Our guide on what to do in Hanmer Springs
Surrounded by mountains, redwood forest and a relaxed alpine atmosphere – Hanmer Springs is a great place to unwind. With the perfect balance of family fun and adult-only indulgence, this small alpine village will leave you feeling rejuvenated and wanting to come back for more! We’ve put together our Hanmer Springs top 10 activities to ensure you maximise your time in this beautiful little nook of New Zealand. For where to stay in Hanmer Springs, take a look here!
See our top 10 things to do on your trip to Hanmer Springs…
1. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa
The village of Hanmer Springs came to fruition when their incredible thermal springs were discovered in the late 1800s. Since then, these springs have grown into the most popular activity in the region! Boasting both family-friendly and adult-only pools, there are many experiences to be had! From a waterslide all ages will love to private pools with aqua therapy. With the pools surrounded by views of redwood forests and mountains, it’s hard to resist wanting to take a dip!
2. Head out on a bike ride
Hanmer Springs is the ultimate playground for cyclists. With mountain biking trails that cater to those seeking an adrenaline rush or just a chill pedal, there are over 30 kilometres of trails to suit all skill levels. Bike rentals are available in the town centre, so there really is no excuse not to ride a bike!
3. Explore the Waiau River Gorge
The teal blue waters of the Waiau River give Hanmer Springs that extra magical touch and is the perfect setting for an epic water adventure! Whether it be via a jet boat, canoe or raft, you are guaranteed to have a memorable experience. For those brave enough, there’s also a bungy jump off the historic Ferry Bridge into the river itself with a 35-metre free fall!
1. Favourite family activities in Hanmer Springs?
The hot pools are of course a must, as is the animal park! Mini golf (A-Maze-N-Golf or Alpine Crazy Putt), also the jet boats and bungy jump off the Hanmer Bridge. Heaps of families also come for the great forest walks and cycling tracks. The ski fields in winter are amazing as well for plenty of fun in the snow.
2. Best park or beach?
The dog stream forrest walk is magical for kids with heaps of hidden fairy doors in trees and magical creatures to be found!
3. What to do if it’s raining as a family?
The hot pools are great in the rain. Shopping in the lovely town centre, or get a good massage while you have a babysitter for the kids.
4. Best family friendly cafe or restaurant?
Fire and Ice has an integrated playground. Salt and Pepper has high chairs and is opposite a playground and duck park. Also you receive 10% off as a Bachcare guest at Salt and Pepper! If you want a full guide to the best restaurants in Hanmer Springs, click here!
5. Any other advice for families planning a trip?
If you’re coming with small toddlers, make sure you bring a carrier. You can’t take the buggy up to the waterfalls on hikes so a carrier is best.
4. Ride a horse through Hurunui District
As part of the Hurunui District, Hanmer Springs is a great home base to incredible backcountry experiences, which is best seen on a horse! With trails that cater to all abilities and go through native bush, river crossings and around alpine lakes, you’re bound to feel like the original explorers of the Hurunui District.
5. Channel your inner snow bunny
It comes as no surprise that the surrounding alpine terrain comes with some incredible ski areas! The Hanmer Springs Ski Area at Mt St Patrick is only 20 kilometres from the village centre and are equipped with three tows and 52 hectares of exploration for the pros. And for the non-skiers, you can still channel your inner snow bunny with sledding and tubing!
6. Have a family friendly golf competition
There’s no better way to inspire some healthy competition in your family than a great game of golf and Hanmer Springs offers multiple options. For a fun family day out, enjoy the mini-putt golf courses at A-Maze-N-Golf or Alpine Crazy Putt. Those keen for a splurge can take in the stunning Hurunui District views at the prestigious Hanmer Springs Golf Club.
7. Go for a leisurely stroll
Of all the Hanmer Springs activities there are to choose from, going for a walk is an absolute must! Nothing calms the soul more than strolling through a pathway covered with trees and Hanmer Springs does a fantastic job of catering to exactly that. There is a network of walkways that lead from the village to the stunning surrounding nature. Make sure to find the art in the forest on the Amble walk at Hanmer Heritage Forest and the waterfall during the Spur Track walk.
8. A day out in Waipara Valley
With so many things to do in Hanmer Springs, don’t forget to take time to explore the surrounding region. An afternoon at Waipara Valley is the perfect day trip from Hanmer Springs. Under an hour’s drive, Waipara Valley is a stunning area that is rich in great wine, market gardens, truffières, braided rivers and rolling hills (bliss!). Linked by well-groomed bike paths, the region can be explored for foraging, wine tasting or just soaking in the beauty of the area. For those wanting an extra special wine indulgence, make sure to book a lunch at Black Estate. With an ever-changing daily menu based on the morning’s forage and the best Pinot Noir in all the land, you’ll instantly fall in love with one of Hurunui’s most beloved wineries.
9. Embrace the Hurunui hunting ground
With country lakes, alpine backcountry and weaving rivers, Hanmer Springs is a great base to spend the day hunting and fishing. Chances are you’ll have an encounter with goose, wild boar, deer or chamois, as well as a surplus of fish swimming upstream. For those who aren’t experienced but want to give it a go, you can hire an expert to help you out with your expedition.
10. Indulge in the ultimate cheeseboard
There’s no better way to cap off a great day while on holiday than indulging in an epic cheeseboard! The Hanmer Springs’ Four Square Supermarket offers grazing platters for every occasion and every budget. With 24 hours notice, they’ll make the ultimate wine barrel platter catered for any dietary requirement—vegan cheeses are even an option. Platters are paired with the perfect local wine or beer, ensuring this local’s secret won’t stay secret for much longer.
Rainy Day Activities in Hanmer Springs
Don’t let the rain ruin your holiday. Enjoy your cozy holiday home, or step out and get some shopping done.
A spa day is the ultimate in relaxation; the rain even adds to the relaxing experience. Feed your soul at an art gallery or your stomach at a fabulous restaurant. If you need to get outside in the rain, jump in with both feet on a quad bike tour, canoe tour, or a white water rafting excursion.
There’s plenty to do on a Hamner Springs raining weather day.
Six Things To Do in Hanmer Springs When It’s Raining
1. Go Shopping
Hanmer Springs has several charming boutique shops available to peruse on a rainy day. You’ll find clothing stores, accessories, outfits for your pets, and sweet treats.
Creative Genius sells handcrafted items such as dog coats, table mats, tote bags, cushions, wooden toys, and artwork. They also have jewelry, etched woodware, and natural soaps. These handcrafted goodies are sure to delight you.
FashionWorks sells gorgeous clothing that you’ll feel right at home in.
The Decadent Fudge Company will help you forget the gloomy weather with artisan fudge and chocolates. They offer healthier treats, dairy-free fudges, and gluten-free fudges too.
The Lolly Pot offers a range of treats with all your childhood favourites. Take a sweet trip down memory lane.
2. Art Galleries
Checking out an indoor art gallery is a great way to hide from the rain while feeding your soul and expanding your horizons. Majuba Gallery features beautiful artworks and jewelry by local artists.
Inside the Hanmer Springs Library, you’ll find the Amuri Community Arts Council Gallery. Local artists have their varied and evolving art on display.
At the Tait Gallery, discover local emerging and established artists. Works on display include watercolour, ink, oil, mixed media, and acrylics. Tait Gallery also displays woodwork, glasswork, jewelry, and pottery.
There’s nothing like a bottomless cup of coffee or a hot, decadent meal to pass the time on a rainy day.
For coffee, brunch, or to taste test a variety of tapas, check out the Rustic Café & Tapa’s Bar. Local menu items include Maori bread served with chutney.
The Powerhouse Café offers spectacular brunches and gourmet coffee. The Florentine colcannon potato cake and Florentine colcannon potato cake are two popular menu items, sure to feed your tummy and your soul.
Fire & Ice Cafe has a full menu, and servers will make you feel right at home.
At Five Stags Restaurant Hanmer Springs, you’ll be immersed in a laid-back hunting lodge atmosphere. This homey restaurant serves comforting, high-quality dishes. Locals and tourists alike visit to have a beer and discuss their day.
At Monteith’s Brewery Bar, you can relax and warm up by their indoor fireplace. They serve local beers, wines, and hearty food. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a multi-course meal from an appetizer platter, followed by a delicious entree and a satisfying dessert.
4. Jeep Tour
A guided Jeep Tour is a great way to explore the stunning landscape in the Hanmer area. Since the Jeep is enclosed, you’ll be out of the rain until you are inspired to stop and take pictures. While rainy pictures might sound a bit drab, you’ll be inspired by the dramatic mood you can capture.
Jeep Tours are available for short jaunts, such as the Jacks and Jollies Pass. This one-hour tour goes to the Clarence River with stops to appreciate the scenery. Enjoy a longer Jeep Tour and visit Lake Tennyson. You’ll be treated to forest, high mountain, and water views.
Five-hour tours travel to Lake Sedgemere or the Molesworth Recreation Reserve. During the Lake Sedgemere tour, you’ll travel to 1347-meters above sea level. The weather might be quite different from this altitude! This is a great tour for viewing birdlife and water foul, who quite enjoy wet weather.
During the Molesworth tour, you’ll visit extreme landscapes from mountains to valleys. Have lunch at Cobb Cottage and view New Zealand’s largest farm with around 10,000 beef cattle on the property.
5. Hanmer Springs Animal Park
Feed the farm and exotic animals in residence at Hanmer Springs Animal Park. You’ll find lambs and sheep, goats, ponies, donkeys, llamas and alpacas, ostriches, emus, wallabies, cows, water buffalo, and deer. Geese, chickens, guinea pigs, and rabbits are also in residence.
There’s a wonderful wallaby enclosure where you can hand-feed the cute wallabies. Animals don’t mind the rain, so join in the fun. You won’t be able to stop smiling with all these adorable animals showing you how to enjoy the weather. You can bring a picnic lunch, or enjoy hot coffee and lunch at the café.
6. Quad Bike Tour
Get wet and muddy on a fun, fast-paced quad bike tour. Drive your own quad bike and follow the expert guide through the scenic Hanmer Springs landscape. You’ll push through streams, go through forest land, and get splattered by mud on this all-terrain adventure. The scenery is fabulous, the quad bikes are exciting, and the guides are fun.