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Travel guide

Ashburton things to do & see

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Best bits, your only guide to a great holiday

Discover Selwyn. Ashburton is a jumping off point to explore inland Canterbury Darfield, the braided Rakaia River and the alpine village of Methven. Find heritage gems of Glentunnel and Hororata. Uncovering your crafty side as you linger at Ashburton’s Ashford Village. The fibres, looms and weaving materials are guaranteed to find a way into your suitcase. Enjoy browsing Ashburton’s art gallery and the several museums focused on the transportation sector from aviation to vintage trains. Wander through gardens and parks as a break from enjoying the retro high street shopping in a rural setting. Ashburton is part of mid Canterbury district and for more ideas what to do check Canterbury Regional Guide for inspiration. 

 

GARDENS AND PARKS

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE

  • Ashburton town clock, with its base of fountains, is most impressive, great for getting your bearings and telling the time
  • Enjoy views of Lake Clearwater from the lake shore or the nearby Mount Guy (1319 m) Lake Clearwater tracks – Mountain biking and check out nearby Lake Camp with its basic camping ground and outstanding alpine views

TIP: Take a peek at  Bruce McIlroy where Bentley and Rolls-Royce Motor Vehicles ranging from 1907 Rolls-Royce motors and all Bentleys to the present day are restored. Beautiful luxury vehicles gleaming with love and attention.

Ashburton town clock @Harcourts
Ashburton town clock @Harcourts
Road trip Washpen Falls route, Ashburton, Canterubury
Road trip Washpen Falls route, Ashburton, Canterubury

WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS

  • The Ashburton River Trail is a purpose-built shared trail for all fitness levels. Check the travel pack section for a map.
  • Rakaia River walks and jet boating or Ashley Gorge for a picnic, check out What’s so great about Darfield

TIP: Rakaia River exploration

  • Adventure Rates | Jet Boat Bookings | Methven | Canterbury the Rakaia braided river is a popular choice for visitors wishing to enjoy an adrenaline water adventure through the Rakaia Gorge.
  • Rakaia Gorge walkway The walkway passes through several forest and shrub communities before climbing the gorse-lined historic ferryman’s track. Continue along one of several glacial and river-carved terraces to a good lookout point. This will take about 45 minutes.

Read more What’s so great about Methven

FESTIVALS

  • Ashburton A&P show is a stunner, definitely one for pink floss confectionary, sheep being herded by clever sheep dogs and cake stalls aplenty
  • Boulevard Day is a classic fair atmosphere when the entire town comes out to enjoy food, play and shop in pop up and markets (usually held in September)
  • Wheels Week is a week of events that focuses on wheels, past and present. Dust off the bike and get going
Ashburton A&P show @ashburtonshow
Ashburton A&P show @ashburtonshow

WEATHER

POPULATION

  • 27,400

GETTING AROUND

  • A private vehicle is recommended as there is little in the way of public transport

GETTING THERE

  • Ashburton is located on State Highway 1

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

  • Maori name for area, Hakatere. The name Ashburton is colonial in origin honouring Lord Ashburton, a member of the Canterbury Association
  • A major service centre for the local farming district, Ashburton sits between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers. When European settlers first arrived here, the area was a dry, tussock-covered expanse with hardly any trees. Today with extensive irrigation the town supports a flourishing agricultural sector. The town developed from a river crossing. By the 1870s, Ashburton had a brick factory and some grand Victorian brick buildings. Nineteenth century church architecture is amply represented in Ashburton. Following English town planning styles the town has two major squares Baring Squares east and west

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