Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hanmer Springs, NZ

You know when you are stuck at school or at work and you start dreaming of wonderful things you could do that would make your life more exciting? Like road trips and unexpected visitors and great deals on accommodations and hot springs and climbing mountains and playing cards and doing really whatever you want?  This was that dream.
Hanmer Springs is about 2 hours away from Lincoln, although it is about 3 hours away if you get lost, and about 4 hours away if you get a flat tire.  
We left Saturday after breakfast with our backpacks, hiking boots, and sack lunches and soaked up each other's company, the iPod music, and the breathtaking view all the way to Hanmer.  Our first mission was to find a place to stay, so we drove to the one street with accommodations, compared the rates of about 4 different places, and instantly decided on an extremely inexpensive house for 7 of us.  We ate our sack lunches at our dining room table and headed out to tramp the Waterfall Track on the edge of town.  Here's a photo of me on our way up to the waterfall!
On our way down from the waterfall, we ran into another group from Lincoln and offered them our floor since our house was so stinking huge. We arranged to meet up with them later at the Hot Springs.
The Springs were right down the street from our house. We spent the evening hopping from pool to pool until we found which of the 9 springs we liked the most. Some were 39 degrees Celsius and the hottest one was 41 degrees Celsius and smelt strongly of sulfur.
For dinner, we made rice (we eat a TON of rice), chicken, teriyaki and curry sauces, mixed vegetables, bread, butter, and jam, and a pound of garlic in it all! Delicious. Jennifer served us a bottle of Pinot Noir, which wasn't terrible until I drank some along with my curry chicken! It intensified the spice by a million!
We went to the pub down the street for some drinks and ended the evening with some Hokey Pokey ice cream (a New Zealand favorite) and a game of cards.
The next morning, we had planned to wake up at 5:15am and hike up a mountain down the street to watch the sunrise...but none of us actually woke up. So I got up a couple hours later and got to soak up the scenery outside on our back porch.
Here's the family picture we took of the 14 of us who stayed in the house! Notice the beautiful mountain in the background, our cat, and the wonderful landscape architecture in the front yard.
After a breakfast of eggs, toast, and fresh fruit, we headed out to Jack's Pass.  It was a beautiful hike with a wonderful variety of terrain.  When we reached the end of the tree line, half of the group went back to the car and we kept going to the top of 3 different peaks.  Here's a picture of the last peak we reached before sprinting down the mountain so that the other half of the group wasn't waiting on us.
We had a quick snack at the house before packing up and looking around the town a bit.  This is a photo of the grape vines just outside of Hanmer toward Christchurch.
It was a beautiful weekend, even though it ended with a flat tire on the way back, but we made it home safe and sound for another week of classes!
Stay tuned for adventures at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival and I'll try to get around to some entries about Uni life, the papers I'm taking, and what goes on during the week!  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Rach!
    I love reading about your adventures. :) I wish I could experience this with you!