Why book direct? Booking online is easier

Why book direct? Booking online is easier

Like you and many others, I've often used Online Travel Agencies (OTA's) such as BookingCom, Expedia, Agoda, etc. It's easier to see a quick overview of what's available and compare prices between places. And then there are comparison sites such as Trivago. And AirBnB is cheap isn't it? But is it really as good as they advertise? Let's take a closer look at each of the impressions we get from their advertising. This article covers: prices, availability, making comparisons, reviews, best price guaranteed, no hidden costs, nothing can go wrong, who will help…continue reading →
Fascinating vase from Fossil Point

Fascinating vase from Fossil Point

On a recent day trip through the Waipara wine country, we dropped in at the Fossil Point cafe. Unless you know what a great place this is to stop at, most travellers on state highway 1 would whizz past this cafe and gallery, at the turnoff to Greta Valley. The cafe has lovely homemade, top quality food. There is indoor seating but on a sunny day the best place is to sit and relax in the outdoor area. Another good reason to visit is to look at the local art for sale. On…continue reading →
Review: Saints 2-for-1 stone grill

Review: Saints 2-for-1 stone grill

Wednesday night's special at the Saints bar restaurant here in Hanmer Springs, is 2-for-1 stone grill. Having never tried a stone grill before, I couldn't imagine it would be so easy, or so tasty. We tried both the venison and the beef steaks. They came out on a flat lava stone which had apparently been heated to 400°C! It meant that we could slice off pieces of meat and cook them to perfection, every piece. As we sliced, cooked and ate, the stone slowly cooled, so the meat never got over-cooked or cold. The roasted…continue reading →
New walking route – to Mt. Dumblane

New walking route – to Mt. Dumblane

The Mt Isobel Tramping Group has recently completed volunteer work on establishing a clearly marked poled route from Jacks Pass to the summit of Mt Dumblane. This delightful walk is now available as an alternative day hike to the higher traditional Hanmer Springs to Mt Isobel route. How to get there: A short drive along Jacks Pass Road from the centre of Hanmer Springs village, turn right just past the medical centre and drive up the unsealed Clarence Valley Road to the carpark at the top (approx. 20 minutes). Alternatively first walk up…continue reading →
Review: Waiau River Estate winery

Review: Waiau River Estate winery

Just 15 minutes drive from Hanmer Springs is the newly renamed Waiau River Estate. Formerly known as Marble Point Winery, it changed name when it changed hands recently, with the new owner, Conrad, being the son of the previous owners. We dropped in on a mid-week sunny afternoon and tried a $5 wine tasting, where we could sample the wines grown on the estate. Conrad certainly knows the wines well, and the cheese board he made up for us for $50 was great, as was the coffee we were served.   With a…continue reading →
Review: Amuri Helicopters tour

Review: Amuri Helicopters tour

A helicopter ride is an amazing way to see the beauty of New Zealand from a completely different angle. We've taken 2 flights with Amuri Helicopters now, the first was in winter with the snow on the mountains and we could land up on a mountain peak for an amazing view and photo stop. The second time was in autumn. We were picked up in Kaikoura, flew north past all the repair work on the State Highway 1, over the wine districts to the Marlborough Sounds and north west to see the Able…continue reading →
Review: St. James Journeys

Review: St. James Journeys

To get an introduction to the beauty of the back country landscapes, and the history of the St. James station area just behind Hanmer Springs, four of us took a half day trip with Andrew in his Land Rover 4WD. We felt safe in the hands of Andrew, who knew the roads, the weather conditions and the countryside like the back of his hand. Andrew took us to some stunning remote wilderness locations (with no mobile phone coverage, but Andrew has a satellite phone, just in case). This is a great way to…continue reading →

New beds & BluRay players

We have just completed updated all of our 10 studio rooms with brand new Sleepyhead Elegance King beds, super comfortable!   We have also just purchased BluRay players for all of the Executive Spa Studio's and the Honeymoon Spa Studio, to boost the viewing pleasure of your in-room entertainment (not forgetting we have Netflix!). These studios are all upstairs with their own balcony and view to the trees and mountains. The Standard Spa and Shower studios downstairs have DVD players as before, as do the 1- and 2-bedroom units. (Did we win the lottery…continue reading →
Bye bye SKY, hello NETFLIX

Bye bye SKY, hello NETFLIX

We've surveyed our guests and the conclusion is clear, our trial of offering Netflix is a better addition to the Freeview channels than anything SKY has to offer. So, from 1st April 2018 it's bye bye SKY and hello Netflix for good. By dropping SKY we are able to invest in things that you our guests will get more pleasure from, not only Netflix but also new beds, pictures, etc.. You can influence this too... let us know what you think will make your stay more enjoyable.   The media has recently reported…continue reading →
Review: The new number 1 restaurant in Hanmer Springs

Review: The new number 1 restaurant in Hanmer Springs

We first visited this restaurant back in July 2017 not long after it first opened. We've been back many times and they never fail to deliver. Now they've attained the #1 spot on Trip Advisor for restaurants in Hanmer Springs. At MK-Restaurant*, be prepared for amazing flavour sensations in every dish, everything so fresh tasting and locally sourced - some of it from the local forest. Oh and make sure you have room for desert. This is Michelin quality cooking - we're just lucky these two chefs like to live in Hanmer Springs.…continue reading →
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