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Road Trip Guide - Christchurch To Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is a popular alpine village located in the Hurunui District just 90 minutes’ drive from Christchurch. Famous for its alpine spa and hot springs, Hanmer also offers a range of adventure activities including bungy jumping, quad biking, go-kart safaris and scenic flights along with horse riding, clay bird shooting, golf and plenty of places to go hiking.

Starting Out In Christchurch

Be sure to spend a couple of days to exploring the delightful Garden City and the surrounding Canterbury region. Find a good selection of things to see and do including the well-known Orana Park animal complex, the icy Antarctic Centre, Willowbank Wildlife Park, the Christchurch Gondola and head on over to Hagley Park for a lazy picnic lunch on a long summers day.

The Margaret Mahy Playground is the perfect place to take the kids to expend a bit of energy – and it’s a lot of fun for us big kids too! Need more ideas on what to do in Christchurch? Check out our top 10 things to do in Christchurch here.

Take A Break At Kaiapoi

The first township you will encounter on your Christchurch to Hanmer road trip is Kaiapoi. This quaint little town is home to the Kaiapoi Museum offering an interesting peek into the history of the locals. The museum is open every day except Thursday, 9am to 5pm during the week and 10 to 2pm Saturday, 1 to 4 pm Sunday.

If you are feeling like getting out on the water KORE hire at the Kaiapoi River is open on Saturday, Sunday offering a selection of Stand Up Paddle Boards, sailing yachts, single and double kayaks for hire.

The Pines Beach is also worth a nice little side trip, just 4 km east of Kaipoi it offers a great chance to talk a long walk along the beach or take a quick dip in the waves over the summer months.

Hit The Beach At Waikuku

Take a short detour to Waikuku Beach and enjoy the sun sand and surf on this family friendly beach just 5 minutes’ drive from the main road. Pick up some locally made Lavender Oil along the way or book in for a quiet night at the Waikuku Beach Holiday Park.

Enjoy A Winery Tour At Waipara

Hitting the road again enjoy the scenic drive onwards to Waipara, the perfect spot for a winery tour. There are a number of boutique wineries within easy reach including the Pegasus Bay Winery, Mount Brown Estates, Waipara Hills, Black Estate Wines, Mountford Estate Wines and many more.

Pitt Stop At Culverden

Turning off at Waipara the journey to Hanmer Springs takes you inland through the Weka Pass, the rural township of Waikari, Hurunui and on to Culverden. At an hour and a half from Christchurch Culverden is a great place to stop for a refreshment break or just a chance to stretch the legs.

Check out the Culverden Art Gallery for some amazing pieces of art and a chat with the local gallery owner. Or head on over to the historic Hurunui Hotel for a refreshing drink just like the Canterbury sheep drovers did in the old days before continuing on your way.

Arrive At Hanmer Springs

Just another 25 minutes from Culverden you will arrive at your destination. Hanmer is home to plenty of accommodation providers, including holiday parks, motels, hotels and holiday homes, so there’s something to suit all budgets and group sizes.

Dining options in Hanmer include cafes, takeaways and restaurants offering everything from Kiwi classics to Thai and Indian cuisine. There is also a small supermarket if you feel like whipping up your own culinary creations.

Hanmer’s Thermal Pools

One of the best things to do in Hanmer is to pay a visit to the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. The pools are open 7 days from 9 am to 10 pm and give the options of soaking in a private pool, various larger pools of at different temperatures, hydro-slides and AquaPlay areas for the kids.

The onsite café provides a good selection of refreshments and there are plenty of picnic tables and areas to relax. Spend a few hours soaking in the therapeutic thermal springs, then try out some of these other great things to do in Hanmer;

  • Visit the Amuri Estate for olive oil and wine tasting.

  • Get up and close with the animals including donkeys, goats, alpacas and yaks at Hanmer Springs Animal Park.

  • Go bungy jumping, jet boating, rafting or quad biking with Hanmer Springs Attractions.

  • Explore Hanmer Forest on a horse trek or hire a mountain bike.

  • Play a round of mini golf at A-Maze-N-Golf.

The inland route from Christchurch to Hanmer will take an hour and 45 minutes in total from Christchurch (not including stops) and is approximately 132km (84 miles). Save money and organise your own Christchurch to Hanmer self-drive tour with a rental car from USAVE. Grab a great deal on one of our hire vehicles, pick up from our handy Christchurch car rentals depot and hit the road!

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Unknown member
Apr 10

I have been following your blog for a while now, and I am consistently impressed by the quality of your writing. This post is no exception.

fireboy and watergirl

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