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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pegasus Bay has long been recognised for its top drops and now the exceptional space with its breathtaking gardens, lakes, wetlands and beautiful restaurant is making its mark as a premium event venue in Waipara.
“This is a new direction for us after 30 years operating our restaurant,” says Marketing Manager Edward Donaldson, the latest generation of the Donaldson family which established Pegasus Bay in the 1980s.
“We have long been approached about events packages and with about 15 acres of very well-maintained gardens, it’s a very unique location in terms of its indoor-outdoor flow, whether it’s a wedding ceremony or canapés and drinks on the lawn,” Edward says.
Pegasus Bay can cater for up to 110 for a sit down meal across the restaurant and mezzanine floor; a striking space which features 100-year-old recycled rimu panelling and kauri flooring, beautiful chandeliers and Jonathan Smart Gallery artworks.
Add in some of the best fine wines in the region and it’s the perfect place for any event.
The Waipara wine region, an hour north of Christchurch, boasts 75 vineyards and stretches over more than 1,200 hectares of plantings. It is renowned for the amazing pinot noirs and rieslings that are produced there. But every great region has an equally great origin story; a pioneer in the trade and for this particular district… it was the Waipara Springs Winery.
Established in 1981, the Moore family pioneered the planting of the first vines in the valley.
Having bottled their first vintage in 1989 and officially opening the restaurant in 1990, the proud original North Canterbury family will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in October this year.
The family owned and operated business is in its third generation.
But that doesn’t stop first owner Jill Moore from sitting down behind the Cellar Door telling a collection of her most cherished stories while running you through the wines.
Whether it’s about the original building being a horse stable or the unique climate of the Waipara Valley – there’s never a dull moment.
The Waipara Springs Winery is already locally recognised and loved, so why not go out and have a look at what everyone is raving about.
Current owners, Katie Lumber and Andrew Moore, expressed that “We are about offering a memorable experience,”. Their motto is “wine dine relax” and they certainly have plenty to offer; casual dining, group lunch bookings, hens’ parties, corporate functions, weddings and (you guessed it) wine tastings.
This hidden gem is only a short drive from Christchurch… so what are you waiting for?