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  • Day274

    Hanmer Springs

    February 22 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    We travelled here for our last night with the camper van so we could enjoy the Thermal Spa waters.
    As we arrived the skies were cloudy and we passed through some rain showers on the way. We were considering turning round to find a sunny spot elsewhere. Gradually, however it brightened up, the clouds lifted so we carried on. We were glad we did, the village is high upon a plain surrounded on one side by forested mountains and caters for the tourist with plenty of eating and drinking options. There were a number of classic old cars on the main street.
    We did the Conical Hill walk to see the views of the plain and then the Woodland walk back to the village. The walk was very steep going up but the view from the top made it worthwhile.
    After lunch we entered the Spa which gets its water from natural springs and geothermal sources.
    Karen was pleased to get her first old age concession on the entry price. The natural spring water pools were at 40-42 deg C with a high sulphur content - untreated water direct from the ground. The geothermal pools were 36-38 deg C and used filtered water. The jacuzzi and aqua therapy pools were very powerful.
    We had a proper swim in the 25 m pool too which joined to the lazy river. A fabulous 2 hours of sheer relaxation. We felt our skin benefitted from the experience.
    After that we found our site for the night which was a nice site full of old cars and caravans. The reason was that the site adjoined the show ground where the following day there was the annual Hanmerfest show run by classic car enthusiasts. We were surrounded by 50 and sixty year old Fords, Oldsmobiles, Chevvies, predominantly old American cars all highly polished. There were a couple of British cars there too - an old MGBGT which we actually saw moving and a Humber and Singer 1950s vintage. In the morning 400-600 cars were pouring into the show ground, the throb of the old engines was relentless.
    During our camping experiences in NZ we have always received warm and enthusiastic greetings from the campsite owners, all of whom have been very helpful in pointing out places to visit and telling us about the many facilities on their sites. This, our final campsite in NZ, was quite different. There was a sign telling us that departure time was 10am. Upon asking whether we could stay a bit later as we had to pack and sort out the van ready for its return we were told no and it was suggested that maybe we get up at 6am so that we would be ready. The woman running the site said that her mother always called the English whinging poms!!!! Clearly she was not going to change rules for us. However the site was lovely and we enjoyed our last night in the van.
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