Sunday, 12 August 2012

A Lot of Hot Water

We have just returned after a relaxing weekend away to torrentially rainy Christchurch and the weak winter sunshine and blue skies of only a day ago seem long past. Why is it that you can spend such a long time dreaming and scheming about when/where you'd like to go on holiday and then when you get there, it's over in a flash and by the end, it seems like years have past since that sunny afternoon when you felt all your worries were a million miles away? Yes, you're right. I am suffering from the end of holiday blues. Unaided by the fact our weekend was cut short by torrents of rain that haven't stopped for the last 24 hours.

But, in dictacting our adventures to you here on this page, I will re-live them again and turn my eyes away from grey skies for a moment or two.

After I shut up shop on Friday, we drove 1 hour 45 minutes North of the city to a place called Hanmer, famous for its natural hot springs and mountain vistas. Unfortunately, we drove after nightfall and could only sense how magnificent the views would have been in daylight from the huge black silhouettes of mountains either side of us.

We arrived to find ourselves booked into a four-star resort, in a Garden Villa towards the edge of the Hotel grounds. After settling in for the night with a large gourmet pizza, some junky TV and a manuka infused bath (or what I now like to refer to as a 'recipe for drowning' when combined with a mug of Camomile tea and extreme tiredness), we awoke feeling refreshed the next day. We got quite a shock upon opening our curtains to reveal a stunning view over little wooden houses nestled in the shadow of a looming snow-capped mountain, their chimneys smoking, mingling with the early morning mist. We felt immediately transported back to Bern in Switzerland and wondered whether it was possible that we had travelled some distance in our sleep!

After a quick wander down to the town centre to scout around for some brunch, we confirmed that we were still in Hanmer and not infact surrounded by the Swiss (shame). As usual when eating out in NZ, you're very rarely disappointed when it comes to the presentation of your food. My Eggs Benedict was proof of this, as you can see!

Following our feed, we crossed the road from the deli to the springs resort for a couple of hours of slowly dissolving ourselves in very hot water. The thermal pools range in temperature from a supposedly cool 36 degrees to a scorching 43. We paced ourselves; starting with the 'cool' rock pools and gradually building up to the hottest smelly sulphur pools. After lots of enduring Mr Bear complaining he was bored and didn't understand what you were supposed to do in a hot spring (the concept of relaxation is a bit difficult for him, I have discovered) and a fair amount of dehydration, we decided to seek out a miniature golf course (golf is very popular in the area but mini golf is fun). A round of putting at 'A-Maze-N-Golf' later and we were back in the town looking for food again. 

Sunday morning had supposedly been set aside for a casual winter walk and a lot of photo taking, but since the rain started at around 1am that morning, and wasn't showing any signs of letting up, we realised there was nothing for it and we would just have to drive back home. Disappointing, but not a decision we regret as we were able to spend the afternoon relaxing at home and not getting soggy and lost on an alpine track surrounded by mist. Win.

To see all our photos from the trip (don't worry, there aren't many!) have a look here.

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