There are some exciting new developments in the works near Canterbury’s northern border, so we caught up with Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa Executive General Manager Graeme Abbot about why this alpine oasis is the hottest place to head this year.
Can you tell us about the exciting new developments happening at the hot pools?
Sure! It’s all go in New Zealand’s alpine spa village. We’ve begun construction on a new $4.5 million development that will add five new thermal pools and an aquatic thrill ride to the complex. These will be open in time for summer.
First open will be the new pools. These are set among river boulder terraces and native gardens. Bathers will soak in our famous mineral-filled waters with the sounds of waterfalls and nature around them. We’re also really excited about our new 13.5m high aquatic thrill slide. It will open in November and will be the only ride like it in New Zealand.
What sustainability measures have been incorporated into the new development?
The new pools are designed to be super water efficient, with no holding tanks. We’ve also had to pioneer a new construction technique that saw them built on piles (instead of being dug into the ground) to protect tree roots below – this was a big process with 280 piles and added cost to the project, but was worth it.
Readers may also remember that last year we became the first in New Zealand to have a micro-turbine generator that uses waste methane (that comes out of the ground with our thermal water) to generate electricity. It was an exciting project that powers around 10 percent of the complex’s electricity. Now we’re capturing the heat the generator produces and using that to reheat our thermal water – it’s a pretty cool innovation that will provide half of the energy for the new developments.
You’ve got a slide naming competition running until 31 July, what sort of inspiration are you looking for?
Something awesome! The slide will be the only one of its kind in New Zealand and, given the impressive nature of it, this new addition needs an equally impressive name. We want something bold, fun and energising – because we promise you, this one is going to get the blood pumping through your veins! We have had more than one person suggest ‘Dave’ as a name but we’re sorry, that won’t do!
Why is this time of year a great time for people to head over your way?
Winter brings with it the possibility of snow, making it our favourite time of the year at the pools. If you’ve ever been to the pools during a snowfall, you’ll know why! It really is magical soaking in the hot waters, watching snow gently fall around you and melting as it hits the thermal waters. It brings with it a real sense of tranquillity and stillness, which is great for the mind and soul.
What are your recommendations for things to do and see over your way for people from Christchurch heading over for the day or the weekend?
The next time you come our way, take your time! Stay overnight instead of just making a daytrip. That will give you time to take a walk up Conical Hill, or along the Waterfall Track, before peddling through the village on the Rockets. Or jump on a horse or mountain bike to see another side to Hanmer Springs. Try out your mini golf skills and dine in at any one of the local spots.
We have a new Forest Walk featuring huge sculptures in the forest (look out for the BFG) which the kids will love or you can jump in the car and head ‘over the back’ and discover some spots locals love (just ask a villager which way to go!).
What other exciting things do you have in store over the next 12 months?
We have something really cool planned for younger kids – stay tuned!
Majuba Gallery in Hanmer Springs is a contemporary art space, showcasing a collection created by an array of talented, local artists – whether it is a stunning piece of artwork or beautiful jewellery.
One of its current featured artists is Florence Egasse, who paints a vibrant ensemble of florals, colourful abstracts and contemporary landscapes. With a very much experimental and intuitive body of work, her bold, playful style is constantly evolving. Finding her inspiration from nature, children’s drawings, travels and interior design, each of Flo’s paintings are unique.
The Christchurch-based, self-taught artist discovered art in the galleries and museums of Paris as a child, but her interest in painting was truly ignited during her time working in French museums studying the composition and techniques of classic and modern artists. Don’t miss Flo’s beautiful artwork on your next visit to Hanmer Springs!
Find Majuba Gallery next to Up the Garden Path. Follow them on Facebook or phone 03 315 5053.
Recovering from the adrenalin adventures Hanmer Springs is known for has never been as easy or as relaxing as it has been since Mickey Raes burst open its doors in this winter wonderland.
It’s been a year since Wendy Lamont took her formerly home-based business to the next level, with a beautiful store in Hanmer Springs’ Boulder Point Precinct. “It’s taken off so much more than I had ever hoped,” Wendy says. “Without sounding cliché, we really are a one stop shop for crafts and giftware, with something here for everyone.”
Mickey Raes is nestled comfortably in the figurative and literal heart of Hanmer, opposite the duck pond and, with Boulder Point Precinct’s exceptional spread of businesses offering everything from coffee and a bite to eat, to gourmet burgers and beautiful Scandinavian clothing, it’s the ultimate spot to spend a recovery day off the slopes.
Crafts such as knitting, crochet, sewing and quilting have been experiencing a serious resurgence and Mickey Raes stocks a full range of craft, sewing and knitting supplies, fabrics and haberdashery. Craft kits, including the popular Diamond Dotz, provide everything you need for some clever projects to keep you busy and there’s a range of books to teach you what you need to know. Better yet, you can whip up some winter warmers with the large supply of wool you can find here.
“It’s a great opportunity to try out some new crafts and activities without spending too much and winter is the best time to give them all a go!” True to Wendy’s history as a wedding accessory supplier, she stocks all those handy last minute extras that might be needed on the day, “such as bridal horse shoes, car ribbons and the emergency veil,” she laughs.
It’s a great stop for giftware, including christenings and 21st presents and Wendy even makes custom made Christmas stockings. There’s a carefully curated range of eco-friendly products, including pet beds made from recycled bottle fibre. “We’re celebrating being open a year and it has been an amazing year. I’m thankful to all the wonderful customers who have supported me over the past year.”
Winter is well and truly here and a trip to Maruia Springs Thermal Resort or Hanmer Springs to thaw out in the hot pools wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t stop at the Red Post Café to sit by the open fire for a barista-made coffee or sample some hot winter fare like a cottage pie, a bowl of fresh seafood chowder or some fish pie.
With friendly, efficient service you can relax in the warm ambience that is Red Post Café. Settling in to eat you may see the odd car club event that makes Red Post a regular stop because they’ve come to appreciate the venue for what it is: great food in a great environment.
They are ready and waiting to host groups, but make sure you let them know you’re on your way, especially if you’re after the blue cod or Southland cheese rolls, because these beauties sell fast. With a cabinet full of fresh treats for the weary traveller, there will be something for everyone, including gluten free and vegetarian options.
If you’re visiting North Canterbury for the first time, Trent, Carolyn and their staff will be able to help you with local knowledge and make your experience just that little bit more special. North Canterbury has so much to offer and Red Post Café should be the first stop on your journey to this winter wonderland.
At 8 Crisholm Crescent in the new Boulder Point Precinct at the wonderful Hanmer Springs is a 1950s American style diner, designing burgers with both American and Kiwi interpretations.
Why not try the ‘New Zealamb’; battered roast lamb, tomato jam and onion rings in a customised burger bun (fresh from Hanmer Bakery daily) or the Philly cheese Steak – so tender, blanketed in a rich Philly cheese sauce, with fried onion, pickles and capsicum romping along for a sweet ride.
Mmmmmmm yeah. There are old favourites and new tempters to try – combos and specials. Where’s the sauce? Why it’s in the burgers of course – a full range of sauces, mayonnaise and tasty condiments are available, along with locally supplied produce from the cornucopia that is North Canterbury and the Hanmer district.
It’s doesn’t have to be summer to enjoy Soft Serve Soda Floats, milkshakes, thick shakes, sundaes and, of course, gluten free is available. There’s nothing better than a great burger and fries to fill that hole in your stomach after expending so much energy on the adventures to be found in Hanmer Springs and Boulder Burgers has the perfect combinations for you.
Southern-fried chicken North Canterbury style is coming soon to add a bit of spice to your life! Biodegradable packaging is used wherever possible because this is a team that thinks about the importance of being ecologically responsible.
Open every day, with winter hours 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-late weekdays, weekends 11am-8:30pm. Boulder Burgers – committed to creating your ultimate burger!
Situated next to the lake behind the Heritage Hotel is the idyllic Village Lake Apartments. The 13 two-three bedroom apartments are incredibly spacious and provide all the convenience of being at home, with the luxury of a five-star premium, luxury hotel and just a short stroll from all the major amenities in Hanmer Springs. Each room contains everything you’ll need for that pamper session, with that special quality that allows you to spread out and feel at home.
It’s a wonderful time of year to visit the idyllic Hanmer Springs Hot Pools and relax in the splendour that is the Village Lake Apartments. As a Gold Sponsor for the upcoming Hanmer Springs Fete on Friday, 1 November, what a wonderful excuse for a long weekend away for a family or couple.
With the Hanmer thermal resort only 600 metres away and a plethora of Hanmer’s best restaurants and bars close by, it’s the perfect location for any occasion; a birthday, a girls’ weekend away, retirement or a family trip.
Gift vouchers are available if you want to give a gift to someone special but why not just spoil yourself? Even a corporate function can be accommodated for with everything you require for that important team getaway. Just contact the team to discuss your requirements.
With specials available don’t hesitate to go to their website to keep updated on what’s happening or call on 03 315 5288. Situated at 1 Rutherford Crescent, Village Lake Apartments is your choice for your next trip to Hanmer Springs.
Accommodation in Hanmer doesn’t come any better than the five-star Clear Ridge apartments. This is a wonderful time of year to come and enjoy the tranquility of Hanmer and the surrounding district.
Chill out in the spacious large apartments and enjoy the serenity of the mountain views with family or friends. These fully equipped, spacious apartments cater for the needs of any family, couple or group that are looking for a taste of luxury in Hanmer. Perhaps it’s a girls’ weekend away for some pampering or that boys’ trip for a great game of golf. Clear Ridge is perfectly located close to all the amenities one might need.
The knowledgeable staff can assist you with any function requirements if it’s a birthday, corporate or family event and provide top of the line service for your needs. Of course, it doesn’t need to be said that it’s the perfect retreat for the romantic couple; with an outdoor spa, it’s ideal.
There is a deluxe double spa bath in most apartments to take advantage of, the pool and BBQ area to keep the family entertained and a lift to assist you reaching the top floors, which have an incredible view across the mountains. Clear Ridge is your next choice for a function, family holiday or corporate venue for a taste of luxury.
Christmas in July? What craziness is this?! It’s Salt N Pepper in Hanmer Springs bringing you the wonder of Christmas fare with a three course Christmas feast of course! Bookings are essential as it is on for only 2 Fridays in July – from 5pm on Friday 19 and Friday 26 July you can savour three delicious courses.
They set the venue with decorations for Christmas with crackers on the tables and the fire is always on when the weather is cool. For those that still want to sit outside, there are heaters and complementary loan blankets – there is already snow on the mountains and you can enjoy some winter fare.
With a stunning view of Conical Hill, a menu of outstanding food and a selection of incredible beverages and beer to choose from, it’s no surprise that everyone is flocking to Salt N Pepper while in Hanmer Springs to retreat and relax. With options for all tastes, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free included, there’s something special for everyone. It’s not just Christmas Fare in July that’s good; every day of the week has an indulgence at Salt N Pepper.
Open 7am to 9pm and fully licensed for beer and wine, put Salt N Pepper on your itinerary for a visit to the thermal wonderland that is Hanmer Springs. Take your break overlooking the duck pond at Boulder Point Precinct, 8 Chisholm Crescent.
Tourist or local. Sporty or sideline support – you can enjoy the idyllic New Zealand landscape while taking part in one of Hanmer’s many sporting events. Whether you like a challenging mountain bike trail through native forest or prefer a more technical approach on the golf course – Hanmer Springs can offer something for everyone.
Hanmer has been a mecca for sporting events since the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pool & Spa facilities became intensely popular. Crowds are drawn to the weekend lifestyle of play hard and relax. The idea of being pushed to your limits in a sporting activity on the Saturday knowing you can relax whichever way you prefer on the Sunday is a great motivation to head out to this recreation hotspot.
Upcoming events to note:
• Check out the 4 and 8 hour mountain biking race Saturday 16 March at Hanmer Springs Forest. This event is a community fundraiser. If you think you have the stamina give this beast a go. Fancy a team building excursion? Enter your work or school group in the team event.
• Lion’s Easter Friday Golf Tournament 30 March. There is a handicap and non-handicap section.
As we head into winter, summer sporting events draw to a close but stay tuned for Hanmer Springs’ ski area inter-club racing, as there are more details to come. Hanmer is a popular spot for the ski community, with the Amuri Ski Club hosting its annual ball here. Get excited to ski during the day and party the night away.
Hanmer Springs, only a 90 minute drive from the city, has the reputation for being a sports destination and all that encompasses, from cycling, tramping and off roading, to boating, fishing, bird watching and hunting.
The less known secret is that Hanmer Springs is the perfect destination for a day trip or longer, simply when you need to recharge your batteries. The topic of mental health is a ‘hot’ global focus, with research validating the importance of brain breaks, going for a walk or just taking time to unwind. This helps your body operate in peak condition in today’s warp-speed society where the to-do lists are long and seemingly never-ending.
A change of scenery is the best medicine, even if only for an hour or two. The physical pick me up a change of scenery provides is invaluable when you return refreshed, clear-headed and ready to tackle your list again. As the year is now totally underway, put yourself at the top of your list and take care of your mental health. When you are in the need of a change of scenery, think outside the box for a place to take refuge and experience some quiet.
A place you can spend an afternoon by yourself or with a loved one, just meandering for a stroll or having a cup of tea, or just sitting under a tree on the grass. The drive to Hanmer Springs can be just as calming as you listen to music or a book on tape or just enjoy the quiet of the road.