Hot pools at Hanmer Springs Thermal Resort. © ChristchurchNZ

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

4.5 /5
Heritage Hanmer Springs Visit website

Just 90 minutes from Christchurch, Hanmer Springs is the perfect place to wash away your city concerns and soak-up the natural beauty of the Southern Alps. . . . More . . . 

4.9 /5
The St James Visit website

Luxury accommodation with views of the mountains. Located in the centre of the village, park the car and walk to cafes, restaurants, activities including the . . . More . . . 

Hanmer Holiday Homes Ltd Visit website

Welcome to the wonderful world of holiday home accommodation in Hanmer Springs, New Zealand. We have the largest range of affordable accommodation available in Hanmer Springs. . . . More . . . 

4.8 /5
Hanmer Springs Scenic Views Motel Visit website

A modern & sunny Motel in the heart of Hanmer Springs, with affordable and comfortable facilities to suit everyone. Hanmer Springs Scenic Views Motel has . . . More . . .