“Tramping” at Hanmer Springs

Well, as far as cheap activities go, I think tramping is as good as it gets… seeing as it doesn’t cost a cent. Now, the word tramping is new concept to me, so for those of you who are as confused as I was… it basically means hiking, or walking.

I arrived in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon and Keates (my buddy who is doubling as my tour guide for the next 10 days) picked me up from the airport and off we trotted to get wings, ribs and beers. The plan was to wake up early Monday and go for a sneaky snowboard somewhere, however, due to lack of sleep leading up to embarking on my journey, I accidentally slept on his extremely comfortable couch for a little too long and we ran out of time.

Therefore, contingency, we drove a scenic hour and a half to a little place called Hanmer Springs. An alpine town known for it’s hot pools and “tramping” tracks, located in the Hurunui district.

Our first plan was to go for a hike, in the information centre in the middle of town you will find bulk maps and such to guide you on the tracks. They are slightly harder than what I initially thought they would be, so it was lucky I was wearing exercise clothes and joggers. Taking the waterfall track, we cruised up and down in about 2 hours, though 2 and a half is recommended.

The walk takes you up to a 41 metre high waterfall, making the trip well worth the effort, as we descended the clouds roared in and it began to snow so my piece of friendly advice would be to take a warm slash waterproof jacket that you can easily tie around your waste because the weather is slightly bipolar.

View from top Mt Isobel
View from top Mt Isobel
Waterfall track, Hanmer Forest
Waterfall track, Hanmer Forest
Hanmer Forest Mt Isobel
Hanmer Forest Mt Isobel
41m Dog stream waterfall on Mt Isobel
41m Dog stream waterfall on Mt Isobel

The waterfall track is a short walk (relatively) so if you wanted to go for longer you can find ones that will take up to 6 hours, and even overnighting is an option. The best thing after walking uphill for an hour, is soaking in a hot pool.

The local hot pools are obviously the thing to do, after paying our 22 bucks (worth every penny) we walked into a steaming, crowded pool area which contains a multitude of different pools and even a water slide. It definitely lacks appeal upon first entering, what with all the young children running around and about a billion of them in the main pools.

Hot Pools Hanmer
Hot Pools Hanmer

However, there are adult-only pools which you can take advantage of, and these are awesome. We managed to get one where it felt like just us in the pool. We slothed in the nice warm water for ages, and reluctantly dragged our surprisingly sore bodies from the water.

In terms of accommodation in Hanmer, a quick search of the internet lead us to stumble upon Alpine Holiday Apartments and Campground. I am never fussed about accommodation, so don’t expect luxury when you travel off my advice. I would prefer to spend money elsewhere, so for $60 (blanket hire included) we nabbed ourselves a little room with four beds, a kitchen and a shared bathroom.

IMG_6052 IMG_6051_2

The site is located a mere 2 minutes off the main drag of Hanmer. Lee Heath, the hostess, is a lovely lady whose primary concern is your comfort and safety, obviously, in accordance with the price the accommodation is basic but who needs any more. As long as you have a bed, a blanket and somewhere to shower you are pretty set.

In terms of dining, we couldn’t go past the half-kilo steak at Monteith’s Brewery Bar.

$20, 500gram Steaks... I think yes!
$20, 500gram Steaks… I think yes!
Monteith's Brewery Bar
Monteith’s Brewery Bar

We drove back to Christchurch early this morning and will be spending the day exploring the earthquake-induced pop-up city, so stayed tuned.

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