While you’re here, you won’t want to miss –
Just an hour’s drive inland from Christchurch, Mid Canterbury’s array of activities and inspiring Lord of the Rings scenery are easily accessible. Towns such as Ashburton, Methven and Mt Somers offer plenty of things to do in Mid Canterbury depending on your interests, level of fitness and budget.
Mt Hutt is the region’s major draw-card for active visitors in both winter and summer with excellent skiing, mountain biking and hiking opportunities. If you’re interested in heritage towns, art galleries and museums than Mid Canterbury can also deliver.
Methven is Mid Canterbury’s tourist hot spot for its breathtaking location.
To explore the surrounds on foot, head to the i-SITE center and pick up a map. There are a number of great walks varying from a few hours to longer half-day and full-day treks. A guided tour is a good way to take in some of the locations used in the making of Lord of the Rings as there are a few around this area.
Methven is also where you’ll be able to catch a scenic flight, either by fixed wing aircraft, helicopter or hot-air balloon. On a fine day this is easily the best way to fully appreciate the splendor of the Southern Alps, Mt Cook and the Mid Canterbury Plains.
A short distance from Methven you can jump onto the Inland Scenic Route 72 which travels down through the foothills of Mt Hutt and on to Staveley and Mt Somers.
These two historic towns have strong links to the past with heritage homesteads, old miners caves and museums with artifacts from New Zealand’s pioneering days. Some homes have formal gardens open for viewing by the public.
If you’re traveling on but feeling hungry then stop off here for lunch at a cafe or pick up some goodies for a picnic. Staveley Store has an array of home-baking (cakes, pastries, quiche), and they also have very large sausage rolls – a Kiwi staple!
Dining & Culture
From classic Kiwi carryouts to first-class dining, Mid Canterbury will spoil you with the choices for fresh, delicious fare.
Ashburton has good shopping and heritage attractions, as well as a number of quality restaurants and cafes. Methven also has top-notch dining options with many local chefs incorporating the abundance of fresh, local produce.
Gourmet cooking isn’t the only creative attraction around. The Mid Canterbury district is bursting with art & crafts, art galleries and many quirky museums. Check out Ashburton’s Aviation Museum with its large collection of World War II planes. You’ll also find the Woodworking Museum and Harness Racing Museum.
The energy of Mid Canterbury is infectious, though some of its annual events are perhaps best viewed from the sidelines. A Muddy Good Run is a fun event held in October that features people either running, walking (or sliding) over and under various obstacles including fences, tires and bales of hay. The end result is the participants are covered from head to toe in — you guessed it — mud!
Other events to look out for in Mid Canterbury include the Rakaia Salmon Fishing Competition in February and the Mt Somers Classic Mountain Bike Race in April.
Events like these are a great way to meet the locals who are always happy to share their tips about the best things to do in Mid Canterbury. This is one slice of southern paradise just too good to keep secret.