Hot Pools, Hiking and Hanmer Springs, New Zealand

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.

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.

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

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....

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