While you’re here, you won’t want to miss –
South Canterbury offers a variety of delicious food as well as gorgeous scenery, heritage towns and down to earth locals among its many things to do. Tucked to the eastern side of the Mackenzie Basin, the best way to appreciate the distinct flavor of this gourmet district is to take it slowly.
Spend a decent amount of time trying everything available, even if it means loosening your belt a notch or two!
Inland Scenic Route 72
The last section of this iconic South Island touring route ends in Geraldine, a small town at the top of South Canterbury.
Despite its size you’ll find a mouth-watering array of specialty foods on offer in Geraldine, including the famous Barkers products – a scrumptious range of local jams, chutneys and fruit syrups (blackcurrant, apricot, lemon & honey) sold all over New Zealand. The shop is based on the family farm where you can stock up on gifts or just keep them for yourself.
Your journey of discovery doesn’t stop once you reach Geraldine.
South Canterbury is home to plenty of scenic picnic stops where you can enjoy your newly purchased foodie treats. From Temuka and Pleasant Point, to Timaru and Waimate, there are many green rural spaces where you can enjoy some outstanding views, forest walks or relax in a quiet haven.
If you are in Pleasant Point be sure to check out the town’s claim to fame – the world’s best custard squares! These Denheath delicacies are simply delicious and a must try if you’re passing through. Although you’ll find them in cafes and cake shops around New Zealand, they originated in Pleasant Point where the family-owned business does a roaring trade.
If you have more time for a leisurely lunch in a peaceful, rural setting, head out to the Opihi Vineyard. You’ll enjoy award-winning wines, accompanied by fresh, delicious food in the Cafe, while savoring the sweeping vistas of the surrounding valley.
Things To Do in Timaru
While food is still a popular reason to visit this seaside town, there are plenty of other things to do to keep you occupied.
Spend some time at Caroline Bay, a safe swimming beach with a park and activities such as miniature golf and a maze.
The town itself has some lovely Edwardian architecture plus scenic walks, gardens, an art gallery and the South Canterbury Museum. Be sure to stop at Te Ana, the Maori Rock Art Centre, for an engaging, interactive exhibit and stories from Maori culture.
Visit Waimate in December and you’ll be immersed in strawberry fever. This Edwardian country town gears up for its annual festival to celebrate the berry industry with music, entertainment, stalls and, of course, lots of strawberries!
Other famous Waimate events include the Waimate 50 Street Car Race (October), Waimate Rodeo (December), Waimate Shears (October) and the March Hare Motorcycle Rally.
Of course Waimate isn’t the only town in South Canterbury that celebrates its heritage – past and present. Travel about the region and you’ll soon discover the range of things to do in South Canterbury make it a lively, happening place – with a strong emphasis on delicious home cooking!