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Travel Guide

28 Things to Do in Hanmer Springs

  • 7 minutes

Hanmer Springs @Audley Travel

In this Article

28 Things to Do in Hanmer Springs: A Travel Guide to All Attractions and Activities

It’s a long way to Iceland, and why bother anyway when we have our own treat.

Hammer Spring is a beautiful town located in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand that has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions and activities.

The town is an alpine playground for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts with various activities, such as bungy jumping, jet boating, ziplining, and whitewater rafting. For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, the town has many hot springs and spas and plenty of walks and hikes where you can unwind and take in the scenic views.

Hanmer Springs is classic Kiwi outdoors, with a touch of pampering (or a lot, depending on your preferences) and spectacular scenery to gorge on. It’s a great place to spend a week or two exploring the Hurunui district.

Hanmer Springs, New Zealand @Stuff
Hanmer Springs @Stuff

The Hanmer Experience

Hanmer is a thriving spa destination. Hanmer has avoided Queenstown’s mass tourism avoiding the questions about the environment, the experience and large crowds. The Thermal Resort has a number of different attractions, from children focused swings, slides and tunnels to pools with a range of temperatures. You can ease yourself into the scalding waters by degrees.

Families will find a plethora of activities, many of which are free. For a detailed list from adrenaline adventure jet boating to shared cycle trails, check our list of the 9 best activities and attractions in Hanmer Springs for families & kids.

Hanmer Springs Weather

Hanmer Springs has an oceanic climate with significant rainfall throughout the year.

The summer season lasts for about three months (December to March). January is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 21.0°C.

The winter seasons last for about four months (June to September). July is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 11°C.

For winter snow conditions, check out Hanmer Springs Ski Field Snow Forecasts and Conditions.

For live weather updates, please check WeatherWatch – New Zealand’s Weather News Authority.

 

Best Time to Visit Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs can be visited all year round. However, the best time to visit the town would be considered winter.

During winters, the snow is carpeting the ground with a biting alpine southern wind funnelling through Hanmer. The perfect contrast to these heavenly indulgences is ski fields where you can enjoy adrenaline things on the side of the mountains. These outdoor adventures combined with hot mineral springs pampering make for the best Hanmer Springs experience.

In spring, summer walks, outdoor adventures, trekking in the great outdoors, river picnics and leisurely exploration of local open cellar doors are all possible.

Autumn in Hanmer Springs means the blaze of gold, yellow and amber as the season mellows into winter, combined with the Hanmer and district treats and temptations for visitors.

Hanmer lies in the Hurunui district with its food and wine trail nearby. For families, there are plenty of attractions in Hurunui with details for a great day trip from Hanmer. Check out our travel guide on Hurunui Road Trips.

Hurunui to Hanmer is 53 km.

Where is Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is a town in the Canterbury Region of the South Island of New Zealand. The township is located at the foot of Conical Hill.

Hanmer Springs, at an altitude of 385 metres, lies 133 kilometres southwest of Kaikōura and 135 kilometres northwest of Christchurch.

How far is Hanmer Springs from Christchurch?

Hanmer Springs is about 135 kilometres from Christchurch. The drive from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs will take approximately two-hour via State Highway Seven.

InterCity, a national public bus company, operates a daily bus from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs.

Getting Around

There are public shuttles from Christchurch, and once in the Hanmer village, due to its compact nature, it is not necessary to drive anywhere. Currently, the travel guide has not identified any rental bike hire located in the town.

Things to Do in Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs @Stuff
Hanmer Springs @Stuff

Relax at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa is a large hot pool and water park set against a lush forest backdrop. It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Hanmer Springs.

With a range of 22 outdoor hot pools, you’ll never be short on options for relaxation. Each pool has naturally heated water with temperatures ranging from 34-42 degrees Celsius.

The facilities at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa are truly impressive. Here, you’ll find a variety of hot pools, including new cascades, calm rock pools, soothing sulphur pools, and a variety of water jets and bubbles. If the hot pools become too much for you, a beautiful day spa with various treatments, private pools, saunas, and steam rooms awaits you.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa have a variety of exhilarating hydro slides and an activity pool, lazy river, and lap pool for kids to enjoy. There are adult-only pools too.

There’s also a lovely cafe named Tea Kiosk Cafe & Grill on-site, where you can enjoy some refreshing drinks and a range of dishes while taking in the stunning views of the thermal pools.

Though the Hanmer Springs Pools are beautiful all year, they are especially magical in the winter, when there is snow on the ground and frost in the air.

Hanmer Springs, New Zealand @Hanmer Springs Scenic Views Motel
Hanmer Springs @Hanmer Springs Scenic Views Motel
Dog Stream Waterfall, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @We12Travel
Dog Stream Waterfall, Hanmer Spings @We12Travel

Enjoy Mountain Biking

Hanmer Springs offers an abundance of mountain biking trails for all skill levels. There are so many biking trails that you will never run out of options, even if your experience level isn’t very high. Just remember to do your research and find the track that’s perfect for what level you are at.

Some of the most popular biking trails are –

Take a Stroll in the Hanmer Forest

Hanmer Forest is a stunning forest located in Hanmer Springs. It is the perfect place to take a peaceful stroll and enjoy the serenity of nature. The forest was established in 1901 and covered more than 13,000 hectares.

Hanmer Forest is home to some of New Zealand’s oldest exotic plantings. Initially, international flora was introduced, with many coming from alpine regions. Trees were chosen from central European montane areas, including Black Pines, Norway Spruce, and Deciduous Larch. Today, the forest is home to Radiata Pine and Douglas fir.

Forest Walk, New Zealand @Pat Barrett
Forest Walk @Pat Barrett
Conical hill walk, New Zealand @We12Travel
Conical hill walk @We12Travel

Hanmer Forest is also a great place for bird watching as it is home to a variety of native and exotic bird species. Some birds you might see are Tui, Bellbird, Wood Pigeon, Fantail, Tomtit, Grey Warbler, Rifleman, New Zealand Falcon, Kereru and more. You might even be lucky enough to see some more rare species such as Blackbird, Thrush, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Hedge Sparrow.

The old forest is crisscrossed with numerous well-maintained routes, ranging from easy short walks to more challenging full-day hikes.

For those looking for a more challenging walk, take the Conical Hill Walk. This 1-hour return trip will take you through some steep areas of the pine forest, with beautiful views. Alternatively, choose Woodland Walk, which is a flat and easy 1-hour return track. This track is excellent for families with toddlers.

Tip

Wasp populations peak between January and March. As a precaution, we recommend wearing light-coloured clothing and carrying antihistamine creams or tablets.

Enjoy Trekking With Some Four-Legged Locals at Hanmer Llamas

Trekking with llamas or simply hanging out with your new best buddies is a must-do when in Hanmer Springs. It is infectious fun leading a llama around Hanmer Springs village. You’ll pick your llama, load him up with your gear, and set out with your guide. Your buddy does all of the heavy liftings, and you get to explore the neighbourhood.

The four-legged locals at Hanmer Llamas are well-behaved and easy to walk with, making this a great activity for all ages and fitness levels. The treks are fully guided, and you will have the opportunity to learn about the llamas and their behaviours.

The option of multiple-day backcountry treks is another way to explore the region. The guided, catered tours will tap into your bucket list encounters. Who needs to go to South America when there is a llama experience next door in the Southern Alps.

Hanmer llamas, New Zealand @TripAdvisor
Hanmer llamas @TripAdvisor
@hanmeradventure
@hanmeradventure

Explore the Region on a Quad Bike

Quad biking is an adrenaline-fueled adventure that allows you to explore the thrilling terrain of Hanmer Springs on your own terms. There are three companies that offer quad biking in Hanmer Springs –

Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre will take you on a journey through farms and forests to stunning viewpoints, while Amuri Jet and Hanmer Springs Attractions trip along creeks, rivers, and farms.

An experienced guide will accompany you on this unforgettable experience, providing you with all the instructions. No prior experience is required as you will receive full training. You will also be provided with all the safety gear you need.

Bungy Jump Off a Bridge

Bungy Jump is undoubtedly the most thrilling activity available in Hanmer for adrenaline freaks. This fun activity is operated by Hanmer Springs Attractions.

The Bungy jump takes place at the historic Waiau Ferry Bridge, a 35-meter high bridge crossing the Waiau River. This is the only place to enjoy Bungy jumping in the Canterbury region.

You’ll be secured into a full-body harness and ankle harness and connected to the Bungy cord. Once you’re harnessed in, you’ll be gently tipped over the edge of the bridge, allowing you free fall towards the Waiau River below. The experience is exhilarating, and you will have an incredible rush of adrenaline as you freefall.

Hanmer Springs Attractions also provides different jump options, including a tandem with a buddy. The jumps include a certificate and t-shirts. Photos and video footages are also available but at an extra cost.

@HanmerSpringsAttractions
@HanmerSpringsAttractions
@hanmeradventure
@hanmeradventure

Try Archery at Hanmer Springs Adventure Center

Hanmer Springs Adventure Center offers a unique opportunity to try archery in a stunning setting. They offer a 1-hour archery session where you can test your skills.

You will be given a safety briefing and instructions on how to use the equipment. The expert staff will be on hand to help you perfect your technique. Once you’re feeling confident, you can participate in a competition to see who can score the most points.

All the necessary equipment is provided, and no experience is necessary. This is a great activity for those looking to get competitive or simply have some fun.

Enjoy Shooting Some Clay Birds

Clay Bird Shooting is a fun activity to get competitive with your mates or loved ones. It’s a challenging and thrilling sport that tests your aim, hand-eye coordination, and concentration.

The activity is operated at Hanmer Springs Attractions and Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre.

You’ll be given a safety briefing and instructions on how to use the gun. The experienced instructors will also give you tips and tricks to help you improve your aim. You will then get to shoot at ten clay birds.

@HanmerSpringsAttractions
@HanmerSpringsAttractions

Attend a Wine Tasting Session

Canterbury is home to some of New Zealand’s best wineries, and Hanmer Springs is the perfect place to sample some of the region’s finest wines. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay are among the wines produced in the region.

Waiau River Estate and Hanmer Springs Wines are the two places where you can attend a wine tasting session. Hanmer Springs Wines is one of the highest altitude vineyards in New Zealand at 360 meters (1181 feet).

Note – The Waiau River Estate was closed for renovations at the time of writing. Please keep an eye on their website for information on when they will reopen.

Greystone Wines, New Zealand @visithurunui
Greystone Wines @visithurunui

Both places offer a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and the knowledgeable staff will guide you through the wine-tasting experience. You’ll get to sample a variety of wines and learn about the different flavours, aromas, and history of each wine.

Canterbury and Hurunui regions have a perfect climate for grape-growing. The region receives low rainfall, consistent high summer sunlight hours, and lengthy twilight in the dry autumn provides phenolic ripeness and complexity in the wines. Check out our guide on the Canterbury Hurunui Wine Trail for more information on the wineries in the area and the best way to get around them.

Take a Ride on the St James Cycle Trail

The St James Cycle Trail is a great way to explore the stunning scenery of Hanmer Springs. The trail is approximately 60 kilometres long and takes you through native forests, open plains, rivers, and mountains.

The trail can be divided into four sections –

  1. Mailing car park to Waiau 4WD road end
  2. Waiau 4WD road end to Saddle Spur Bridge
  3. Saddle Spur Bridge to old McArthur Bridge/Scotties Hut
  4. Scotties Hut to St James Homestead

The majority of the trail is grade 3 intermediate level with a grade 4 section between Saddle Spur Bridge and Scotties Hut. You can expect an average completion time of 6-9 hours depending on how fit you are and how often you stop to take photos and enjoy the views.

Note – While the St James Cycle Trail is open, it cannot be completed as a loop due to the missing McArthur swingbridge. The bridge has been washed out following a major flood and will not be replaced for some time. You must return the way you came.

Hanmer Springs Mountain Bike Trail, New Zealand @visithurunui
Hanmer Springs Mountain Bike Trail @visithurunui
Hanmer Springs Horse Riders, New Zealand @Karen Brown
Hanmer Springs Horse Riders @Karen Brown

Experience Horseback Riding and Trekking

Horse Riding is a fantastic way to explore the scenic countryside of Hanmer Springs. There are two operators in the area offering various horse riding and trekking experiences, namely,

Hanmer also has a horse riding social club called Hanmer Springs Horse Riders Inc., which supports horse riders in the district. The club does not conduct horse treks; rather, it is an advisory group informing visitors about the best trekking spots.

Alpine Horse Safaris is another place where you can experience horse riding. However, it is located 71 kilometres from Hanmer Springs. Horse safaris are recommended only for experienced horse riders.

Visit the Local Animal Park

If you’re looking for things to do with kids in Hanmer Springs, then a visit to the local animal park is a must. The Hanmer Springs Animal Park is located on the Crawford Walkway, within walking distance from the town centre.

The park is home to a variety of farm and exotic animals, including sheep and lambs, goats, pigs, pony, donkeys, llamas and alpacas, cow, texas longhorn, ostrich, emu, wallaby, water buffalo and deer.

You can also hand-feed and pet some of the animals while standing very next to them, which is quite fascinating. The sight of children running their hands through the wool of a sheep and hand feeding deer makes for a gentle introduction to animals in a domesticated setting.

Hanmer Springs Animal Park has an awesome children’s play area with trampolines that keep little ones entertained. The area also has picnic tables so you can enjoy your meal while watching them have fun on the bouncy mat.

There is also a small café on-site, which is a great spot for lunch and interaction with the animals. Perhaps the vegetarian option is the best choice for lunch.

@Hanmer Springs Animal Park
@Hanmer Springs Animal Park
@alpinecrazyputt
@alpinecrazyputt

Challenge Your Friends and Family for a Round of Mini Golf

Hanmer Springs has two mini-golf courses, Alpine Crazy Putt and A-Maze-N-Golf. Both the golf courses are 18-hole courses located within the town centre.

Alpine Crazy Putt is a modern mini-golf course with a range of fun and challenging holes ideal for couples, families or corporate groups.

Whereas, A-Maze-N-Golf has a theme-based hole called the Lost Temple set in an indoor maze. During the course of the game, you’ll have to solve some mysteries while playing golf and find your way out of the temple.

Both these courses are suitable for all ages and offer a great way to spend an hour or two with friends and family.

Play a Few Rounds of Golf at Hanmer Springs Golf Club

Besides mini-golf, Hanmer Springs is also home to a world-class golf course, the Hanmer Springs Golf Club. The club is located on Jacks Pass Road and offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys.

Hanmer Springs Golf Club is an 18 hole, par 72 course. The course has a number of challenging holes and is an excellent test of your golfing skills. Moreover, the club offers one-on-one golf lessons to help you improve your game. The club also has a pro-shop where you can buy all the latest golf equipment and apparel.

Hanmer Springs Golf Club has a Clubhouse which is the perfect place to relax after a game of golf. The Clubhouse has a bar, restaurant and lounge area where you can unwind with a drink or two. It has a seating capacity of 100 guests and can be booked for events like weddings, corporate functions and parties.

Another place to play golf in Hanmer is Pitch ‘n’ Putt. It is also an 18-hole course ranging from just 27 to 80 metres in length. The club also has a bar and restaurant area where you can relax after a game of golf.

@hanmerspringsgolfclub
@hanmerspringsgolfclub

What to do in Hanmer Springs in Summer

Best Hanmer Springs Jet Boat Trip, New Zealand @hanmerspringsattractions
@hanmerspringsattractions

Take a Jet Boat Ride Down the Waiau River

Get ready for the ride of your life as you speed down the Waiau River on a jet boat. The activity is operated by Hanmer Springs Attractions and Amuri Jet.

You’ll be strapped into a lifejacket and taken on a high-speed ride down the Waiau River. The ride is approximately 30 to 35 minutes long and will take you through narrow gorges, canyons, and white water rapids. The experienced drivers will perform 360-degree spins, waves, and other thrilling manoeuvres that will get your heart pumping.

All safety gear is provided, and you’ll be given a briefing before the ride. Photos and videos are also available at an extra cost.

Did You Know?

Jet boats were invented in New Zealand in 1954 by Sir William Hamilton.

Head Out for River Rafting on the Choppy Waters of Waiau River

Another thrilling activity to enjoy when at Waiau River is river rafting. Waiau River is a grade 2 river, which is perfect for beginners. River rafting is operated by Hanmer Springs Attractions and Amuri Jet.

The activity is suitable for all fitness levels, and no prior experience is required. You’ll be provided with all the safety gear, including a lifejacket and helmet. A professional guide will accompany you on the raft to give instructions and help navigate the rapids.

The trip takes approximately two hours. During the journey, you’ll raft through canyons, gorges, and white water rapids. The scenery is stunning, and you’re sure to have an incredible experience.

River rafting is a must-do activity, especially if you are visiting Hanmer Springs with your family.

@Amurijet
@Amurijet
@hanmeradventure
@hanmeradventure

Take a Ride in a Hanmer Rocket

Hanmer Rockets are fun-filled peddling machines that are perfect for exploring the picturesque town of Hanmer Springs. The machines have an easy learning curve, and you’ll be zooming around in no time.

Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre offers two types of Hanmer Rocket –

  • Mini Rocket – This seats up to 2 adults and 1 child
  • Maxi Rocket – This seats up to 4 adults and 2 children.

If you’re in a group, ask the staff about the Rocket race challenge, a fun opportunity to compete with others. Hanmer Rockets can be booked for either 30 minutes or 1 hour and are an exciting way to fill in time between activities.

What to do in Hanmer Springs When it’s Raining

Visit Local Art Galleries

Visiting art galleries is a perfect activity for a rainy day. Hanmer Springs is home to many talented artists and artisans. There are several art galleries in Hanmer Springs that showcase the work of local artists.

One such local art gallery is the Amuri Community Arts Council Gallery which is hidden within the Hanmer Springs Library. This is a great place to explore New Zealand art, with works by local artists and international ones on display.

Another one on the list is The Tait Gallery. This gallery has an impressive collection of handmade glass and pottery pieces that you won’t want to miss out on.

If your tastes run more towards contemporary jewellery or paintings, then head over to the Majuba Gallery, where they’ve got everything covered.

@Amuri Community Arts Council
@Amuri Community Arts Council
Hanmer High Country Jeep Tours Ltd, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Visit Hurunui
Hanmer High Country Jeep Tours Ltd @Visit Hurunui

Take a Jeep Tour to Soak in the Scenery

Jumping into a jeep and taking in Hanmer Springs from atop is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on.

One company that offers such tours is the Hanmer High Country Jeep Tours. They have a range of different tours on offer, each showcasing different aspects of Hanmer Springs.

You can choose from short 1.5 hours tours to long 6 hours ones. No matter which tour you pick, you’re bound to have an amazing time taking in all the sights and sounds of Hanmer Springs.

Do Some Boutique Shopping

Hanmer Springs has plenty of cute little shops selling various items, from clothes and jewellery to home decor and art. These shops are perfect for picking up a souvenir or a gift for someone back home.

If you are looking for some locally handcrafted products, then head over to Creative Genius. For something fashionable and stylish, visit Mhor, Mirror Mirror Boutique and Rohm Fashion.

@CreativeGeniusHanmerSprings
@CreativeGeniusHanmerSprings

Things to do in Hanmer Springs in Winter

@HanmerSpringsSkiArea
@HanmerSpringsSkiArea

Visit the Hanmer Springs Ski Area

  • Elevation – 1769 m
  • Vertical Drop – 310 m
  • Terrain – 52 ha

If you’re looking for things to do in Hanmer Springs in winter, then a visit to the Hanmer Springs Ski Area is a must. The ski area is located 17 kilometres from the town centre and is run by the Amuri Ski Club, which was founded in 1957.

The views from the Hanmer Springs Ski Area are simply breathtaking. The nearby mountains of St James and Molesworth Stations and the distant peaks of Nelson Lakes National Park can all be seen from the summit of the ski field.

The ski field has three lifts beginner-friendly Fixed Grip Tow, Nutcracker Rope Tow and a Poma Tow. There are a variety of groomed courses as well as off-piste snow to challenge skiers of all ages and skill levels. The instructors for ski lessons must be booked in advance.

Hanmer Springs Ski Area also has a day lodge that provides a relaxing environment. It is also a great spot to observe the kids on the beginner’s slope. There’s also on-site backpacker-style lodging if you want to stay longer.

Please note that all ski equipment must be rented in town from the Hanmer Adventure Centre, as there is no rental equipment on the mountain.

@HanmerSpringsSkiArea
@HanmerSpringsSkiArea

Hike Up Mt Isobel

Mount Isobel is a beautiful snow-capped mountain located 7 kilometres from Hanmer Springs. The summit of Mt Isobel is 1319 metres above sea level. The mountain is a popular spot for hikers and climbers. You can enjoy panoramic views of the alpine tussock landscape, Hanmer Basin, and other mountain ranges from the summit.

The hike to the summit of Mt Isobel is a challenging one. It is advisable to hike in a group and carry all the necessary equipment like food, water, a map, a compass and a first-aid kit.

The summit of Mount Isobel can be reached via four different routes –

Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Forest Park, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Hiking Scenery
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass @Hiking Scenery

Mt Isobel Track

Time – 5 hours return

Difficulty – Beginner

Mt Isobel Track is the most preferred and direct route to the summit. It begins at the Clarence Valley Road car park, which is 2 kilometres from the Jacks Pass Road exit. The trail ascends through European and Japanese larch before reaching subalpine scrub. Climb to the summit along an open ridge for panoramic views of Hanmer Basin and beyond.

Via Waterfall Track

Time – 6 hours return

Difficulty – Intermediate

The waterfall track starts from the McIntyre Road car park. The track zig-zags up steeply before meeting Isobel Track below the top ridge.

The waterfall track is prone to slips; therefore, we recommend wearing hiking boots with good grip.

Waterfall Track, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Visit Hurunui
Waterfall Track @Visit Hurunui
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Visit Hurunui
Mt Isobel from Jacks Pass @Visit Hurunui

From Jacks Pass

Time – 3 ½ hours return

Difficulty – Expert

Jacks Pass route begins higher up on Clarence Valley Road. This route is designated by poles and is steep, exposed, and rocky. The trail connects with the Mt Isobel Track along the ridge to the summit.

This is the most difficult way up Mt Isobel and is only advised for fit and experienced hikers.

From Near Jollies Pass

Time – 4 ½ hours return

Difficulty – Intermediate

The track begins 800 meters north of Jollies Pass and climbs through mountain beech and sub-alpine scrub before connecting the eastern ridge to the summit. This is the least travelled route to Mt Isobel. The upper section of Jollies Road is steep and not appropriate for trailers or cars with low ground clearance.

Jollies Pass, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @marshallk1
Jollies Pass, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @marshallk1
Autumn in Hurunui, New Zealand @3dworld.nz
Autumn in Hurunui @3dworld.nz

THINGS TO DO FOR FREE

  • Walks is a great option with the adorable Art in the Forest a family favourite
  • A road trip checking what to do in Hurunui, its only 53 km away from Hanmer and definitely worth exploring the district Hanmer sits in. For road trip inspiration check Hurunui Road Trips – Routes & Itineraries – Best Bits.
  • While Hanmer Hot Springs charge admission fees, investigate multiple day passes for families and it will be more cost effective. It is likely the kids will not want to leave the resort. And you get to book a private massage creating a great holiday experience in a world class thermal spa

Things to do Around Hanmer Springs

See Some Early Maori Art at the Weka Pass Reserve

Weka Pass Reserve is a nature reserve with a large limestone overhang shelter located in North Canterbury. The reserve is 68 kilometres from Hanmer Spring which is approximately a 50-minute drive.

Weka Pass Reserve is home to some of the best-preserved examples of early Maori art in New Zealand. These include rock art, carvings, and stone circles. It is a great place to explore and learn about the early Maori culture.

Please note that the walkway to the reserve passes through private farmland. Therefore, it is closed between August and October every year.

Frog Rock, Weka Pass, New Zealand @jahnheath
Frog Rock, Weka Pass @jahnheath
Steam train passing Frog Rock, Canterbury, South Island,New Zealand
Steam train passing Frog Rock

Take a Journey on the Heritage Trains at Weka Pass Railways

Once you’re done exploring the Weka Pass Reserve, it’s time to take a journey on the heritage trains at Weka Pass Railways.

Weka Pass Railways is a historic rural railway site located approximately 10 kilometres from Weka Pass Reserve and 78 kilometres from Hanmer Springs. The site offers a journey through the beautiful limestone scenery of Weka Pass in both vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives.

The railways are operated by volunteers who are passionate about preserving the heritage of this site. Ask the volunteers about the history of the railways and their locomotives, and they’ll be happy to share the knowledge with you.

It is a great idea to explore the town of Weka Pass while you are here. Check out our guide on things to do in Weka Pass.

Enjoy Skiing and Snowboarding at Mount Lyford

Mount Lyford is an alpine mountain located 68 kilometres from Hanmer Spring. It is a popular spot for skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

The small township of Mt Lyford offers a variety of winter season accommodation options as well as a ski field called the Terako ski area. This ski area has plenty of beginner-friendly runs and challenging terrain for intermediate and advanced skiers. You can rent ski & and snowboard equipment from the ski field.

Terako ski area also has a lodge/restaurant named The Terako Day, which is a great place to relax and take in the stunning views after a day on the slopes. The lodge/restaurant is centrally located.

Mount Lyford is accessible from Hanmer Springs by a shuttle service that departs at 09:30 am from the access gate/top of the village and returns at 04:00 pm. The shuttle service costs NZ$20 per person. Booking is essential and can be made by calling at 027 629 8083 or emailing at mtlyfordxpress@xtra.co.nz.

Mt Lyford Ski Resort, New Zealand @Mountainwatch
Mt Lyford Ski Resort @Mountainwatch

MT TERAKO BASIN

Elevation:

  • 1750m at the top of Mt Terako
  • 1510m at the Terako Basin lodge
  • 1249m at the Lake Stella area

Vertical Drop:

  • 450m at Terako Basin
Mt Lyford – Terako Hut, Lake Stella, New Zealand @Airbnb
Mt Lyford – Terako Hut, Lake Stella @Airbnb

Terrain:

  • 30% Beginner
  • 40% Intermediate
  • 30% Advanced

Lifts:

  • One T-bar
  • Two platters
  • One 180m fixed grip
  • One advanced rope tow: LOWER & UPPER.

Mount Lyford webcam

Visit Motunau Beach Clifftop Coastal Reserve

Motunau Beach Clifftop Coastal Reserve is located approximately 104 kilometres from Hanmer Springs. The reserve offers stunning views of the Motunau coastline from the top of the cliffs.

Motunau Beach Clifftop Coastal Reserve was a whaling station in the past. It is now a reserve with over 5,000 blue penguins that can only be seen from afar because it is forbidden to access the island.

Visit Motunau Beach Clifftop Coastal Reserve, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Steve Attwood
Visit Motunau Beach Clifftop Coastal Reserve @Steve Attwood
Kowai River Walking Track, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Visit Hurunui
Kowai River Walking Track @Visit Hurunui

Take a Walk at the Kowai River Walking Track

Kowai River Walking Track is a beautiful walking track that follows the river through native bush. It is located approximately 92 kilometres from Hanmer Springs. The walking track is 5.3 kilometres long and takes around two hours to complete.

The track starts beside the Kowai River Bridge, Leithfield and takes you alongside the Kowai River to the coastal lagoon and beach spit. Along the way, you will see a variety of native birds and plant life.

Car parking facility is available. Please keep in mind that the track is a little bumpy in places. Therefore, it is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.

Check Out Cathedral Cliffs

Cathedral Cliffs are massive cliffs made of limestone and siltstone. The location is around 103 kilometres from Hanmer Springs and is a superb photo opportunity. Cathedral Cliffs are just a few of the attractions to see along “The Gore Bay Tourist Drive.”

Cathedral Cliffs in Hurunui region of New Zealand. Scenic view in Gore Bay.
Cathedral Cliffs in Hurunui

Hanmer Springs Walks

There are plenty of walking tracks in Hanmer Springs. The following walks have been described by the Department of Conservation Hanmer Forest Park in Hanmer Forest Park, Canterbury region –

Majuba Walk, New Zealand @Visit Hurunui
Majuba Walk @Visit Hurunui
  • Arboretum Track
  • Fir Trail
  • Woodland Walk
  • Dog Stream Reserve
  • Conical Hill Walk
  • Nature Trail
  • Forest Amble
  • Camp Track
  • Forest Walk
  • Majuba Walk

For walking fans, also check the following Hanmer Trails. The website is an excellent introduction to lesser-known walks such as The Timberland trail, The Forest Journey, Jolliffe Saddle Trail and Upper Dog Stream Trail.

Free Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Here are some things you can do for free in Hanmer Springs:

  • Take a stroll on one of the walking tracks.
  • Take a road trip checking what to do in Hurunui. It’s only 53 km away from Hanmer and definitely worth exploring the district Hanmer sits in. For road trip inspiration, check out Hurunui Road Trips.
  • Visit the Hanmer Forest
  • Hike up mount Isobel
  • Visit local art galleries
Autumn in Hurunui, New Zealand @3dworld.nz
Autumn in Hurunui @3dworld.nz

Romantic Things to do in Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Forest Walks, New Zealand @VisitHurunui
Hanmer Forest Walks @VisitHurunui

There are plenty of things to do in Hanmer Springs for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Here is a couples’ guide on romantic things you can do:

  • Get pampered with a couple’s massage at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa.
  • Do a tandem Bungy jump.
  • Take a romantic walk through the Hanmer Forest.
  • Take a ride in Hanmer Rocket.
  • Enjoy a romantic dinner.

Hanmer Springs Restaurants

Hanmer, with its polished visitor experience, is awash with excellent cafes, shops, art galleries and restaurants supporting the visitor experience. With its hospitality badges for excellence, the town does not disappoint when it comes to food and feast.

In Hanmer Springs, the best part about eating outside is that everything is within walking distance. Also, the entire gamut of cuisines is available, from classic burgers to Asian to fusion experimentation.

Here are some of our favourites restaurants to choose from:

The Powerhouse Cafe, Hanmer Springs, New Zealand @Visit Hurunui
The Powerhouse Cafe, Hanmer Springs @Visit Hurunui

Hanmer Springs Accommodation

Hanmer Springs Hotel, Hanmer Spings, Canterbury, New Zealand @Visit Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs Hotel @Visit Hanmer Springs

The distinctive Art Deco-style hotel (1930) was a landmark in the early days of tourism and helped make this small town grow. While the hotel has closed, there are numerous accommodation options, ranging from a campground to luxury spa lodges.

Whatever your budget, whether it be for a short break, a weekend away or a long holiday with the family and friends or a romantic getaway, Hanmer Springs has a place to stay for you. Check out Hanmer Springs Accommodation for more details.

There are a variety of camping options to suit every budget and preference. You can find cheap, no-frills spots or comfortable standard motels that offer amenities. Check for details and remember travelling times for your must-go activities.

Is Hanmer Springs Worth Visiting?

Yes, Hanmer Springs is definitely worth visiting.

The small town has a lot to offer in terms of things to do and see. From hiking and biking trails to hot springs and spas, there’s something for everyone. The village is also very walkable, so you won’t need a car to get around. Accommodation options are plentiful, so you’re sure to find something to suit your budget.

All in all, Hanmer Springs makes for a great getaway destination.

Where do I go After Hanmer Springs?

Here are some ideas for things to do after Hanmer Springs:

  • Visit the nearby town of Amberley and explore its vineyards.
  • Visit Cheviot
  • Explore the wineries of Waipara.
  • Head to Christchurch and check out the city’s sight.

Travel pack information

The journey is worth it.

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