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What’s so great about Methven best things to do

  • 5 minutes

Canterbury, South Island

Methven there are plenty of things to do. Selwyn District, Methven is an alpine chic village offers year round things to do from markets, golfing, walks and swimming in mountain cooled braided rivers. In winter buzzing with the exhilaration of a day on the snow the cafe scene beckons. For outdoors enthusiasts horse trekking, mountain bike trails or simply indulging in a massage, Methven offers a warm hospitality experience.

Winter sports skiing Mt Hutt, New Zealand @Mt Hutt
Winter sports skiing Mt Hutt @Mt Hutt

What to do, highlights in Methven

  • Rakaia River excursions from jet boating to walking across historic Rakaia Bridge
  • Winter sports skiing Mt Hutt
  • Ballooning Canterbury
  • Heli-skiing in winter, heli-picnicing in summer
  • Outdoors exploring walks, rivers and reserves
  • Luxury and golfing combined at the Terrace Downs Resort


Ballooning mid Canterbury with flights are made at sunrise across the beautiful Canterbury Plains with stunning views from the Pacific Ocean to the stunning Southern Alps.

Your pilot will get you to assist with inflating the balloon and guide you through what to expect on your one hour breathtaking flight.

A light snack and drink finishes the amazing start to the day.

Discovery Jet @discoveryjet

Rakaia River exploration

  • Adventure Rates 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.
  • The walkway follows the rim of the gorge through spectacular geological areas, showing lava flows of rhyolite, pitchstone and andesite. It then descends into a gully under a canopy of montane forest and shrub, to the site of the Snowdon coal mines. The entrances to several coal mine tunnels can be seen here, and the remains of equipment used for extraction, for more information Rakaia Gorge Walkway. The Rakaia Gorge is on the inland scenic route, State Highway 77.
Rakaia Gorge and Rakaia River on the South Island of New Zealand
Rakaia Gorge and Rakaia River on the South Island
@Mount Somers
@Mount Somers

Mount Somers Track offers serious trampers multiple day walks as well short tracks. Mt Somers in mid-Canterbury features rugged bush, open sub-alpine tussock lands, historic coal mines, impressive volcanic formations and deep canyons.

Sharplin falls picnic spot

Sharplin waterfalls is a popular local picnic spot and the carpark is also one of the starting points for the Mt Somers Tracks which provides a number of day walks and multi day tramps. While the 2-day Mount Somers Track is for the serious hiker, the Mount Somers Conservation Area also offers a variety of walks for everyone. Check beforehand to avoid disappointment as some tracks are permanently closed due to rock fall.

  • The old Blackburn mine can be seen on one of the tracks in the Mount Somers Conservation Area.

Hakatere conservation park

Hakatere Conservation Park is centred around the Ashburton Lakes District between the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers. It covers nearly 60,000 hectares of rugged mountain country, tussocklands, beech forest and sparkling clear rivers and lakes between two mighty rivers the Rakaia and Rangitata.

Check Hakatere Conservation Park and travel pack section for brochure

Hakatere Conservation park, New Zealand
Hakatere Conservation park

Methven walkway (Rangitata Diversion Canal)

The Methven Walkway opened in 1979 and is 11km long. Most of the walk is along the Rangitata Diversion Canal. The walk is also popular with mountain bikers.The Methven Walkway demonstrates man’s modification of the original Canterbury Plains landscape.

The Walkway’s basic feature is the man-made Rangitata Diversion Canal (RDR), a dual purpose irrigation and hydo-electric channel carrying water from the Rangitata River to the Highbank Power station on the south bank of the Rakaia River.

Although shelter belts, drains, roads and bridges impinge on the immediate surroundings, the walkway is given a certain grandeur by the natural panoramic backdrop of the Southern Alps.

The 11km long walkway is intersected by various country roads so that it is possible to arrange transport to avoid retracing one’s steps. The walk from the beginning to end takes 3 – 3 ½ hours. The beginning is at the Methven i-Hub information Centre.

Alford scenic reserve

Alford Scenic Reserve offers varied vegetation, scenic views across Canterbury, and a history of forestry and diamond prospecting. Settlers used Alford Forest as one of their few sources of timber. Alford Scenic Reserve.

@Methven Library & Museum
@Methven Library & Museum

Methven visitor centre

Methven museum has relocated to the local Visitor Centre due to earthquake damage to the original buildings. Local artists also occupy space in the visitor centre. The town is primarily a tourist town with plenty of cafes and restaurants. There are also numerous accommodation options from luxury B&B to camping grounds and motels.

Terrace Downs is a well known international luxury golf resort offering a premier destination for Canterbury based attractions and activities.


In 1883, stones found in Alford Forest were identified as diamonds, leading to a brief “diamond rush” in the area, but the “diamonds” were eventually shown to be worthless crystals. wikipedia

Methven’s fame

RAJAH, Methven’s wonder dog and one of the first cohort into the New Zealand police dog team. Rajah was a great actor, promotor for law and order and, of course, a solver of crime. A fabulous statue of Rajah graces the town centre.

Mt Somers walkway society

In 1983 Mt Somers and Staveley locals formed the Mt Somers Walkways Society, which led to the creation of what is now known as the Mt Somers Track. The track officially opened in 1987, the year that management of the area passed to the Department of Conservation (DOC). Passionate volunteer locals making a difference.

Where to take the best selfie in Methven

  • Alford Forest Hall with a statute of enormous moa (extinct bird)
  • With Rajah, wonder dog statue town centre
  • Yourself at the Methven Summer School workshop showcasing your newly acquired skills
  • Go for a drive up the access road to Mt Hutt ski field to lookout signposted Canterbury View. Pull over for amazing views of the woven braided Rakaia River, the Canterbury Plains and, on a clear day, the coast. Summer is best for this activity
Mt Hutt lookout over Methven and Canterbury plains, NZ
Mt Hutt lookout over Methven and Canterbury plains
View over Mount Hutt from Methven village, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand
View over Mount Hutt from Methven village, Canterbury, South Island

What to do with kids in Methven

  • Bike Methven Skills Park (town centre
  • Walk and picnic in Awa Awa Rata Reserve (foothills of Mt Hutt)
  • Check out local waterholes in the Rakaia River
  • Explore Ashburton Gorge

Festivals in Methven

  • Methven Summer School workshops (January) learn cheesemaking, improve your golf swing or arty farty. Hints, eat, bake and drink are very popular categories.
  • PEAK TO PUB skiing, cycling and long distance running
  • Agricultural A&P show

Methven’s slogan

Amazing Space.

Methven’s weather

Methven Weather Forecast and Observations

Methven’s population

1,890 (2020)

What to do nearby Methven, Canterbury?

Methven is nearby RangioraAmberleyOxford and Springfield (selfie heaven with its massive concrete pink doughnut).

Who turned up and named Methven?

  • Maori knew the area as Piwakawaka, or fantail, while Methven was named by an early colonial pioneer, a Mr Patton, who named it for his home in Scotland.

Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about what to do nearby Methven check out Things To Do In Canterbury § Places to Visit, Activities & Sightseeing.



Want to go camping in Methven check out 9 Hurunui campsites & budget accommodation ideas.


Travel pack information


Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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