Winter village bliss and adventure
Ready for a Winter chill out? What better than a few days relaxing and bike riding with the kids - Hanmer Springs here we come!
Arriving late at night, getting sorted and relaxed was easy. This time we had overseas visitors with us, so we chose to let Hanmer Holiday Homes do the work for us. Its more like a home away from home. Lovely maintained & appointed throughout, very clean, and beds made and ready to fall into! Heater on...we were in holiday mode!
The sun shining, no wind, an awesome start to a short break back at Hanmer Springs - you may have gathered by now...we LOVE this place! Hanmer Adventure geared us up with a mountain bike and helmet each, then off to the Hanmer Forest Park we went. We are not regular mountain bikers but the easy rider path was perfect for us and we had a ball! This track threads its way through some of the oldest stands in the forest with a variety of exotic conifers and broadleaf species. Understories of sycamore, oak, silver birch, and rowan would provide a colourful display in autumn. The Douglas Fir trees and beautiful green ferns on the undergrowth made the bike track very beautiful indeed. The start of the track follows the river, a lovely backdrop for the start of the ride. A couple times the smaller kids were a little tentative about going up or down the hills, but once the confidence grew there was no turning back. Filled with lots of squeals of delight, we finished a couple hours later, feeling so excited yet happily exhausted and hungry!
A quick trip to our 'must do' Hanmer bakery cafe to fill the hole after our mountain biking and before our next adventure.
With our friends in tow we were then hosted by Alpine Crazy Putt & Village Cruisers on Conical Hill Road. It was the four bigs kids vs the four smaller kids! Game on! A little frustrated a few of us were, but we all got through, some easier than others! A few wet golf balls, a few bouncing off the stone balls...and some good holes in one. What a fun way to spend an hour with the kids (and big kids!). The location of this mini golf is sensational. Easy access to the bakery and a freshly brewed coffee. Walking through the mini golf course looking out across town and over to the snowed capped mountains - a nice relaxing way to be entertained.
Finishing the afternoon by taking out two of the family village cruisers and cruising through the village of Hanmer, a relaxing way to take our friends who have not been here before, for a tour of the town. Feeling happily exhausted it was time to head back to our houses at Hanmer Holiday Homes to have a well deserved Nanna nap (and Marlborough wine!) !
Day 2 starts in true Hanmer adrenaline fashion. Teenage daughter in tow, we headed off with Hanmer Attractions on a two hour adrenaline filled quad bike tour. Jess was scared and out of her comfort zone and did awesome! No fear trying to pick up the pace and keep up with our guide Gavin. I grew up on two wheeled motorbikes in flat dry country...yep, I too was out of my comfort zone, but a little way in relaxed and ready to tackle what ever Gavin aimed to put us through. The terrain was varied, plenty of rocky outcrops and river crossings. Not quite sure what to expect when I saw the little sign saying Mudrun, which may have made me hold my breath as I went around the corner! At the half way point we had some morning tea, here Gavin got the chance to give us plenty of insite into the local landscape and farming life. The trip back I expected to cover the same terrain and tracks as on the way out, but there seemed to be so many other side tracks that most was all new terrain and river crossings. So much fun...and what a great confidence builder for the teenager that hasn't had the opportunity to get out and do this kind of thing...oh yeah...and the mother that has become conservative in her old age!
A quick coffee (yes, from Hanmer Bakery for me!!) and lunch at our Hanmer Holiday Home....collected the kids and mates and headed out for another afternoon of fun!
All trips to Hanmer must include a Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools visit. The kids spent several hours up and down the slides and soaking in the pools to warm up...then back into the slides, constantly rotating. So much fun, and what a good energy buster!! Me..well, I snuck off into the Spa and was treated by Sarka to an hour of relaxation massage. She started on my feet...and that was me sold on an hour of relaxation and switching off from the world...ahh bliss. What a lovely set up the Spa is, beautifully appointed, professional friendly staff. The relaxation lounge area where you can sit as long as you wish sipping tea and reading, still tucked up in your dressing gown and slippers! Absolute bliss...my visits to Hanmer Springs will never be the same....a trip to the spa a must!
Sadly the time had come to part with our buddies and head back home to reality! Our Hanmer Holiday Home really was a home away from home with the ease of being able to tuck the kids in bed at night, leaving the adults to sit around the fire catching up at night.
The Kaikoura road was closed the day we came home, but as always the Lewis Pass is such a beautiful alternate route - simply stunning.
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