One (of many) reasons I love living in Christchurch is that you’re less than two hour’s drive from places like Hanmer.
Hanmer is a small village located between Christchurch and Kaikoura on the south island of New Zealand.
A year ago, my wife and I got married in Gisborne. So last weekend, we celebrated our one year anniversary in Hanmer.
Hanmer is well known for Hanmer Springs – a collection of thermal spa pools and a fantastic place to relax. It’s also known for its range of holiday homes, campsite and apartments. As it was our anniversary, we decided to go all out and book two nights at the luxury Village Lake Apartments. That’s the view from our balcony at the top of this post.
These apartments are operated by Cathy and Bryan Berryman. Both are really helpful and welcoming and can provide a great yarn. While we were there, Bryan spent a great deal of time crooning over his race-modified 1980 Corvette – and why wouldn’t you! It’s a really well maintained example.
The Hanmer Springs resort itself was suffering from the recent power cuts that the district had been experiencing. Some of the filters had broken and backfired their contents into the pools, so half of the pools were closed.
This was actually much less of a problem than expected. The remaining pools didn’t get too crowded and the entry fares were halved for the day (from $14 to $7 so bugger all really) to make up for the issues.
Monteiths Brewery Bar
On the first evening, we ate at the Monteiths Brewery Bar on the main road. We were served by a friendly young bloke and had a really good meal (Monteiths Radler battered fish and chips for me and Chicken Stack for the wife).
In the morning, we went back to the same place for breakfast. The options were quite limited – particularly for my wife as there were no fruit or muesli options. Having said that, I had one of the best full cooked breakfasts I’ve had for a long time. Eggs only came as fried but everything on the plate was cooked perfectly.
On the next evening, we headed to Peppers restaurant which is basically in the car park of the Heritage Hotel (and probably gets a lot of customers from the hotel).
My wife had a great mixed seafood pasta for $28 and I had a “Duo of Canterbury Lamb” for $32. I had great expectations for this local lamb dish but for some reason, the lamb was really tasteless and was quite rare despite being advertised as medium-rare. The side of vegetables with a hollandaise sauce matched the tastelessness of my lamb.
Luckily, the dessert was very well presented and a great finish to the meal. Coupled with low-priced drinks ($5 for tap beers), the dessert and drinks made up for my average meal.
The decor of Peppers is also very attractive, although marred by some excessively colourful paintings from a local artist. These paintings really didn’t blend in well and it would have been great to see some great landscape paintings or photos of the local scenery. But maybe that’s just my personal tastes.
The final morning was spent at Springs Cafe for breakfast. These guys put on a fantastic, rustic, country-style breakfast. My eggs benedict with salmon was fantastic.
Before we left, we went for a drive along the gravel roads through Molesworth Station – New Zealand’s largest farm. This is a great side trip if you have a suitable vehicle – not like the guy in the 2-wheel-drive Mazda hatchback that followed us round the hills!
All-in-all, a fantastic weekend away from Christchurch.