The last activity on my New Zealand bucket list was to tour a glow worm cave on the west coast. It was one of the things I didn’t have the chance to do last year on my New Zealand road trip with Katelyn so as you can expect, I’ve really been set on making it happen.
So my friend Hope and I decided to book a hostel and the ideal tour – hiking through a rainforest to go tubing through a glow worm cave. It sounded magical. We were meant to head off the morning of Nov. 3. I should point out, if it wasn’t obvious already, I had been looking forward to to this trip for awhile. But the night before we were meant to leave, we learned that a big rain storm was meant to pummel the West Coast practically all weekend long. Naturally, this really bummed me out, but it made the most sense to cancel our plans.
We ended up coming up with a Plan B option since it was my second to last weekend in New Zealand. Hope suggested we drive up an hour and 40 minutes or so up north to a popular Kiwi holiday spot and tourist destination, Hanmer Springs. I had heard a bit about the cute resort town. I was mostly aware that it’s the go-to spot for a spa weekend or short holidays and that it’s the home to a popular thermal pools and spa.
Although the hot pools are a main attraction for many, they weren’t a major draw for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is a fun place to spend a few hours and we did go for a soak. But for me, I cared more about the fact that this resort town is located so closely to Hanmer Forest – providing many opportunities for enjoying Mother Nature and going on lush hikes. In town, tall trees tower above you and line the streets and let me tell you, it kind of feels like heaven. It’s the perfect place to relax and have a chill, easy weekend.
We walked up the popular yet easy 1-hour return Conical Hill track and enjoyed amazing views at the top. At the top, we could see a rain or snow shower hovering over the mountains in the distance – it was beautiful to observe. On the way back down the track, we decided to go a different route and ended up getting lost. Luckily, neither of us was in a rush and we just went with the flow and found our way back to the trail. Sometimes it’s really nice to get lost, especially in nature.
There aren’t heaps of activities to do in Hanmer Springs, but that’s part of its beauty. However, besides the hiking opportunities and hot pools, there is a cute village with small clothing and gift shoppes plus a handful of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
All in all, I was pleasantly surprised with this town and believe it has much more to offer than its hot pools and spa. Towns with beautiful scenic backdrops are totally a recurring thing here in New Zealand and I am not complaining.