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“The village has lots of clothing shops and quality restaurants, and there is such a wide variety of outdoor activities in the most picturesque setting. It’s such a stress-free pace that you can’t help but chill out.” JA S O N F L E TC H E R

“There’s just so much to do here,” she enthuses. “So many activities that are free too, like the forest walks, hiking and biking. On top of those there are all the adventure type activities such as golf, bungy jumping, jet boating and clay target shooting.” Her father-in-law Jason Fletcher moved his family to the area in 2005 seeking a lifestyle change. “We’d previously bought a holiday home there when passing through one day, managed that for a while and then decided it would be a good business. “We have it all here,” he explains, “The rest and relaxation side of things and then all the activities. There’s such a variety; you can [bungy] jump off a bridge, hop on a motorbike – or a mountain bike, play golf or just take a walk, and at the same time you can relax with a soak in the hot pools, a spa treatment or read a good book. Most visitors do a combination of both activity and relaxation.” Jason aka ‘Fletch’ says the biggest drawcard Hanmer has is that there really is something for everyone in the family to do. “The village has lots of clothing shops and quality restaurants, and there is such a wide variety of outdoor activities in the most picturesque setting. “It’s such a stress-free pace that you can’t help but chill out.”

Evolving attractions

Along with the tried-and-true attractions there are a few events evolving as Hanmer cements its reputation as a go-to destination. One is the inaugural Hanmer Springs Fete on 1st November this year. Touted as North Canterbury’s finest shopping event, the fete will be held in the panoramic grounds of the historic Queen Mary Hospital, with a Christmas theme and more than 100 high-quality stalls from across New Zealand. Other events showcasing the area include the well-known Hurunui Garden Tours, held the same weekend as the fete this year. A member of the Hanmer Springs Community Board, Rosemary Ensor married a local farmer and moved there 55 years ago. “It’s a lot different now,” she laughs. “When I first arrived it was a small village centered around Queen Mary Hospital. Lots of services were available thanks to the hospital being there. The hot pools were there but not developed and there definitely wasn’t any bungy jumping or jetboating.” Hurunui Tourism marketing manager Shane Adcock says Hanmer Springs’ reputation as New Zealand’s alpine spa village continues to grow. 32

Above: Left - Hire a mountain bike and explore Right: The hot springs and spa offer a variety of relaxation options

“Surrounded by mountains, lush forests and a laid-back atmosphere, it’s a destination like no other. “The charming main street is lined with giant redwood trees and an array of quality boutique shops. The smell of coffee wafts out of cafés and there’s a special relaxing buzz in the alpine air. “The stunning natural landscape also provides the ideal backdrop to keep everyone entertained – including a golf course, jetboating and a large network of mountain biking and walking tracks.”

Thermal pools revamp

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is at the heart of the village and most people spoken to agree that it is absolutely the best place to relax and indulge. From its therapeutic natural thermal waters and award-winning spa to the crazy fun of the hydro-slides, the complex offers something for everyone. Shane says this year is exciting, with new offerings including a new aquatic thrill ride. A $4.5m revamp is underway at the pool complex, including construction of five new pools at a cost of about $2.3m. The new area is expected to be open to the public by October. “Hanmer Springs is the place where people come to relax and rejuvenate. Whether that’s soaking in our famous waters, indulging at one of the spas or hitting one of the walking or mountain bike trails.”

Profile for WildTomato

WildTomato June 2019  

Local Distilleries | New Hospice | Hanmer Springs | Marlborough Book Festival | Mountain Bike Club | Arts Festival Trust | Fashion Finery |...

WildTomato June 2019  

Local Distilleries | New Hospice | Hanmer Springs | Marlborough Book Festival | Mountain Bike Club | Arts Festival Trust | Fashion Finery |...