On January 12th, we left Christchurch to begin our journey north. Our first town on the journey was Hanmer Springs which is known as New Zealand’s spa country but also has a lot of adventure activities like bungy jumping. Climbing into the mountains inland, the scenery changed dramatically. In and around Christchurch it was quite brown and dry but as we were heading to the alpine areas the terrain became, well more alpine. After about 90 mins of driving we arrived in the pretty little town. First of all we found our accommodation which was at the Village Lake Apartments. We had to wait because the apartment wasn’t ready so we drove back into town and had a look around. Being a small town it didn’t take us long to walk from one end to the other but we were able to appreciate its beauty. Everything looked green and lush; so different to what we were used to during a Melbourne summer. We looked in all the cafes and pubs trying to decide where we would eat that night. We decided to eat at Robbie’s Bar and Bistro. So with that decision made we headed back to the apartment. A little while later we were able to go in.
Talk about luxury!! One step inside the modern apartment had us all saying ‘wow’. We entered a kitchen/lounge room with a balcony. The doors folded back to be flush with the door creating a larger room. The view was gorgeous.
View from our balcony
After unpacking we walked the short distance to the Thermal Pools and Spa for which the town is so famous. Within the complex are 12 open-air thermal pools, 3 sulfur pools (which I’d never tried before) and 6 private thermal pools that are availalbe when you bought packages. We started in the coolest pool which was a nice 28 deg celsius and worked our way up to the warmest pool which was about 42 degrees although we didn’t stay in that one for long because it was too hot. Some of the pools also had jets placed in different places so the water was concentrated onto our legs or shoulders. We spent about 2 hours there altogether. We would have liked to come back but we were only in town for one day before driving to Kaikoura. I’d definitely recommend trying the spas and pools. We didn’t have any massages but there are a variety of packages for people interested in those and other treatments.
At dinner time we walked back to Robbie’s Bar and Bistro. We had requested a table in the beer garden because it was a nice, warm day and it was still warm in the evening. I had a small list of wineries I wanted to visit or at least try their wines. One of them was Brancott Estate. We visited them when we were in the Marlborough region but for now I decided to try one of their wines.
We ate a lovely dinner and an even lovelier Sav Blanc. Luckily we had walked over because we had a few drinks. After dinner we walked back to the apartment and opened a bottle of wine and sat on the balcony enjoying the view and wine.