Sam enjoying Hanmer
Sam enjoying Hanmer

This week I finally had a break between some very stressful work projects. With about a week of days off in exchange for weekends I worked, I decided to plan something more refreshing than just sitting around at home.

I started with a massage on Tuesday. It’s recently become clear to me that I keep all my stress in the back of my neck/head. I had no idea who to see down here in the South Island so I looked around until I found somewhere seemingly “legit”; a massage clinic at the local university’s recreation centre. Overall, good experience, and my suspicion about anxiety and neck issues being the source of my lightheaded spells were confirmed as shortly after the massage, I became dizzy and lightheaded again after that area was worked.

On Thursday we went for an overnight trip to Hanmer Springs, a cute geothermal resort town about 2 hours north. While I don’t have any photos of the hot springs themselves (left my phone in the cabin), it was a truly wonderful, refreshing, not too crowded off-peak day, and we spent 3 hours relaxing then frantically running from pool to pool in the -3°C weather. Next time I’ll bring sandals so my feet don’t freeze off!

There were 22 outdoor thermal pools at a range of temperatures, with and without sulphur and other features like water jets and bubbles. My favourite was a perfect warm-but-not-hot pool, with sulphur and fixed, hose-like attachments that would spray water back into itself with different nozzles, like a split stream showerhead, a long waterfall, and a wide flat vaccuum-head looking one. I could have stayed in it all day and almost fell asleep. There was also an asian grandma wearing a floral wetsuit and showercap parked right in front of one of the nozzles, eyes closed and shaking slightly while it pummeled her back for at least 10 minutes. Goals.

While in the pools, after a while I finally felt truly relaxed, and it reminded me of the summer vacations my parents used to take my brother and I on as a kid, where I was happy, safe, warm and carefree enough to lay back and daydream without worry. I need like a month of that!

Our little cabin for the night
Our little cabin for the night
That's all frost.
That's all frost.
Good thing we brought gloves
Good thing we brought gloves
Cozy from inside the cabin
Cozy from inside the cabin
We used the actual hot pools during the day, and used this before checking out in the morning.
We used the actual hot pools during the day, and used this before checking out in the morning.
On Friday morning we explored town, and this historic hospital that's no longer used. Creepy but awesome.
On Friday morning we explored town, and this historic hospital that's no longer used. Creepy but awesome.
Town from a little further away up a walking path
Town from a little further away up a walking path
Making the drive home.
Making the drive home.
Back near home and waiting for my toasted veggie sandwich.
Back near home and waiting for my toasted veggie sandwich.