What to Do in Hanmer Springs: New Zealand’s Alpine Spa Village
Hanmer Springs strikes the right balance of relaxation and adventure. The alpine spa village in the Canterbury region of the South Island is famous for its natural hot springs pumped into the huge Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools complex. But the hot pools is just a great way to end your day here in this alpine paradise. Enjoy walks through pine forests, jet boat tours, white water rafting, quad biking, bungy jumping, multi-day cycle trails, archery and more throughout your stay. Be inspired by this list of things to do in Hanmer Springs.
1. Go for a Walk in the Hanmer Forest
There are plenty of places to stretch your legs in the forests surrounding Hanmer Springs. For a short walk, do the Conical Hill Walk (1-hour return) which is a steep climb through pine forest with rewarding views. Alternatively, the Woodlands Walk is another 1-hour walk is a flat and easy walk suitable for the whole family.
Location: Conical Hill – start from Conical Hill Road, Woodland Walk – start from Jollies Pass Road.
2. Ride the St James Cycle Trail
An awesome mountain bike trail awaits in the St James Conservation Area just north of Hanmer Springs. The 60km trail from Maling Pass to St James Homestead takes you through the stunning Clarence and Waiau valleys. The trail is mostly a grade 3 intermediate trail with a grade 4 section between Saddle Spur Bridge and Scotties Hut. Needless to say that the trail is not for the faint of heart, but those wanting an easier half-day option can do a ride from the St James Homestead to Peters Pass with an attractive waterfall and picnic area.
Location: Tophouse Road, 13km north of Hanmer Springs
4. Unwind at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools
Hanmer Springs’ most famous attraction, the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools is a huge hot pool complex and water park. Relax in the 15 different outdoor pools including a lazy river and pools nestles in natural settings. For those wanting a bit more excitement, there are several waterslides and a children’s play pool. See more 10 Damn Relaxing Hot Pools in New Zealand.
Location: 42 Amuri Avenue
5. Go White Water Rafting
It’s you and your team against the choppy waters of the Waiau River on this exciting grade 2-3 rafting trip. Suitable for families and rafting newbies, this white water rafting trip with Hanmer Springs Attractions features dramatic views of soaring peaks and marble land formations. In the crystal clear waters, just try to resist jumping out of your raft for a swim.
Location: Ferry Bridge
6. Jump on a Quad Bike Tour
Explore the exciting terrain of the Hanmer Springs area on a thrilling self-drive quad bike tour. There are two options for quad biking in Hanmer Springs: with the Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre or with Hanmer Springs Attractions. The first takes you through farm and forest and to spectacular viewpoints, while the latter speeds along creeks, rivers and farms.
Location: Adventure Centre -20 Conical Hill Road. Hanmer Springs Attractions – Ferry Bridge.
7. Do the Hanmer Springs Bungy Jump
If you’re looking to tick “bungy jump” off the bucket list, then you can do it right here in Hanmer Springs. The Hanmer Springs Bungy is 35m high and admittedly, the shortest one in the country – but hey, at least you can still say you’ve done one. The jump is from the historic Ferry Bridge where you’ll take the leap over the Waiau River.
Location: Ferry Bridge
8. Jump on a Jet Boat Tour
Adventure-seekers have two jet boat trips to choose from in Hanmer Springs. The Amuri Jet and the Hanmer Springs Attractions jet boat both offer 30-35-minutes blasts down the Waiau River taking you through narrow gorges, shallow braided sections and features 360-degree spins!
Location: Amuri Jet –869 Hanmer Springs Road, Hanmer Springs Attractions – Ferry Bridge.
9. Try Archery or Clay Pigeon Shooting
Get full instruction on archery or clay bird shooting at the Hanmer Springs Adventure Centre. All the equipment is provided, with advice to improve your shots as you go, as well as few challenges to tackle along the way. It’s a great way to get competitive with your mates or loved ones.
Location: Adventure Centre – 20 Conical Hill Road
10. Do Some Wine Tasting
For a change of pace, sit down to a wine tasting at the Waiau River Estate. Among some of New Zealand’s highest altitude vineyards, Waiau River Estate grows a range of varietals, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. They are open Friday to Monday. For more wineries in the area, see our 10 Wonderful Wineries in the Waipara Valley.
Location: 2254 Mouse Point Road, 13km south of Hanmer Springs