Hanmer Springs New Zealand

Another early morning! I got out of bed around 6:15, and finally got Lisa out around 6:30; we both managed to get packed and were ready to go by 7.

We headed out on the road with a full tank of gas and some munchies for our long trip across the south island from the East coast over to Hanmer Springs and then on to Kaikoura which was right on the west coast.

Driving that early in the morning was great; in our first hour or two we only passed two or three vehicles. I also made a couple of stops to snap some photos early on, some of the spectacular forest growth along the highway was to perfect to pass up. I even managed to set my tripod up in the middle of the highway a few times without needing to dodge any cars.

Highway just Outside of Franz Josef Glacier

Highway just Outside of Franz Josef Glacier

By late morning we had already made it passed Greymouth and were on our way down the number 7 highway on to Hanmer Springs. The drive just after passing the town of Reeftoon was spectacular!! Almost the entire drive was through a forest with trees only a few feet from the road, overhanging and casting a dark shadow on the road. It winded up and down hillsides for miles and miles, the only thing I was thinking the whole time was I should have rented a Porsche, ok maybe not a Porsche, but at least something a little sportier then Nissan Pulsar. It was the best driving experience I had through out all of New Zealand!!

We arrived in Hamner Springs a little after twelve noon and the only thing on our minds was food. Lisa’s Uncle Raymond and Jen had recommended we try the ribs at a local pub in the town, so after a little driving around and stopping for directions, we finally located the restaurant.

Highway just Outside of Franz Josef Glacier

Highway just Outside of Franz Josef Glacier

In the restaurant we couldn’t find the ribs on the menu, so I asked the Waitress behind the counter and she informed us that they had removed the ribs from the menu. Oh Well!! I order up steak sandwich and Lisa had an appetizer platter of spring rolls and somosas, Lisa was quite disappointed she didn’t get her ribs; she had been looking forward to them since here uncle Raymond and Jen had mentioned it to us back in Timaru.

After the early supper, we headed on down to the hot springs, which is located smack dap in the middle of Hamner Springs town.

The springs were a huge disappointment for Lisa and I, the warmest pool was only 38 Celcius and the atmosphere was horrible. There were a ton of kids running around and about 1,000 people climbing in and out of the 8 or 9 pools that were there, all I could think about was how dirty the water must be. The brochures for Hamner Springs make you think of peace and tranquility when really it is just another water park.

They also had private pools for an extra $14 on top of the $20. This would have got us 30 minutes alone, but I wasn’t really up for it at the time and was glade I didn’t after I saw the facilities. This was definitely the low point of the trip for me! We didn’t stick around much more then 20 or 30 minutes, just long enough to say we had been there and done that.

Hamner Springs

Hamner Springs

After the huge disappointment at the Hamner Springs we hopped back in our car and continued on our way to Kaikoura.

At one point along our way we had two options to get to Kaikoura, neither which we new anything about. So we opted for the one that would get us to the main highway the fastest. Now I’m not sure about the other route, but the one we ended up taking turned out to be one of the craziest roads on the trip. We were up and down on un even narrow road with all single lane bridge crossing and corners you couldn’t see around. It was a blast to drive; I only caught myself wishing once again I was driving something a little sportier with precision handling. Now I know for next time!!

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