© NZPocketGuide.com
© NZPocketGuide.com

Hanmer Springs: From Relaxing Hot Pools to Epic Waterslides

© NZPocketGuide.com

234 Days on the Road

Let’s not beat around the bush. Yes, Hanmer Springs may have some amazing bike trails, hikes, quad biking, a farm park, ski field and more, but there is one activity almost everyone is going to try out when they stay in the resort town of Hanmer Springs. There’s no messing around. We are making the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa our first activity for our stay in Hanmer Springs.

When to go to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools

The Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools are open from 10am-9pm, which means we can rock up to the pools whenever it is most convenient. There is also the option to buy a “Return Pass” for just a few dollars extra should you want to come back in the same day when you can’t get enough. For us, we decide soaking in some hot pools would be our reward for a day’s work. So we rock up at the pools around 5.30pm. During this busy summer season, we also figured this would be the quietest time to come as it is dinner time for most folks.

Togs (that’s Kiwi for swimwear) and towels packed, we walk into the Hanmer Springs entrance, pay our entry, and pick up a waterslides wristband for an extra $10. As you may have noticed from this 365 Days doing 365 Activities, that we are not very good at relaxing for too long…

Where to start?!

Walking through the automatic doors to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools, we are met with a huge sign showing a map of the whole complex and this complex is HUGE! Aqua Therapy Pools, Hexagonal Hot Pools, Rock Pools, Sulphur Pools, Freshwater Pool, Lazy River, Waterslide, Superbowl Ride… Where the hell do we start? Well, the changing rooms would be a good start…

The night of the superbowl!

The Superbowl Ride draws us first, but getting there is quite the journey itself! We walk past the tiers of the Sulphur Pools on multiple levels opposite no-nonsense Hexagonal Pools, looking like your standard hot pool design on a larger scale. Then we cross a bridge over a stream connecting the more natural-feeling rock pools leading to a walkway though some native bush plantings. We emerge at an awesome waterslides area that makes us go: “Woah!”

There is the blue and yellow striped bowl suspended in the area, known as the Superbowl Ride, while next door are two more twisting and turning water slides above our heads… And yes, the water is heated!

Round and round the bowl

We waste no time getting the double inflatable tube and climbing the tower to the top of the slide. The climb starts with rushed enthusiasm until we realise: “Oh yeah, we’re not kids!” Then we start huffing and puffing for however many flights of stairs we have left.

The green light is already on to tell us to go, since not many people are around using the waterslides at this time (5.30pm, people! The timing is working out perfectly). Robin makes sure to give us the biggest push we can as we slide down the tube slide and emerge in the huge “Superbowl”! Round, round we go in the bowl, wooping and laughing at how ridiculously fun this is. Once we lose momentum and slow down in the middle of the bowl, our tube threatens to slide into the next waterslide backwards… And it does, sending us down the slide with a huge splash at the end of the ride. As we clamber out of the tube, we look at each other… Should we go again?

Admit it! You want a go!

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Hours of sliding…

So as you can imagine, we spend a bit of time here taking single tubes, double tubes, racing on the other water slides without the tubes… We almost forget that Hanmer Springs also has a relaxing side too.

Relaxing in the rock pools

After dunking our head in the waterfall and floating around in the Lazy River, we finally decide to relax. We are super spoiled for choice when it comes to hot pools in Hanmer Springs. Did we mention how HUGE this complex is?! With pools varying in different temperatures, we ease into the rock pools surrounded by bush at a comfortable 30-33 degrees Celsius. With this little rock pool to ourselves in this natural-feeling setting, we are in heaven right now.

Hot pool conversations

Once acclimated, we slowly make our way up various hot pool streams lined with rocks and plants until we find a hotter pool at around 37 degrees. We get chatting to a backpacking couple from Ireland, exchanging stories of white water rafting in Queenstown and exploring the Aoraki Mt Cook area. You would never think that there is a whole pools complex and towering waterslides surrounding us right now as we are nestled in this small hot pool among the trees. Our relaxation takes us well into sunset as we spot the red glow of the sun catching the tops of the trees.

The moment when you realise you spent way to long in the hot pools!

As our fingers and toes look like they have aged 60 years, we finally call it a night on the hot pools where we can get changed in changing rooms with heated flooring and a super-efficient togs drying machine! These things are epic! Just pop your togs in the machine, hold down the lid until the machine stops dancing, and, voila! Dry togs! Now the waterslides do not seem so amazing…

Back to Jack

Our day ends back at the cosy and homelike Jack in the Green backpackers, where people exchange stories of their day around the fire or play boardgames well into the night on the kitchen table.

Tomorrow, we are hitting the quad bikes for some off-roading fun. Join us then!

Having a round in the lazy river

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