The Hurunui District possesses a wealth of destinations worthy of consideration when it comes planning your next day trip or weekend away. Luci Morris uncovers just some of what is on offer.
Found only 45 minutes from Christchurch, the Hurunui District is home to rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, inland alpine villages and lush green forests. It is an area of spectacular natural beauty.
Whether you opt to spend several days uncovering all that this magical area has to offer, based at one of the accommodation options, or set out from home for a day trip there is plenty to discover and plenty to fall in love with – and all of it found at our backdoor. How lucky are we!
WINERIES & EATERIES
Heading north on State Highway One there is a sprawling offering for foodies and wine connoisseurs. Having banded together under the slogan ‘the coolest little wine region’ this is an area worth a stop (or two) as you set out to uncover this magical region. Described as Hurunui’s pantry, the Waipara Valley boasts a range of authentic food producers, foragers and farmers, who offer everything from truffles, to bread, olives and more. To wash it down, there is a plethora of wineries and cellar doors from which to choose. Whether you opt for a more formal setting at Pegasus Bay, the relaxed atmosphere of Waipara Springs or the culinary creativity of Black Estate there is a destination for every palate. For those in the area on a Sunday and seeking something a bit different, the Iron Ridge Quarry Sculpture Park is worth a look. Formally the Amberley Lime Works, it has been extensively landscaped with native plantings to form a unique exhibition space
for the steel artworks of Raymond Herber. While further north at Greta Valley, Fossil Point Café and Gallery is another must-do for those with a penchant for art and superb home baking.
Hanmer Springs is one of the Hurunui’s most popular destinations and offers everything from a romantic getaway for two, to unforgettable family entertainment.
Crisp mountain air and sign-posted forest walks set the scene for a weekend of outdoor adventure; while for those with a love of shopping and relaxation there is plenty here for you, too. Vibrant boutiques sit alongside worldclass cafés and restaurants, while the famous thermal pools and spa provide an idyllic setting in
which to unwind and indulge.
Most famous for being a coffee stop between Christchurch and Kaikoura, Cheviot is a small town with a lot to offer, including a great cuppa! In a town where passing traffic was the bloodline, the sporadic closure of State Highway One along the southern Kaikoura coastline in the wake of the 14 November 2016 7.8 earthquake, is placing undue pressure on this small coastal town. But there is a silver lining, if you are a cyclist! Kilometres of beautiful, scenic road are open for biking business, with no trucks, limited campervans, and very few cars! What you will find is loads of magnificent scenery, dramatic coastline and a small town
with a number of cafés to imbibe your favourite brew. Lycra accepted. From the township itself the cycling tracks continue with both on-road and off-road options available. For those with a preference to explore on foot there are plenty of walking tracks to explore in the Cheviot Hills Reserve and from the beautiful Gore Bay, only minutes from the town. There is also a slice of history to uncover with Cheviot boasting three Morris & Co stained glass windows in the St John’s Anglican Church.