The small town of Hanmer Springs is located in North Canterbury approx 100 minutes from Christchurch.
Hanmer Springs has been built up around thermal springs discovered in 1859 by a Culverden farmer. The area was very slowly developed until 1864 when a bridge over the Waiau was built providing much easier access to the area. With the addition of the bridge came an increase in visitors which sparked interest in the continued development of the area. This got a major boost in 1883 when the Government Lands Department took over development. The pools were often used for their 'theraputic abilities' though the benefits are often debated with no proof either way.
Early on nude bathing was the order of the day with either a skirt or pair of trousers flying from a flag pole signalling which gender had use! These days there are both cold and hot pools of varying temperature plus a fairly new water slide complex catering to all. If you still want a clothes optional environment you can hire one of several private spas.
To support the increase in visitors accommodation was created including the Hanmer Lodge, now days the Heritage Hanmer, in the late 1890's.
There are lots of options other than the hot pools including skiing, golfing, mountain biking, bungy jumping and jet boating.
The Hanmer Springs Ski Area is around 40 minutes by car or shuttle from town. This is a small ski field has its access road off Clarence Valley road and is run by the Amuri Ski club. There is also Mt Lyford located 60km from Hanmer Springs for another skiing option.
The Hanmer golf club is located central to Hanmer and is a 18 hole par 68 course. It's small but a nice stroll unless the Nor Wester wind picks up making the course rather tricky.
There are lots of tracks for the MTB crowd to enjoy including several shared walking and MTB tracks.