Hanmer for families

Hanmer Springs is all about relaxing: and yes, you can even relax with the kids – the range of Hanmer Springs family activities ensures there’s plenty for them to see and do.

There are two playgrounds within walking distance of the hotel, including a skate/scooter park and rugby grounds. Aspiring putting pros can enjoy the local mini golf attractions: Alpine Crazy Putt opposite the hotel has a mini putt with a historic Canterbury theme including a waterfall, and also has “village cruisers” -2-4 person bikes with area for storage or infant seats with seat belts so the whole family can head out on an adventure around the village. A-maze-n-golf, a five minute walk away, has gold rush themed mini golf, and a lost temple adventure maze –with a few surprises… 

Hanmer Springs is surrounded by mature forest, the result of an experimental planting plan from 1901. As mountain bikes weren’t invented then they could not have foreseen the amazing legacy they created for families, with easy gradients formed into family friendly mountain bike tracks, as well as a host of great walking tracks. If you wish to bike, the friendly folk at Hanmer Adventure (just across the road from the Heritage Hanmer hotel) will not only hire you the equipment you need, but also advise you on tracks, and have a range of increasingly challenging mountain biking available for the kids to progress to. If your children don’t bike but have energy to burn then the rewarding trek up Conical Hill is just one of the walks in the district –enjoy the 360 degree views at the top, and take some provisions to enjoy at the picnic tables up there..

Hanmer Adventure also hire ski and snowboard equipment in winter, handy for visiting the Hanmer Ski Area; one of NZ’s true skiing gems, a “club field” where the queues are shorter, and prices surprisingly low. If you don’t want to ski but want to experience snow, you can sled, and enjoy the wonderfully friendly ski lodge. If you’re not familiar with alpine driving conditions it’s no problem to get a shuttle from the village instead, then relax and enjoy the views.

Hanmer is famous year round for its hot springs, and a recent refurbishment has made them more fun for kids than ever. The freshwater pool has a walk-in beach to make it safe and easy to access, and children love the lazy river. The already popular family activity area of water slides, water toys and picnic area has been enhanced with the addition of the AquaPlay Area and the impressive SuperBowl. With the Spa adjacent you may like to have one adult supervise the children while another sneaks off for a treatment; or for a really relaxing time of course the Hotel can arrange a local babysitter for you (so you can scope out the adult areas while there with the kids, and return for a Spa themed time out later). 

Sometimes it’s nice to just have the action all organised… paintball anyone? Other guaranteed crowd pleasers depending on their ages include jet boating, quad biking or bungy jumping off the historic bridge over the Waiau river. There’s also rafting on the Waiau, luckily at just grade two it’s suitable for a wide range of abilities. The Waiariki Farm Park is handy to the village, and has a range of animals kids love: Llamas, Tibetan yaks, rabbits, guinea pigs and goats all feature, and many of them can be hand-fed; then there is also the horse drawn taxi, and horse trekking. Parents are catered for with a café and gallery. 

After a day of action and adventure, the little ones will no doubt be hungry; our restaurant, Isobels, is family friendly with a children’s menu to please even the fussiest of eaters. Luckily for the earlier risers it opens earlier for breakfast than the rest of town, but additionally the hotel is handy to convenience stores to stock up on those snacks and provisions for adventuring youngsters with unpredictable appetites. 

Other cafes and restaurants are close to the hotel and most are family friendly; try Malabar where you’re encouraged to order a range and then share the plates to maximise the taste experience and ensure there is something for everyone (and you can add fries). The Powerhouse café is situated in an historic hydro-electric power-station, and has the “children’s powerpack” –sausage, bacon and buttered popcorn, fruit crisps and a “treat” on the menu for the little ones, while WhatEver has a name teens will appreciate, but also boasts a full children’s menu. 

The Heritage Hanmer Springs has a wide range of rooms with configurations to fit a variety of family sizes, and our staff are experts when it comes to seasonal kids activities in Hanmer Springs – ask them to find out what’s on during your stay.