HAN­MER SPRINGS

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

Once a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre for war vet­er­ans and ad­dicts, the alpine vil­lage of Han­mer Springs, 90 min­utes north­west of Christchurch, has blos­somed into a pic­turesque tourist town. The chief at­trac­tion, then as now, is nat­u­ral hot pools whose ther­a­peu­tic prop­er­ties are boosted by all man­ner of in­dul­gent treat­ments.

Han­mer’s tree-lined streets and peaked roofs may re­mind you of a Euro­pean spa town but the tramp­ing, moun­tain-bik­ing, golf­ing, fish­ing and jet­boat­ing in the sur­round­ing wilder­ness are 100 per cent New Zealand. When you’re thor­oughly de-stressed, head for the winer­ies and food trails of the Waipara Val­ley an hour away. See vis­ithan­mer­springs.co.nz witch­etty grub). There are lots of food fes­ti­vals in New Zealand but this one is about ex­pos­ing your palate to some­thing new. Held an­nu­ally in the town of Hok­i­tika on the South Is­land’s West Coast (the next event is March 12, 2016), it’s a chance to tuck in to lo­cal of­fer­ings such as mar­i­nated tuna, white­bait pat­ties, smoked high-coun­try salmon and game meats. Oh, and don’t miss the Feral Fash­ion Com­pe­ti­tion. See wild­foods.co.nz

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