'It's fantastic': Hanmer Springs cashing in on post-COVID-19 rush as tourists book out the town

Hanmer Springs' star attraction is back up and running.

The alpine town's hot pools have opened their doors for the first time in nine weeks as locals ready themselves for a busy Queen's Birthday weekend.

Locals were allowed into the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa on Monday, before the public is allowed in from Tuesday. Many residents took up the opportunity - some splashing about, others enjoying a moment of peace.

"We thought [we'd] just come down and test everything out and support the community," one resident told Newshub.

The hot pools' staff were even excited to be back at work. 

"I just missed everyone that I worked with and all the customers and just be able to lifeguard a pool," Rebecca Vickery said.

Everyone at the pools is gearing up for a busy weekend. 

"What we've done for Queen's Birthday weekend is we've sold 300 tickets for three different slots over the day," Graeme Abbott explained.

"Then each of the pools have been clearly marked out as to where people can sit - they'll be able to sit in their couples or groups and our lifeguards will manage that." 

Locals of the small alpine town say with the re-opening of the thermal pools, they feel optimistic about weathering the COVID-19 storm - as 80 percent of their visitors are from New Zealand.

"The town's sold-out in terms of accommodation, so while I think there's a few beds left there won't be terribly many - so yeah, we're looking forward to a big weekend here," Abbott said.

In fact, there's hardly a bed available for this coming weekend.

Paul Baigent, the owner of premium hotel The St James, told Newshub there's a couple of beds open on Friday night, but that's it.

"We're probably ahead of this time last year for Queen's Birthday, which is fantastic."

It's welcome news for a tourist town ready and waiting for the crowds to come back.