Published: March 27th 2009March 4th 2009
After all the hard work we have been doing in the pub we decided to give ourselves something to look forward to and remind ourselves why it is that we are in New Zealand in the first place and that its not all about work. What better place to do that than Hanmer springs.
Our house mates Bea and Sebastian always have Tuesdays off and also own a car, so after a little organisation we requested Monday night and Tuesday off from work so that all of us could head up to the mountains. We set off around 7ish which meant the drive was all the more beautiful as we could see the light changing over the landscape. Actually I say we, I only got to see half of it as I slept much of the way. I had been working the night before until 7am because I had wanted to watch the Carling cup final and the only way I could do that was to open the pub and work - which as jobs go isn't too bad except my team lost and I ended up being too tired to see all of the beautiful countryside.
about three hours to get to Hanmer so we arrived in the dark and quickly found a campsite, pitched our tents, opened the beers and spent the next hour chatting and marvelling at the night sky. The sky was perfectly clear and we could see the stars in all their glory, I am sure I saw a shooting one aswell but then my eyes may have been playing tricks due to sleep deprivation.
In the morning we set off for a walk through the forest before our afternoons relaxation at the springs. Hanmer is a small alpine town surrounded by forest with thermal waters running under its streets. It is beautiful and is billed as the relaxation destination of the south island. Perfect for honeymooners too which is handy as we're still technically on ours. Everything that is written about the place seemed true, its also incredibly easy to navigate with all of the forest walks sign posted with duration times and difficulty ratings - New Zealand does seem like a well organised place, at least for tourists. We decided to take a short walk which took roughly an hour, as is often the case and I am sure
we have said it before - it was beautiful. Autumn had started to set in which made the woodland that bit more colourful and there was a slight chill in the air but nothing a fleece couldn't keep out. Along the way we encountered some fantastic toad stools which need to be seen to be believed. I kept looking for fairies that I imagined would sit on them. Come to think about it, there wasn´t any animal life (fantasy or otherwise) that I can remember but then the noise we were making and Sebastians attempt to recreate the Blair witch project probably didn't help.
After our strenuous hike! we headed to the pools which at 12 dollars each seemed a pretty good deal. I think there are two spas in Hanmer but the main one and cheapest (the one we went to) is set bang in the middle of the town. Again the spa was brilliantly organised with a perfectly laid out map explaining the temperature of each pool, what minerals each one contained and their benefits. Over the course of 3 hours we found ourselves hopping between the different pools and also mucking about with Sebastians underwater camera
in the childrens pool. Visiting at the beginning of the week was perfect as it wasn´t very busy so we were really able to relax. The hottest pools were the sulphur ones which as you can imagine had a distinct eggy smell but were so comfortable it was easy to overcome the stink.
Three hours relaxing really took it out of us and by the end we were all ready for bed and if it hadn't have been for the fact we had to head back to Christchurch I am sure we could of all happily dozed off. As it was we fueled ourselves up with some bargain fish and chips (fush n chups as they say in NZ) and Helen drove us home and I even managed to stay awake to see the scenery.
We´re back at the grindstone now, but only for a few more weeks!!
There are more photos below