North Canterbury is a great little region ripe for exploration. Wineries and unique eateries, boutique accommodation, arts and crafts, fashion and home wares, unique wildlife, not to mention an abundance of al fresco utopias to walk, bike, picnic, swim, read or simply relax within – it’s somewhat of a forgotten paradise.
When the February 2011 earthquake struck 2km west of Lyttelton, Christchurch was devastated both figuratively and literally. But in its wake the community spirit that spread throughout mid and north Canterbury was incremental in helping those affected to see a way through.
Having just experienced their own 7.8 magnitude earthquake in November last year, that’s exactly what the Kaikoura, Hurunui and Marlborough districts need right now: our support, and there are plenty of ways to give it while also getting something out of it (other than good juju of course!).
The road between Christchurch and Kaikoura has been reopened and along it are the charming townships of Cheviot and Gore Bay. A short distance inland you’ll find the more high-country retreats of Hanmer Springs, Mt Lyford and Culverden.
Within each of these communities is an opportunity to show your support whilst taking an hour, a day or a weekend to treat yourself to the natural and cultural wonders hiding in our back yard.
These are some of our favourite spots…
There’s no therapy like retail therapy
- Shop 35, Cheviot, for stylish homewares, designer clothing, jewellery and accessories
- Art and Design Gallery, Kaikoura
- Indulge Body and Soul Day Spa, Kaikoura
- West End Clothing Co, Kaikoura, stockists of Roxy, DC, Vans, Adidas and more
- My Sister’s Wardrobe, Culverden, for boutique offerings of clothing, giftware and accessories
- Majuba Gallery, Hanmer Springs
- Ula, Hanmer Springs, for men and women’s street wear, fashionable jewellery, gifts etc.
- Cheviot A&P show – Saturday 11th of March at the showgrounds
- Cheviot Country Music Festival – Saturday 25th of February, 7pm until late at the Cheviot Rugby Clubrooms.
Luxury B&Bs/boutique accommodation
- Hapuku Lodge and Tree Houses, Kaikoura
- Ribbonwood Country House, Cheviot
- Mt Lyford Chalet, Mt Lyford
- Cheltenham House, Hanmer Springs
- Buses run daily from Christchurch to Kaikoura via Cheviot, departing Christchurch at 7am and departing Kaikoura at3:50pm
- ‘Let’s carpool’ is a website for organising group travel/carpooling, so even if you’re sans a vehicle and you miss the bus, the trip might still be possible with a quick visit to Let’s carpool’s website.
- For those who want to help but can’t spare the time, donations are your best way to provide support.
- NZ Red Cross is taking donations to help with Kaikoura earthquake relief.
- Others can spare the time, but not the resources, in which case there’s always volunteering. Contact the local council or the NZ Red Cross to find out where you’d be most helpful.
Explore the outdoors
- Kaikoura Peninsula Walk (11.7km)
- Whale and albatross watch
- Swim with the dolphins
- Explore Kaikoura’s caves
- Horse trek through the gorge.
- The Ready Money Trail (3km), Cheviot Hills Reserve
- Hurunui Manuka Bay Coastal Track (4.8km)
- Surfing beach or Cathedral Cliffs, Gore Bay
- Strava cycling challenge
- Cheviot Golf Club.
- Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
- Hanmer Springs Animal Park
- Mini golf
- Jet boating, rafting and fishing
- Mt St Patrick Ski Area.
Wine and dine the weekend away
- Cheviot: Twin Rivers Café, The Paddock Café, Magpies Rest, Cheviot Tea Rooms
- Kaikoura: Tuti’s Restaurant and Bar, Strawberry Tree, Caves Kaikoura Café
- Hanmer Springs: Monteith’s Brewery Bar, Five Stags Restaurant, Marble Point Winery.
By Lydia Truesdale