Small Town New Zealand: Hanmer Springs

Hanmer SpringsLast week’s epic back country tour kicked off in Hanmer Springs. Since many of our South Island cycle tours take in this little alpine hamlet, we thought we’d pop in for a closer look…


There’s over 30km of cross country trails in and around Hanmer Springs, catering for beginners to expert riders. Many of the trails are short, but you can link them together to create your own, personalized riding experience. Pick up a trail map from the Hanmer Springs iSite and go explore!

Jacks and Jollies Backcountry Gravel Road Loop: A 25km ride, technically easy but with a few decent hill climbs thrown in for good measure. Head out of town on Jacks Pass Road. After about 1km, turn right for Hanmer Skifield, which will take you over Jacks Pass. Once over the pass, turn right at Clarence River, before another right turn onto Jollies Pass Road.

Winter fun: Hit up the Hanmer Skifield which offers groomed runs and off-piste riding.


The Powerhouse Café. Also great for breakfast, lunch and homemade scones.

On the run refuel

The Bakery. Home to a great pie.


In a hotpool, of course. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa has more than 15 outdoor thermal, sulphur and freshwater pools, plus hydroslides. It’s always a hit with me!

Add to your calendar

Hanmer Salsa Winter Festival, 4 and 5 July 2014. Latin dance workshops and salsa parties.
Spring Crusher MTB Race, 15 November 2014. Featuring a family race, an entry level race and a hardcore elite race.


Saints Café, Restaurant & Bar – great for watching footy and pizza.
For classic Kiwi pub fare, pop into the Alpine Village Inn. Everything comes with chips and Wattie’s tomato sauce, plus watch out for the odd lambs tail and mountain oysters.
Corianders Ethnic Indian Restaurant serves tasty dishes and has its own tandoori oven.

Sweet dreams

Accommodation options to suit all pockets at If you’re travelling with a campervan, check out Hanmer Springs Top 10 Holiday Park.

Getting there

From Christchurch: A 90-minute scenic drive north from Christchurch, that takes you through the wine district of Waipara, the limestone formations around Waikari and over the Waiau Bridge. Take State Highway 1 north, followed by State Highway 7.