We can't guarantee you'll find any teddy bears, but Hanmer is a great place to go down to the woods (with your family) for a picnic, especially in the summer months. We have put together some of the best picnic spots around the town, and we hope you enjoy your day in the beautiful outdoors!
We recommend picking up a map of the walks in the area from the i-Site (right next to the Thermal Pools) to make sure you know exactly where you are going and where to park.
1) Conical Hill, Conical Hill Road
Any list has to start with Conical Hill - like a few of these picnic locations, this one requires a bit of a walk up the hill before you reach the spot for picnicking, which comes complete with the reward of 360 degree views around the gorgeous Hanmer Basin. the view includes mountains, plains, the braided Waiau River and of course the township of Hanmer itself.
Take your picnic in backpacks, organise the kids and set off on this walk up the hill from the top of Conical Hill Road. You will be walking up about 550 metres, but the walk has a fairly gentle grade so is manageable by people of all ages and fitness levels, and takes about half an hour to get to the top, where the picnic tables are.
Much of the forest around Hanmer is not native New Zealand beech forest, but rather trees including Larch, European Alder, Pinus Radiata and Corsican Pine.
2) Forest Journey, Jollies Pass Road (opposite the carpark)
This is another lovely wander through the woods, with several picnic spots along the trail. Once again, you need to walk to your picnic destination, but the surroundings are lovely and the trees impressively tall.
Forest Journey passes through 1904 plantings of Ponderosa Pine and Larch before finally following the forest edge back to the car park.
On the southern side of Jollies Pass Road is a large plantation forest which forms the eastern boundary of Hanmer Springs Village. The walking tracks start off Jollies Pass Road opposite the carpark and information panel.
The journey is fascinating and twists through the trees in different directions, so keep a good lookout for the track markers and signposts to make sure you stay on the track.
3) Hanmer Forest Park Information Centre, Jollies Pass Road
The Hanmer Forest Park DOC Information Centre picnic area is on Jollies Pass Road, just 1km's drive from Hanmer township. Look out for the signs!
4) Hanmer Playground and Picnic Area, Chisholm Crescent
Located close to the centre of Hanmer (just behind the shops on Conical Hill Road), this playground and picnic area is ideal for families with younger children. There's a nice little play equipment area covered by a shade sail, plenty of picnic tables and grassed areas, toilets and a small lake.
5) Brooke Dawson Park, Bath Street
One of our favourites since it is neighbouring to our Park, is the Brooke Dawson Park. This is a lovely location with a stream running through it, lots of grassy areas, established trees and places to explore. You can leave your vehicle at the Park, or if you are not staying with us, park at the end of Bath Street.
When approaching Hanmer Township from State Highway 7, Bath Street is on your right.
6) Hanmer Springs Domain. Jacks Pass Road
The Domain is on the corner of Jacks Pass Road and Argelins Road, and is less than a kilometre from the Hanmer Post Office. Turn left at the Hanmer Post Office. The Domain includes a playground, skateboarding area, rope swing, adult exercise equipment and plenty of room for throwing balls around and of course, spreading that picnic rug!
7) Queen Mary Historic Reserve
The well known Queen Mary Hospital site dates back to the establishment of a Soldiers Hospital in 1916, for the recuperation and rehabilitation of injured and war-weary soldiers returning from the WW1 front lines. In more recent times, the Queen Mary Hospital was a specialist facility for alcohol and drug rehabilitation, eventually closing in 2003.
The surrounding park-like grounds and magnificent trees add to the special value of this nationally recognised heritage site, and are open to the public. Walking through the property is a special experience and there are plenty of places to spread your picnic blanket and relax.