Hanmer Springs is a popular tourist destination, and a hot thermal pools resort.The towns population swells during holidays. Bungy jumping, mountain biking and bush walking are common tourist activities, and there is an airline service available for the viewing of the town's alpine surroundings. A Visitor Information Centre next to the hot springs provides information about the area and booking facilities for transport. Trampers can obtain weather information, maps and guidance from the Department of Conservation. Budget accommodation includes a new Youth Hostel.
Waiau Ferry Bridge over Waiau River, just outside of Hanmer Springs
A daily shuttle bus connection travels from Hanmer Springs to Christchurch and to Kaikoura and back ( see the local backpackers shuttle services.) The town is the gateway to the Molesworth station, Lake Tennyson and Rainbow station. During summer months, gravel roads through the Rainbow Valley to St Arnaud and the Nelson Lakes National Park, and through the Molesworth Station to Blenheim, Picton, and the Marlborough region are frequented by travellers, four-wheel drivers, and guided tour groups. There are two skifields in the Hanmer Springs area: the Hanmer Springs Ski Area and Mount Lyford.