Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New Zealand Day 31: Hanmer Springs

We slept well at Forest Peak, and thanks to the heated drying rack in the bathroom (Hanmer Springs has a ski area so it draws people in the winter too), the laundry that I'd done in the sink was even dry!

After breakfast, violin practice, and some cross-stitch for B (my mom got her a kids' project that she loves!) we packed up and headed out.

Hanmer Springs is actually a hot springs, and especially after the big hike yesterday I was eager to check out the thermal pools. This is a much bigger complex than the places we've been before, with lots of different pools with different temperatures and features. The grown-ups' favorite was the AquaTherapy pool with the different shaped pipes that shot water at your neck and shoulders. Sweet. I wish there had been one set up for leg massaging, since that's what I really need today!

B enjoyed some of the hot pools though refused to accompany mom and me into the sulfur ones. She loved the slightly cooler lazy river and children's play area, though she was too small (and also too timid) for the big waterslides.

Sorry, I was too busy relaxing to take photos. You can see that we lost our main photographer when Alex departed!

Eventually we dragged ourselves out of the hot pools and went in search of lunch, finding the fantastic Powerhouse Cafe. I had a fabulous pizza loaded up with veggies and a really, really yummy glass of Riesling from the nearby Waipara wine country. We were also able to talk to Alex at lunchtime, which was delightful.

On our way out of Hanmer, we stopped at the Marble Point Winery. The lady at the motel recommended it, and we were really glad we did!

We tried five wines, including a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, two Rieslings, and a Pinot Noir. I ended up buying a couple bottles of the classic Riesling, which was very tasty. B sniffed the wines with me and downed her own bottle of sparkling apple juice.

We took a photo outside on the terrace.

Then it was on to Kaikoura, back on the East Coast. The drive was made much more exciting by the fact that we were about to run out of gas and couldn't find a petrol station! We must've been down to our last drop by the time we pulled into town.

Tonight we are staying at the Heritage Court Motor Lodge, which is very comfy and has the big advantage of free and unlimited wifi. I was all excited because I thought I'd get to upload some videos from our trip, but there seems to be some kind of data limit because I have been able to upload photos just fine, but no videos at all, not even short ones. Well, I tried!

This evening we headed downtown to try out the mini-golf place we passed on the drive in. Sadly, it was closed. Instead, we drove along the waterfront and eventually wandered along the beach a bit, discovering a little crowd watching a couple of kayaks come in. Turns out we were watching the second place team complete the GODZone Adventure Race, a multi-day trek involving hiking, running, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and biking. Some teams will be out until Saturday!

Tomorrow we are planning to go whale watching, which is the main attraction here in Kaikoura. Here's hoping!

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