134km – around two hours’ driveRenowned for its thermal pools, the resort township of Hanmer Springs is another little village that offers plenty to see and do. On your arrival, you may like to stretch your legs with a wander along the main road, taking a look through the boutique stores and cafes. Backdropped by beautiful mountains and forests, Hanmer Springs is one of those towns that makes you realise just how amazing our country is. Whether you’re keen to just relax or you’re looking for a little adventure, you’ll find something here that ticks the boxes. During winter, the Hanmer Springs Ski Area (about 20km from the township) is popular with families, with a variety of runs suitable for all levels. If you’ve got an animal lover travelling with you, head to the Hanmer Springs Animal Park (Rippingale Road), where you can get up close with deer, goats, emu, donkeys, and even a Tibetan yak. And if you’ve got a few days up your sleeve, and you’re feeling fit, you can join a multi-day backcountry llama adventure. Now that’s different! But at this time of year, you wouldn’t head to Hanmer Springs without stopping for a soak at the thermal pools. The pools are mineral-rich and are surrounded by beautiful native gardens and views of the mountains beyond. It can be a little chilly underfoot during winter though, so be sure to take some shoes that are easy to slip on and off as you walk between pools. A warm robe is a good idea too! And for summer this year, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa has something special in store, with a new 13.5-metre-high thrill ride, plus five new thermal pools. These will be linked by waterfalls and waters cascading over the river boulders between.
Stop on the way
- Waiau Ferry Bridge – just after the turn-off from SH7 to Hanmer Springs. A great spot for capturing a beautiful scenic photo