March 21, 2005
“To He Who Meets The Challenge Of Life Bravely, Great Will Be His Reward”
The main tourist draw is the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve – a swimming complex made up entirely from the natural thermal springs that bubble up from deep within the earth.
There are also separate play pools where the young (and the young at heart) can enjoy the waterfalls, animal slides and heated water slides without disturbing the peace and tranquility of the relaxation pools.
We decided to treat ourselves to the ‘private thermal suite’ because it was so reasonably priced and were delighted to discover that the suite overlooked a secluded native garden, contained their own shower, changing area and thermal pool with raised water massage spout.
And so we spent a delicious half hour splashing and enjoying the warm waters (anywhere from 38 to 42 degrees in temperature) and taking advantage of the space (each suite can accommodate up to 6 people).
The reserve is beautifully thought out and they have several open air relaxation pools where people group to move lazily around the water. But should you get tired, there are special seats built into the middle of the pool so you can rest your weary bones, allow the earth-heated water to caress your body and feast your eyes on the majestic alpine mountain landscape available in 360 degree surround vision. Aaah…..
After the pools we felt rested enough to undertake a stroll of the town.
It’s so picturesque that it can’t be faked. We had a discussion about what it would be like to grow up in a place like this because although it’s a tourist town, the place is lively all year round and the locals get a discounted rate to the pools and there are enough mountains, farmland and ski fields to fill your every leisure time.
We figured that about the time you hit about 16, you would be desperate to get out and see the world because the place would feel a little isolated, but heck you would have had an idyllic childhood!
It was on our stroll that we came across the “Gold Rush” adventure mini golf course – possibly the best mini golf course in the world.
Since starting this trip, I have discovered a secret love for mini/crazy golf and we have checked out a few of them as we’ve moved about the place. But none of the previous places can touch the course at Hanmer. The surrounding landscape adds an edge of natural beauty that is surreal and (I believe) unsurpassed.
I was routinely distracted from my stroke by the relentless views available from each hole. The magnificence of the landscape made me forget why I was there in the first place and I kept holding up the people behind us.
But it didn’t matter because they were suffering from the tree-hugging loved up feeling too! And so we went round the course at a leisurely pace, grinning from ear to ear – with me taking photos between shots – and feeling at one with the universe.
Basically, you walk round this maze-like structure and solve the puzzle by finding the clues within the fortress (which spell out the quote above).
Reading what I just wrote, I realise that it sounds rather naff, but it was really rather good. The owner had designed it really well and the thing was way bigger than it looked from the outside. It had a sort of Inca theme to the general design with a bit that looked straight out of the Indiana Jones films.
And then there were the “surprise” elements. Like the steam vents – which you can’t see when you look at the wall – not even if you’re really close up. I know this because I caught a good blow to the forehead when I was examining the wall intently trying to work out how it was done.
These helped focus our thoughts because you’d be going round a corner and suddenly this huge jet of air would blow straight in your ear – Auburn jumped so high that it made me jump. I went backwards just in time to receive a jet right jab into my throat (not funny, what with me having my neck thing) and so we stood between the jets and screamed like little girlies for a while. It happens sometimes, OK?
The cold and the force of these jets were not something you could get easily use to: as proven by the number of times that we were caught out by them as we went along the course. I did mention the Tardis proportions this place had, right?
But my favourite element was the collapsing wall: which decided to fall down just as Auburn was passing by.
We’d been in there for a while by then and had begun to relax our stride, enjoy the very hot sun shining down upon us and besides, we’d been there so long, we figured we were lost.
So we’re trekking along and suddenly a voice from behind calls “Watch out!”. We both spin round to see what’s going on. Then a grinding noise in front has me spinning back round in time to see the wall beside Auburn start to fall down (she was a few steps ahead of me). She cowers in panic and raises her hands to protect her head and I leap forward like a plum with my arms extended in my best Netball receiving pose – like I seriously think I can catch a falling brick wall!: but everything happens so fast that you actually believe it. And the falling dust from the wall seemed very authentic to me!!!! *Insert more girlie screaming here.*
Yep, we felt a little bit foolish at that point.
The funny thing was that it got us again on the way back round. We’d followed the wrong path to a dead end and by the time we’d gone back on ourselves one wall looked just like any other and we’d forgotten the previous experience and BAM… *Cue more screaming girlies.*
My, but our lungs got a good working over that afternoon. But ho hum, we had fun and my tan is building up a treat. Just call me “dark-skinned lovely”…… 😀
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.