Our final stop in the South Island was the tiny little resort hamlet of Hanmer Springs, just 90 kilometers inland from Christchurch and known for the thermal hot springs in the center of town. Marsha and Earl had booked their lodging right in town on the main square. Frank and I opted for a scenic cabin over by the golf course. We dropped them off and took the car over to our digs. Our cabin was so spacious and well appointed that we decided to kick back and just take it easy for the next couple of days and to enjoy the natural thermal springs before heading back to Destiny. We made ourselves at home and then walked the short distance to town, leaving the car at the lodge. We strolled around and got familiar with the few streets in town. It didn't take long. Then we checked out the Thermal Springs and Spa. We booked a couples spa experience on the following day. We had dinner at a charming but forgettable café – the food was pricey and detestable! We walked away wondering how places like that get away with it. Anyway, back at the hotel we settled in for an evening of Olympics. Although we enjoyed being able to catch the games, we missed our American broadcasters and commentators. There is a conspicuous lack of commentary during the events here, particularly during the figure skating. It took us a while to adjust to this, and the fact that our favorite events are not necessarily the favored events of the NZ press but we really appreciated just being able to watch what we could while we could.
Friday, we had a late morning breakfast in the cabin and then got our stuff together and set off for the Spa. We spent hours there, getting our steam and massage treatments and then entered the thermal springs. There are 13 pools ranging from adult only to family, 48 degrees C, down to 38. Some were very sulfurous and quite hot but we tried them all – nearly. We felt an aversion to the kiddie pools.
That is about the most activity we had while there – short walks and dips at the spa. We also had a Jacuzzi in our bathroom, so I could put bath salts in there and pretend as well. Ah – so nice, but we were ready to get going. We missed our boat and were itching to go sailing.
So it was that our South Island trip had come to an end. We arose early on our last day and drove to the airport in Christchurch. By late afternoon we were back aboard our beloved Destiny.