After nearly 7 weeks here in Christchurch, we realized that we haven’t gotten out much. Sure, we took the tram one day, and the gondola too. We even checked out a farmers market or two.
But, our only time out of the city was the day we went wine tasting in Waipara valley. And, while that was a great time, it’s not the only thing to do in Canterbury, New Zealand.
Jonathan and I decided that we would rent a car (gasp) and drive (on the wrong left side of the road). Our destination: Maruia Hot Springs. After a cold and rainy winter here so far, nothing sounded better than a long hot soak in some natural hot springs.
So, off we went. We rented a car through Jucy (and had a great experience – more on that later), and drove the 3 hours to Maruia Hot Springs, which is a bit further up the mountain from Hanmer Springs.
On the way, we stopped at Marble Point Vineyard for a free wine tasting.
Maruia Hot Springs is set among the mountains. And, they have varying pools in a range of temperatures. They even have traditional Japanese Bathhouses (closed when we were there).
But, we did get to take advantage of the private spa for about an hour. And, they provided kimonos and sandals.
It was glorious. The hot springs were hot, the setting was beautiful, and we had a great day.
We booked their package that included a 1 night stay, private spa, and hot springs entrance. With it being so far up the mountain from anywhere, we thought this was the best idea.
And, by staying the night, we didn’t have to worry about being too relaxed to drive.
The next morning when we awoke, a gentle snow was falling. Amazing. Snow in July.
We drove from here to Kaikoura. Kaikoura is known for whale watching and swimming with the dolphins. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really the season for that. So, we just spend a few hours enjoying the scenery and then drove back.