The history of Hanmer Springs
Hanmer Springs was first discovered by local Maori who passed through the area during their travels. European settlers first came across it in the 1850s when a local farm manager by the name of William James, noticed a strange mist emanating not far from a walking track he was tramping.
This discovery led to the construction of a bridge which was built in the 1860s and a few years after that, the land was surveyed for the township to be developed. In 1916 it was decided that Hanmer Springs would be a good site for a soldiers hospital for returning veterans. This later became an important residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre until its closure in 2003.
Although the town’s main industry has revolved around the Springs, it has developed tourism attractions of an altogether different variety and has also become a host for some big endurance events in New Zealand.
Things to do in Hanmer Springs
Despite being a town of modest size (population under 1,000 people), there are plenty of things to do in Hanmer Springs. These range from the most restful and relaxing to the most adrenaline-fueled and exciting.
Something for everyone then and these are our favourites!
Hanmer Springs Events
As well as being a place where people come to get some good R&R (along with a dose of optional thrill-seeking fun), Hanmer Springs is also a place that hosts a lot of annual events and festivals.
Its beautiful scenery and isolation helps in this respect and is loved by those who appreciate the outdoors, many of whom are athletes and runners.
As a result, a lot of the events that take place here are races, which are great to watch and be a part of and we’ve selected the best and biggest that take place every year!
- January - The James Macpac Alpine Adventure Race
- March - 4 & 8 Hour Mountain Bike Race
- May - Bivouac Outdoor Mt Isobel Challenge
- May - Hanmer Four Square Half Marathon
- November - Molesworth Run
- December - Hanmer Holiday Homes Alpine Marathon