On Saturday February 25, the third Hanmer Springs Motorfest was held under brilliant sunshine, with the temperature hovering around the 28 to 31°C mark. What a day! Classic cars, utes, trucks, campers — they were all there, hosted by the Falcon Fairlane Club of Christchurch, at the Hanmer Springs Domain on Jacks Pass Road.
The inaugural event was held in 2015 and attracted 218 vehicles. For 2016, this almost doubled to 421. This time around, 490 registered, as it is rapidly gaining a reputation for being an event the whole family can enjoy.
And it wasn’t all about the classics. There were many stalls selling a variety of merchandise — my favourite was the back-in-vogue colourful dresses of the 1950–’60s period. Long may this trend continue, please!
The event is the brainchild of Fiona Mclachlan, who says it was born on the way home from the Kaikoura Hop in 2014 when she and her partner John spoke about Hanmer Springs as being the ideal location for a gathering of this type. After all, Hanmer is one of the South Island’s top tourist destinations, with many attractions, but the main focus is on the thermal hot-water pools. At any time of the year, you can count around 20 to 30 campervans parked in the picturesque twin- road tree-lined main street.
Despite the abundance of motels in Hanmer and a lovely camping ground adjacent to the domain, which flows nicely into the grounds, accommodation at was at a premium on the last weekend in February. Many families stayed overnight to enjoy the hot pools on Sunday morning, lunching at one of the many cafes, bars, restaurants before returning home late afternoon. What a great weekend.