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. It is also a spa town in the true sense of the word, with relaxing and indulgent spa facilities available at the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa and in the village. 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. 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 website and search for Molesworth for more information.
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