Hanging out in Hanmer
14 April 2020
There is no doubting that Hanmer Springs is synonymous with the Hanmer Springs Hot Pools and although we like a good old soak there is so much more to explore in this area!
The town is surrounded by dramatic mountains and towering forests. There are some pretty amazing walking tracks and cycle trails to experience. For the more adventurous (and maybe not so budget wary) there is also bungy jumping, jet boating horse trekking, a round or two of golf or skiing in the winter.
Hanmer is only a 90 minute drive from Christchurch, making it a popular weekend destination. Further on from Hanmer you can head over the scenic Lewis Pass to the west coast of the South Island. It’s the northernmost of the three main passes across the Southern Alps and the scenery is spectacular with extensive beech forests.
There are plenty of motel accommodation options in Hanmer Springs along with a holiday parks, camping grounds & a NZCMA park.
Conical Hill Walk
We parked our vehicle in the town centre and walked a short 600m to the start of the Conical Hill Walk to a lookout. As with any lookout, there is an uphill slog to endure to get to the treasure at the top.
It is a very popular walk so the track is well-formed and will take you about 30 mins to get to the top. At the summit (550m) the panoramic view is worth the effort. The view stretches out across the flat valley to the mountains in the distance.
On ya bike
If you are into cycling, then there are many choices for you. Depending on your skill, ability and fitness, there are mountain bike trails for the extreme riders, down to the ‘easy rider’ trails. There is also a loop track you can do around the town centre.
Check out hanmertrails.co.nz
Off-Road & St James Homestead
Jollie’s Pass can be accessed from Hanmer Springs. Not far out of town we found the warning signs regarding high clearance and 4×4 vehicles only. There were certainly some deep ruts and steep climbs to navigate. No wonder we didn’t encounter any other vehicle from start to end.
We did manage to get partway up Acheron Road to a camping area beside where the Archeron and Clarence Rivers join. There was a large solid chain across the access road to Molesworth Station, which is only open to drive from Labour Weekend till Easter Sunday.
We backtracked to the road which took us to the St James Homestead. This is where many start/finish the St James Walkway, a 69km one way track.
We returned back to Hanmer Springs via Jack’s Pass. This road is suitable for most vehicles, it is gravel but has been well maintained.
Hanmer Springs is best known for its spring! The best place to indulge, with a range of pools, including relaxing rock pools, soothing sulphur pools, an array of water jets and bubbles - at a range of temperatures. Perfect for a soak after a long day of activities.
Story by Scotty & Linda www.kiwisflythecoop.com