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Summer in North Canterbury


In a summer where every trip out of the house feels like a special treat, make the most of our freedoms with a trip to North Canterbury. The scenic region is undoubtedly at its best in high summer, and just a short drive away from central Christchurch, how could you not stop in?

 

 

WINE
It would be negligent to start this article with anything other than a nod to this globally renowned Waipara wine region. Here, you’ll find 200km of prime viticulture territory – all set against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps. Stop at any number of wineries to enjoy a glass of the good stuff.

…AND DINE
And while you’re there, you may as well tuck into the boutique gourmet cuisine offerings, too. Not only is North Canterbury home to beautiful wine-making, it is also teeming with artisan foodie delights. From Rangiora’s cafes and riverside bars to the winery restaurants – the eateries await any occasion.

COASTAL CRUISING
Summer is not complete without checking out a new, or favourite, beach spot. And the North Canterbury coast has plenty to choose from. Admire the marine wildlife from Kaikoura, or visit Gore Bay or Motunau Beach, where you can admire the coastal cliffs while swimming in your pick of a dip in the sea or river.

RELAX AND WIND DOWN
Take a moment to soak it all in, while soaking in the hot pools at Hanmer. This is a favoured spot for Cantabs for a reason: Close enough to head for a night or two, but far enough to feel like an escape. Hanmer has a crowd-pleasing balance of relaxing activities, as well as nature walks, mountain biking and adventure activities.

FEELING FESTY
The North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival on March 7 is a highlight on summer events calendars. A day of feasting, dancing and of course tasting spectacular wines, the festival is set under the oaks at Glenmark Domain with tickets starting at just $29. Soak in the atmosphere while sipping on some award-winning wines.


 

Holistic, healthy Hanmer


Simply escaping from the craziness of the city is holistically beneficial for us, so Hanmer must be a wellness bundle with bells on! Even driving through serene Waipara valley, on route to the heavenly haven, renews and relaxes all the senses.

 

We can’t take a pilgrimage to famed spa sanctuaries of the world just now, but Hanmer offers very comparable health and happiness benefits to lure us – world class in fact.

It’s the alpine air, therapeutic hot springs, peace and a woodland abundance of exotic trees such as Norwegian Spruce and black pine.

Simply breathing in that Christmas-like scent is beneficial. Add a spa treatment or therapeutic massage to unwind the stress clock, then nourish with healthy local cuisine.

Back to Roman times people bathed in mineral-rich thermal waters for wellness.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is born from rainwater seeped deep into the mountain rock, and drawn up to create rich therapeutic mineral pools. A soak will soothe aching bones and many an ailment.

The slightly higher altitude of 358m encourages beneficial deep breathing of fresh alpine air for those who stroll or cycle through this North Canterbury hot spot.

It has also been smoking and vaping-free since 2018.

Whether you’re heading for an overnight (or multiple) or a day trip – a soujourn to Hanmer could be the holistic, healthy escape you need to see out the year, or in the new one.


 

Crafters’ paradise: Mickey Raes


If you’ve been thinking on how to support local while getting out of the city for some well-deserved R and R, there are plenty of reasons to head to Hanmer Springs. The jewel in North Canterbury’s crown, Hanmer has long been the destination for adventure junkies and those craving an escape, but it seems it’s also becoming the place to go for the clever crafters amongst us.

 

 

Wendy Lamont has been operating Mickey Raes in the Boulder Point Precinct for almost three years but she has been turning her talented hand to all manner of exquisite handmade crafts for 30 years prior – so she knows her business!

There’s just about everything you could ask for at this crafters’ paradise; the store stocks everything from craft, sewing and knitting supplies, through to fabrics and haberdashery.

The delightful Diamond Dotz crafting kits are an increasingly popular way to unwind and Wendy has already stocked up on exquisite Christmas fabrics.

 

If you’ve been struggling to get hold of wool and fabrics due to Covid-19 shortages, you’ll find plenty of that here, too!

With giftware galore and Christmas just around the corner, you can start your gift shopping right here and enjoy free gift wrapping with purchase.

Pick up a gift for someone’s big 21st or grab your wedding accessories – from car ribbons and flower arrangements to horseshoes and garters.

Heading to the Hanmer Springs Fete on Friday 30 October? Why not make a day – or a weekend – of it; head to the Boulder Point Precinct, grab a bite to eat and shop to your hearts content.

 


 

Northern gems


Hurunui, north of Christchurch, is an oasis for explorers. From beaches to native and exotic bush, to historic villages and enticing wineries. Whether relaxation to you is an indulgent getaway packed with spas and gastronomical delights, or something more adrenaline-pumping and off the grid, here are Metropol’s picks for things to do whatever
your activity appetite.

 

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
Horse riding, rafting, bungy jumping jet boating, quad biking, BMX and 4WD-ing – there’s no shortage of local Hurunui businesses to support while you’re getting your thrills. Mainly centered near Hanmer Springs, these activities can be found scattered throughout Hurunui – from Waimakariri to Waipara.

LUXURIOUS LOUNGING
If your idea of a getaway is to relax in style at a day spa, or amongst the vines with a glass of wine in hand, there are options abound in Hurunui, home to world class winery region, Waipara. Here, award-winning imbibements are grown and produced, alongside delicious food with a picturesque backdrop. Or, seek out the day spa next to Hanmer Springs Thermal Resort.

STROLLING AND ROLLING
Or, maybe you’re more of an active relaxer who finds peace in keeping busy. If that’s the case, North Canterbury’s plethora of hiking and biking trails are calling your name. There’s a number of walkable mountains like Mt Thomas and Mt Grey, as well as the glut of options in Hanmer, as mentioned on page 37.


 

Timber triumph: Loburn Sawmill Ltd


Timber; its versatility is unsurpassed and it is tasked with everything from keeping us warm in winter to forming the very framework from which we build our homes.

 

But our love of timber is based on so much more than its aesthetic value. Of course it looks good, but it’s also strong, long-lasting, durable and easy to work with.

And, as a natural, renewable building material, it gets the sustainability tick as well.

Supplying Macrocarpa, Oregon, Larch and other minor species of timber, Loburn Sawmill is your local home for milled timber, firewood and gardening supplies, located at the end of Fletchers Road in Loburn, North Canterbury.

Established in 2016 and run by fourth generation sawmiller, Matt Stuart, alongside his local team, the company specialises in beams, stress graded timber and landscaping supplies, with dry firewood also available.

More recently, portable Larch cabins have proven a popular drawcard for the local business. Suitable for offices, sleepouts, additional bedrooms and Air BnBs (with shower and toilet blocks also available), they look as good as they perform. Strong and durable, the quality solid timber cabins are manufactured at the sawmill at 32 Fletchers Road, Loburn.

Loburn Sawmill takes pride in supplying quality products in bulk, but also in its ability and drive to complete custom and one-off jobs for clients.

Visit the website to check out the range of products and order firewood. Phone (03) 312 8963 or email sales@loburnsawmill.co.nz.


 

Walk of Art


Art in a Garden presents the outdoor exhibition Sculpture North Canterbury at Pegasus Bay Winery this spring. Art lovers can enjoy a glass (or two) of wine as they take in the work of some of New Zealand’s most talented sculptors – including Ben Foster, Matthew Williams, and Hannah Kidd – in the lush garden setting.

 

Ben Foster with Silver Figure

 

Commencing October 17 and running for six-weeks; this will be the event’s third year at the winery and is free to the public.

An exclusive preview launch party is happening Friday October 16 and the best part?

Gold Dipped Cone by Hannah Kidd

Tickets are still available! For a modest $40, guests are treated to the exhibition, a selection of canapés, live music, and performance art.

And if you are really feeling a connection to a piece, all of the art is for sale during the six-weeks.

Shadow by Ben Foster

If this sounds like something you just can’t wait to attend, tickets are only available from Eventfinda. Visit the Pegasus Bay Winery website for more details.


 

Seeing the northern sights


Just passing through or navigating to a destination, there’s many a sight to see as you head north from Christchurch. Here’s Metropol’s picks of places to check out in North Canterbury.

Gore Bay

 

WAIPARA
The heart of the region’s food and wine scene. Stop off at one of the award-winning wineries to sample the local delicacies amongst the region’s rolling hills and romantic vineyards.

GORE BAY
You won’t regret diverting from SH1 for 8km to see the breathtaking Cathedral Cliffs (pictured) at this popular surf beach. There’s accommodation, campgrounds and public amenities if you’d like to stay awhile.

ST JAMES CONSERVATION AREA
There’s nothing more grounding than getting out in nature, and this 78,000-hectare reserve near Hamner Springs offers just that. Hike, mountain bike, horse ride, ski, hunt or fish amongst glaciated valleys, streams, wetlands, lakes and picturesque tarns.

MOTUNAU
If you’re a hunter-gatherer type in the mood for some kaimoana, this coastal settlement is beckoning. A popular blue cod fishing spot, experienced divers can try their luck – and craft – at nabbing a crayfish, or simply check out the abundant marine life.

MT LYFORD
Home to an excellent ski field, Mt Lyford’s log cabin village is a quaint place to relax after an adrenaline-filled day on the slopes. Put your feet up at the Mt Lyford Lodge and enjoy some local hospitality in the restaurant and bar.


 

Chasing Waterfalls


Despite what the popular girl group TLC told you – sometimes it is appropriate to go chasing waterfalls. In this case, it’s the beautiful waterfalls dotted around North Canterbury, all just a short drive away.

 

 

Whether you’re looking for a reason for exercise, an excuse to get out of the house or a backdrop for your next Instagram shot, we’ve got the waterfall whereabouts for you.

Anne’s Falls – Port Hills: This is the closest of our five suggestions – only a 45-minute drive from Christchurch. Pack lunch and enjoy the two-hour return track. A small trek for what seems like a large pay off to see a beautiful horsetail waterfall. Don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear because the track can get a bit steep at times.


Avalanche Creek Falls – Arthur’s Pass National Park: These falls are one of the furthest falls away, but the two-hour drive is the longest part of the journey. The stunning three-part falls totalling 80 metres are just a short five-minute walk from the start of the track. View the lower part from the bridge, middle from the lookout platform and if you want to take in all three leaps – follow the Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall track for about five minutes, turn around and be astonished.


Devil’s Punchbowl Falls – Arthur’s Pass National Park: While the name does sound a bit daunting, the falls themselves are rather spectacular; spanning 112 metres. Like Avalanche Creek Falls this waterfall is a two-hour drive from Christchurch but the perk is that you get a two-for-one-deal with the falls being very close to each other. If you’re daring enough to venture to the falls during winter, you may see the spot dusted with snow.


Ryde Falls – Oxford: What better company is there to chase waterfalls with than man’s best friend? Lucky for you this walking and biking track allows for dogs, so long as they’re under control at all times. Go searching for that water wonderland hidden in the heart of Oxford.


Washpen Falls – Windwhistle: Sometimes chasing these waterfalls takes more than just a sense of adventure, a car and a leg or two to walk on; in the instance of Washpen Falls, a small fee is required. For $10 per adult and $5 per child (under 15) a track guide and the use of walking sticks is available. Although, this is one of the larger walks – you’ll have to allow for two hours to walk the track and moderate fitness is recommended. But if you wish to do more than just look at the falls, abseiling and giant swings are also available! Take chasing those waterfalls to a whole new level.


 

Make a day of it


Southbank is a new route launched by the businesses perched on the Southbank of the Waipara River. The group have worked together to create a day trip destination that includes world-class wine, gourmet toasties, cheese, walkways and a sculpture park.

 

 

The Bone Line: provides an authentic wine tasting experience. Sit amongst the natives in a large garden with views of the hills after stretching your legs on the walkway (which would have just taken you 45 minutes and 22 history lesson signs to complete).

Terrace Edge: wanted to offer some different experiences, hence their Wine & Food Match Experience – five wines, matched with five small canapes. Another favourite is their gourmet toastie combo, matched with your wine of choice.

Georges Road Wines: offers a Tiny House experience. Nestled along among the vines, the Wine Pod has panoramic views across the vines to the hills, alps and beyond.

Iron Ridge Quarry Sculpture Park: Sculptor Raymond Herber has transformed an old abandoned Limestone quarry into a huge stunning exhibition space like no other. On display are many different sculptures from amusing kinetic works through to giant steel and stainless-steel pieces that are sure to impress.

We’ve also got some other North Canterbury favourites:

Ataahua Wines are a much loved North Canterbury favourite. Purchase some of their amazing wines via their online store today.
www.ataahuawine.co.nz/Wines

Pegasus Bay Wines, situated on Stockgrove Road Waipara, is another notable mention. Pop in for a tasting and cellar door experience on the weekend.
www.pegasusbay.com


 

En Route: Route 72


Craving a bit of socialising after being confined to your homes? Make Route 72 a must-see on your support local bucket lists. You will not regret it.

 

 

Found in the heart of Cust – just 40 minutes from Christchurch and 10 minutes from Rangiora – you will find the perfect place for your next dining and shopping escapade at the Route 72 Café Bar Emporium.

An irresistible breakfast menu is available from 9am to 11:30 and an extensive lunch menu from 11:30am to 3pm.

Desserts and home baking, an array of wines and beverages are available, as well as a takeaway menu. Friday nights offer a casual dining menu in summer.

Due to temporary restricted seating we recommend bookings and get togethers during the week if possible as weekends are very busy.

The Emporium is well stocked with your winter needs of possum and merino garments made in New Zealand, as well as household goodies and gifts.

Route 72 is located at 1697 Cust Road, in the heart of the village, phone 03 312 5595, or visit their website. Open Tuesday to Sunday – 8am to 4pm.

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