Hot Pools, Hiking and Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

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Hanmer Springs is a small alpine town on the South Island of New Zealand. Surrounded by mountains this beautiful place has something to offer in every season. From hiking and adrenaline activities to being pampered in the thermal spas.

Hot Pools, Hiking and Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
A sunny winters day heading south from Hanmer Springs towards Christchurch

The spring and summer bring out full access and safety on the hiking trails. Although the autumn colours of the trees, flora and fauna are the hue of reds and oranges. Then In the winter, this place is covered by sheets of snow turning it into a winter wonderland.

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Hanmer Springs Hot Pools and Spa

An article about Hanmer is not complete without referring to Hanmer Springs hot pools and spa. This place lies in the centre of the town and the closest place I have found to this is Blue Lagoon in Iceland. However, this place is a little less densely packed and has a variety of small pools. They have expanded it over the past 15 years to include water slides and expand some of the existing pools.

Each time I’ve been I generally went to relax in the hot pool rather than the other parts. I spent my 21st birthday in Hanmer springs for a weekend and rented a holiday home for myself and friends. We went for drinks and a good meal in town and then spent both days before and after relaxing in the hot pools. It was also the first place I properly visited when I arrived in New Zealand. I flew into Christchurch Airport and met up with a friend, then headed for a night in Hanmer before heading north to Blenheim for Christmas.

  • The pools are split into sections, you have different temperature pools separated and it’s advised you work your way up to the hottest especially when it’s cooler weather.
  • There is also a lazy river and some that are built like rock-pools.
  • There is an option to book treatments and a private pool experience (quick tip: check before you go for availability. If they are still available on the day or day before you can often just pay an upgrade deal that would work out better priced then before).
  • There is a full-sized Olympic pool suitable for those that are keen swimmers.
  • Take a bottle of water with you and keep hydrated
  • Cost: £18.63 at time of writing this – Buy tickets here | Via Get Your Guide
Winter view from the pools. It snows a lot in winter but we were a few days early to see this blanket of snow.
Winter view from the pools. It snows a lot in winter but we were a few days early to see this blanket of snow.

I’ve been to these pools three times so far and will be going back on my next visit to New Zealand. There is a lot to do and see in the town, if you are aiming to go to the hot pools or try some of the more adrenaline-packed activities then you will definitely need to book ahead to avoid disappointment – Click here to see more of the activities Hanmer has to offer | Via Get Your Guide.


It should come as no surprise when reading about the geography of this town and seeing the pictures that there are so many hiking trails to chose from.

  • Conical Hill (views pictured above) is a great if you are limited for time or you need something accessible for those who don’t necessarily hike regularly or have the fitness to do hours tramping up hills.
  • Hanmer Forrest has a number of awesome trails to follow around for all abilities.
  • Mount Isobel is another great option if you fancy something a little longer (1/2 a day) and greater views.

Best Adventure Activities To Do In Hanmer Springs

If you are travelling to New Zealand you will know that it has a reputation known as an adrenaline capital. Almost every town you visit, you will be able to find some Activities to get your heart pumping and a healthy dose of fear or calculated risk. Hanmer is no different. My ex went bungee jumping in Hanmer (I had already booked mine in Taupo) and he loved it. I went quad biking during a day trip from Christchurch with friends and really enjoyed it. I’ve popped links below to the cheapest options for booking each of the activities.

I’ve listed the below by price to help you budgeting and planning. Please note the duration is approximate, as it may take time for you to get ready for some of these activities or there might be change overs with earlier groups etc.

Hanmer Springs Extreme Paintball

Hanmer Archery

Jet Boats

Quad Biking

White Water Rafting

Bungee jumping

4WD over High Country Pass to Clarence river

4WD over High Country Pass to Glacial Lakes

Save Money With Activity Combination Packages

If you are considering doing more than one of these, then you could save yourself some money by booking a combo. There is a couple of combinations on offer with get your guide:

Jet Boats and Quad Bikes

Jet Boats, Quad Bike and Bungee Jump lasting

Getting to Hanmer Springs

There are only really two ways to get to Hanmer Springs, unless you have a private helicopter or jet on hand. The Transcoastal train line doesn’t pass via Hanmer due to its location inland.

  1. By Coach – There are intercity coaches that come here which you can book on to and get passes to get around the city (check out my ultimate guide to travelling around New Zealand).
  2. By Self Drive – Coming by car this town lies between Blenheim, Marlborough and Christchurch, Canterbury.

Getting Around Hanmers

Looking towards Conical Hill, Hanmer. This town is stunning even in late autumn
Looking towards Conical Hill, Hanmer. This town is stunning even in late autumn

Peddle Cars

  • These are a similar size golf carts. I rented these on my first day in town to allow me to get around the town in an alternative way.
  • Cost from £15.00
  • Book direct on arrival to town or at the I-site

Horseback riding

  • This is another alternative way to get around this beautiful area and see a little more than just the main town and head through the plains or forest.
  • Cost: £65.00 – £189.00
  • Book direct on arrival to town or at the I-site

Bike Rental

  • Cost: from £15.00
  • Book direct on arrival to town or at the I-site

Hanmer is only a small town and you could easily walk around the mains streets and some of the back roads in a few hours. If you want to get a good view of the town but are limited for time Conical hill sits at the top of the town giving you viewpoints of the southern alps and the Hanmer plains. The walk is easy and suitable for anyone. It doesn’t take to long to reach the viewpoint, so don’t feel you need to rush.

Places To Eat In Hanmer

My favourite places to eat were:

  • The 5 Stags in Hanmer Springs retreat – Great atmosphere and budget friendly.
  • Monteiths Brewery – This is part of a chain of restaurants and bars but I love it here. The food is good, the staff are friendly and there is bands playing every so often. I had my 21st meal here and loved it.

Favourite Accommodations In Hanmer

Hanmer Springs Hotel (Heritage) is a great place to stay. The quality of the service and cleanliness of the rooms is that you would expect in a high end hotel. The grounds it is set in are stunning and there is a pool on site. The best thing about this place is its budget friendly with prices starting from around £66.00 per room.

  • Click here | Via Trip Advisor to check out the prices for your dates and see the comparison across sites including (Booking, Hotels and Expedia etc) for the best deal to suite your budget.

Top Ten Holiday Park is another budget friendly place to stay in town. You can pitch a tent, camper or book into one of their lodges. They are basic but clean and have everything you need. You also pay per cabin which is about £59.00 per night. Once you have stayed once you can get a top ten pass for two years to discount your stays at other Top Ten Parks around the country. And the longer you stay the cheaper the rate. I also like this place because the prices don’t fluctuate like most hotels or accommodation options through the seasonal calendar.

  • Click Here | Via Trip Advisor to check out the prices for your dates and see the comparison across sites including (Booking, Hotels and Expedia etc) for the best deal to suite your budget.

There is also a department of conservation site near by just north of Hanmer as Canterbury borders Marlborough which may be best for those camping and hiking through the country as you head north: Acheron Homestead & DOC Campsite.

There are holiday rentals homes in Hanmer which are managed mostly by Hanmer rentals. I’d recommend this if you are going as a group. The homes have fantastic views and everything you need from a rental but they can be on the pricier side due to the location

Pin for Later

If you liked this article then why not check out these other articles on the New Zealand south island destinations:

More Articles From New Zealand Coming Soon….

Follow Nicole:

Owner of Travels and Wandering | Lecturer by Day, Nomad at Heart Adventure Travel Tester | Outdoor Instructor | Mountaineering and Outdoors Researcher | Strength and Conditioning Coach | Yoga Instructor | Personal Trainer | Fitness Pro | Endo Warrior, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, Spoonie

19 Responses

  1. Angela

    I remember going to the Hanmer Springs about 12 years ago and having a great time, such a lovely place. I didn’t check out much more of the area as we were only passing through on a road trip and so your post was great to tell me what more there is to do there. If I had known about those golf caddy carts to get you around town I would have hired one of those!

  2. Kelly

    Your pictures are absolutely stunning. New Zealand has always been on my bucket list and you’ve made me want to go there even more! Thanks for the tips 

  3. Kara

    oh my goodness this place looks amazing! Thanks so much for sharing and taking these wonderful pictures. NZ is on my list of places I’d love to go once I get the guts to travel outside of the US!

  4. Yukti Agrawal

    Wow it sounds so relaxing, hot pools, hiking in nature and as I have never traveled to NZ, it sounds very tempting to me. I hope, I will visit Hanmer springs soon with lots of nature hiking at this area.

  5. Jan

    I have traveled in NZ but missed out on Hanmer Springs. I would love to visit the hot springs and there seems to be a variety of hiking opportunities too. We plan to visit NZ again and will definitely look up this area of the country. 🙂

  6. Sue

    I have been to NZ a couple of times (the first for 2 months) & not heard of Hanmer but I love the idea of those hot springs. I think a visit is what we all need right now. I left last January keen to go back for more sooner rather than later & will certainly be adding Hanmer to my itinerary. Thanks for highlighting.

  7. Chirasree

    Wow! Loved reading your post. I haven’t been to New Zealand and would love to explore it someday. Thanks for sharing! 

  8. Natascha

    I absolutely love hot springs, so Hanmer Spring seems to be the right place for me! I went to New Zealand but stayed on the North Island, what was fine. But next time I will have to see the south too. There seems to be fabulous hiking and what is better for tensce muscles than a soak in hot water.

  9. Renata

    This looks like such a great, relaxing place. The sceneries are soothing for the mind and soul – and nobody needs to ask me twice to glide into a hot pool! This would be such a great retreat when I’m stressed out – after one day in this amazing surroundings, I’d be a brand new person.

  10. Leyla Giray Alyanak

    New Zealand has taken time to get on my radar screen – perhaps because it is at the absolute opposite end of the earth from where I live. But clearly there’s something in the air because I keep finding gorgeous or fascinating things to do there… I’m going to have to go, right??

  11. Ann

    That pool area seems like exactly what I would need right now, a vacation with only relaxing on the agenda. Yes please! New Zealand sure is on mycket bucketlist, not for this year though, but hopefully pretty soon 🙂

  12. Kristina

    What a fun town with so much to do! It’s been more than 20 years since I’ve been to NZ and I don’t remember this being on our radar back then, but it is now.

  13. Agnes

    I am a fan of hot springs. So I really like the idea of visiting Hanmer. Adds to my list. I would love to visit the South Island of New Zealand one day.

  14. jacqueline

    The color of the water looks too good to be real! A huge fan of hot springs, especially ones immersed fully in nature. I’d love to hike and soak in these for an afternoon

  15. Georgina

    New Zealand is high up on my list and I enjoy a relaxing slow holidays. So, although there are many adventure moments here, I’d love a day out at Hamner Springs.

  16. Renata

    I love everything relaxing – such as saunas, steam rooms, and hot springs. Therefore, I’m suffering right now since this is the last thing I can do during the pandemic. Nevertheless, through your post, I was able to re-install this feeling of deep relaxation. Those pools look just dreamy!

  17. Linda (LD Holland)

    We had planned to visit Australia and New Zealand in 2020.  And yo know that happened to that plan!  I can see why we would want to visit Hammer Springs.  I love a dip in a hot spring after an active day hiking.  What a great variety in the outdoor adventures!  Good for a few days for sure.

  18. AW

    Looks beautiful, I love hot springs and would love to try the Hanmer Springs pools, even if it isn’t technically a hot spring.

  19. Melanie

    What a great list of things to do! And those pools look amazing, I love that they have different temps to work your way up to! Definitely pinning this to keep for the future!

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