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People used to come to Hanmer Springs to chill out with quiet soaks in the hot pools and to take gentle forest walks; but things have been changing fast. The number of boutique stores and restaurants has doubled, and an increasing number of off-road and backcountry activities are turning Hanmer Springs into Canterbury's adventure-sports hub. On holidays and weekends the springs can be busy. The Amuri Ski Field, a small ski area in the mountains behind town, attracts a dedicated following of local skiers in winter. Mountain biking is especially big, and Hanmer Springs is now the end point for several long-distance mountain-bike and endurance races through the backcountry. During the summer months Hanmer Springs is also the southern terminus of the drive along the Acheron road through the Molesworth Station, which runs through from the Awatere Valley in Marlborough and is the country's highest public road. This backcountry trail is open for only a few months a year and is a solid six-hour drive on an unpaved road through some spectacular country. Go to the Department of Conservation Web site and search for Molesworth for more information.
For additional information, maps, and as a meeting point, go to the
Hurunui i-Site Visitor Centre (42 Amuri Ave. W., Hanmer Springs. 03/315–0020; 0800/442–663 (NZ only). www.visithurunui.co.nz.)
Hanmer Springs at a Glance
Sports and Outdoors
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