Hamner Springs is a small adventure packed holiday destination that sits 90 minutes north of Christchurch. Its a popular location for kiwi holiday makers and attracts many tourists of which it relies on.
It has a great community and the locals are extremely helpful and informative. At the centre of town is a high street, restaurants and the thermal pools. A 15 minute walk north will take you to Hamner forest and a 15 minute walk west will lead you to Conical Hill.
♦ Conical Hill. This hill dominates the western side of Hamner Springs. We spent a leisurely hour walking up and down this hill. Upon reaching the top and we spent quite a while just watching the world slowly go by, the view is fantastic and looks down the valley out to the mountains and hills that surround you in all directions.
♦ Hamner Forest. All you need is a $3 map of the forest tracks and you’ll be off whether your on foot or on a mountain bike.
♦ Mountain Biking. A great way to explore the forest – If you want to hire a mountain bike check out Hamner Springs Adventure Centre (we paid $45 for 4hr pp). All the tracks are graded from easy to advanced, beware though, advanced means advanced, steep ascents, descents and narrow uneven paths. The easy tracks are suitable for all with the intermediate tracks offering a bit of excitement if easy is too mundane. A great way to spend an afternoon and feels good to get the blood pumping again.
♦ Adventure attractions. Hamner is home to a plethora of adventure activities. We splashed out here spending $160 NZD on a two person quad bike trip and $140 on rafting.
The quad bike trip was awesome. Sophie nearly killed us much to the guides dismay. They hold you back a lot here so if you want to go wild get to the back of the line of bikes and give yourself some playing room. You’ll go through rivers, through fields and over a dessert like area. All in all a really fun trip.
We decided to do the rafting the following day. It was a small raft with 4 of us in it. Our expectation was different from what it turned out to be. We expected rapids but the river provided at best ripples. It was enjoyable, we got out of the raft and floated downstream for a little bit but it wasn’t the heart racing experience we were looking for. We felt lucky at the end when we were collected by a Jetboat and rocketed back up stream to the start point. It was awesome, we fell like we got twice as much as we paid for.
♦ Thermal pools and spa. These are in the centre of Hamner and have it all. This place is a mini water park. You’ll find the wonderfully relaxing hot baths ranging from boiling hot to warm as well as a standard 25 metre swimming pool, a children’s pool and a couple of great water slides! We really enjoyed this place and would go as far to say that they are our favourite hot pools in New Zealand.
♦ An Evening in Hamner. On top of all of the activities that Hamner offers the evening atmosphere also has it all. We decided to go out for a meal where we were pleasantly surprised to find fires burning in a particular restaurant which drew us in. Once inside there was a live musician who had a fantastic voice. It was a lovely evening in a lovely little town.
♦ Accommodation. There are a few options here – Your looking at $35 per night in a dorm room. This high price is due to there being so few backpacker hostels. We found it cheaper to book a non-powered cabin for the night at Alpine Adventure Holiday Park, for both of us it came to only $40 NZD! Another good option is to camp at Hamner Springs Forest Camps, it’ll cost you $14 per person for a tent site.
♦ Transport. When in Hamner Springs everything is within walking distance. If you book activities that are a bit further out you will find that most companies will collect you from your accomodation.