Hanmer Springs is a sweet little town inland from the South Island's east coast between Christchurch and Kaikoura. It's the perfect spot for a day trip from either of these coastal spots complete with a winding mountain drive.
How to Get to Hanmer Springs
The drive from Kaikoura to Hanmer Springs is approximately 120km, taking just under two hours alongside stunning roadside views - think mountains, a waterfall or two and quiet winding roads. Watch out for sheep being herded down the road!
Things To Do in Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs is a tiny little town, perfect to explore for a day. Here's my ideas for the best things to do in town:
When you first cross the bridge into Hanmer Springs, pull over into the little gravel viewpoint for a lovely view over the river gushing through the gorge.
Main Street in Town
Hanmer Springs' core is condensed to one sweet little street surrounding a central park which, in fall, is alive with rich colour. Pick up a coffee at a local cafe and wander the leaves while you people-watch.
At the end of town, a short hike up Conical Hill will take you to a summit house with a panoramic view of the mountains and all over town. The route will take about 45 minutes round-trip.
The most famous thing to do in Hanmer Springs are of course to enjoy the thermal pools which are naturally heated. Be warned, it's not a natural looking spot, rather, more of an outdoor water park complete with a water slide for $25/adult. Buy tickets here!