture.

The thermal pools themselves come in a range of temperatures and expressions: there are soaking pools, rock pools, mineral pools, sulphur pools – depending on your mood and need, you will be well catered for.

Bungy jumping, jet boating, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and superb walks in the alpine bush are all on tap, here; the aptly named Thrillseekers providing many of these activities in one handy spot on the Waiau River. And there are a couple of ski fields not too far from the town if you feel the need to get on the piste. Soak it up.

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Where to stay in Hanmer Springs

4.3 /5
From $30
Hanmer Springs TOP 10 Holiday Park Visit website

Soak in the surroundings of Hanmer Springs at Hanmer Springs TOP 10 Holiday Park, 1.5 hours from Christchurch. Relax in our spacious alpine setting, so . . . More . . . 

From $30

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4.4 /5
From $105
Bella Vista Hanmer Springs Visit website

We welcome you to the Bella Vista Hanmer Springs Motel. This property has been independently assessed by Qualmark as 4 star quality accommodation. . . . More . . . 

From $105

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4.4 /5
From $140
Asure Hanmer Inn Motel Visit website

The Hanmer Inn Motel sits in a very central location in Hanmer Springs, being less than 2 minutes walk to the thermal pools, restaurants, bars . . . More . . . 

From $140

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4.7 /5
Settlers Motel Visit website

Boutique 5 Star Gold Qualmark rated. Relax, rejuvenate and enjoy the unique "Settlers Experience". Quiet, sunny and close to the village centre, restaurants, cafes, shops . . . More . . . 

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Book now