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Relax and explore the many pools of Hanmer Springs

For a whole day’s worth of aquatic adventuring, make sure to stop by Hanmer Springs on your South Island self-driven adventure.

The pools at Hanmer Springs

The pools of Hanmer

Whether you're beginning a self-driven adventure from Christchurch to the West Coast, or you just want to make the detour for something amazing, make sure your South Island holiday includes a day at Hanmer Springs.

Only an hour and a half's drive north of The Garden City (Christchurch), Hanmer Springs is one of the South Island's premiere hot pools destinations.

After getting changed as fast as you can, make your first Hanmer dip in the Rainbow Pools. With easy beach-style access, plus a clever design enabling plenty of seating, the Rainbow Pools are a glorious 37 degrees Celsius and have plenty of massaging water jets to cosy up to.

If you brought the kids – or you're a bit of a fun-lover yourself – hop out and race over to the water slides (not too quickly, though – you don't want to slip!). Start by popping up the tower and charging down the beginner's slide, great for younger children. Next try the green slide – if you dare. More suited to the thrill-seekers among you, the green slide is pitch black, with only dim arrows in the ceiling to hint at what direction you might turn.

Afterwards, get moving to the only Super Bowl slide in New Zealand. On your own personal inflatable tube, or a two-person one, you will rocket down a steep flume into a giant bowl where centrifugal forces spin you around and round in a whirlpool before flushing you out the bottom. Who says physics isn't fun?

If you need to relax afterwards, doze off in some of the nearby rock pools, heated naturally by the resort's thermal bore. These pools hover around 40 – 42 degrees Celsius and contain numerous minerals that relax, enrich and heal the body.

Hanmer Springs also boasts its own spa facilities, as well as a wonderful on-site cafe for when your bellies start grumbling.