Hanmer Springs: In hot water again...

Saturday November 13, 2010

Hanmer Springs is a pretty but touristy spa town. This morning I enjoyed a leisurely lie-in, the first since Wanaka, and then wandered around the town centre before settling on a café for a late breakfast - well, late by my standards, but it seemed many customers were just arriving by the time I had eaten and enjoyed two extra large cappuccinos and read the weekend paper.

The hot springs are very popular, and by the time I had finished breakfast and wandered past on the way back to my digs there were already many entering. The smell of sulphur was quite off-putting on a full stomach and I decided to give the pools and the throng a miss. Outside the hot pools though there are some impressively large pines trees.

Yesterday there was noticeably heavier traffic than on previous days, something I put down to it being a Friday with many having an early getaway for the weekend, but I since discovered it was a public holiday here.

Something that has been quite remarkable is the number of cars carrying bikes - mostly MTB's. Mountain biking is huge here, hardly surprising I suppose with endless kilometres of tracks to ride on, and today there is an MTB endurance event. The local bike shop, a former service station, has rack after rack of MTB's for sale on the forecourt.

Also quite remarkable is the number of friendly toots I have been getting. The drivers here have almost all been very patient and courteous and have given me plenty room. There have of course been a few close encounters in some narrow sections but these are somewhat inevitable. There have only been a few occasions when I felt a vehicle came unnecessarily close.

Tomorrow I'll start heading back to Christchurch, where I'll arrive a few days ahead of schedule, however I've been getting plenty of suggestions about nice places to stop en the way. I guess I'll decide as I go.

It must be the water from the hot springs - freeloaders were impressed...

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