Looking for somewhere to visit close to the city? Here is a selection of spots near Christchurch which are easily accessible for a day trip.
Mayfield, Mount Somers and Barrhill This area offers beautiful Mid Canterbury scenery with amazing views of Mount Hutt in the background. Mayfield (located around an hour and a half from Christchurch) is home, among other things, to the amazing second-hand store aptly named Overflow. A wander through the store can initially feel overwhelming but if you perservere you’ll uncover all manner of treasures including china, vintage fabrics, hats, clothes, kitchenware and handy tools. The place is so popular that it is often inundated with busloads of second-hand collectors and enthusiasts. Overflow is located on the Mayfield Klondyke Road near the intersection with Highway 72, the Arundel Rakaia Gorge Rd behind the Mayfield Post & Telegraph Office. To avoid disappointment make sure you ring ahead, store hours are often sporadic. Overflow's phone number is 03 303 6072. Barrhill is a picturesque spot to visit in the Mid Canterbury area. Built in the 19th century as a model village on the estate of the English colonial settler Cathcart Wason, Wason’s design for Barrhill meant that the village was approached on all sides by avenues lined with sycamores on the north, birches on the east, poplars on the south and oaks from the west. The centre of Barrhill once comprised a market square with a post office, bakery and fifteen cottages. Sadly little remains of the settlement except the concrete school house and memorial church, The Church of St. John the Evangelist. The Barrhill Village Conservation Society offers walks around the area.
Banks Peninsula Banks Peninsula is well worth the trip with glorious scenery along the way, lovely beaches dotted around the Peninsula and rich local history.
Aim to lunch at Little River Café along State Highway 75. The café, which serves delicious wholesome food and organic coffee, is perpetually full of people. Part of the building is dedicated to the Little River Store which services the area and the Little River Gallery with 100% New Zealand made mementoes including jewellery, ceramics and artworks. By venturing deeper into the gallery you will discover more specific media including oil on canvas, bronze and cast glass as well as exhibitions dedicated to individual artists.
The picturesque seaside village of Akaroa is a mecca for travellers from around the world. With street names like “Rue Jolie” and attractions such as Le Mini Golf, there are souvenirs of the settlement’s French heritage everywhere. There are some great restaurants and cafés, quaint colonial cottages, a movie theatre and a great fish and chip shop. Other highlights of the Akaroa experience include taking a cruise on Akaroa Harbour to view dolphins and seals, hiring a kayak or a paddle boat and wandering along the waterfront.
Other lovely spots to stop along the way include Okains Bay, Little Akaloa and Pigeon Bay. Hanmer Springs Another great spot to visit close to Christchurch is the alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs, located 135km or nearly 2 hours away. A great place to visit all year round, the area is bursting with activities to enjoy including golf, hiking, mountain biking, horse trekking, bungy jumping and jet boating. One of the best things about a trip to Hanmer Springs is the spa resort – you could spend your day soaking in the heated pools or have a massage at the in-house spa. If you decide to spend the day being active the hot pools are a great spot to relieve tired bones after a day’s exertions.
Hanmer Forest Park has a number of different walks ranging from 5 minutes to 1 hour in duration. Tackling Conical Hill is an iconic Hanmer holiday pastime. The trip to the 550 metre summit takes around an hour and at the top you’ll enjoy a magnificent view of the region. Once covered in tussock, this has now been replaced by a number of exotic trees including western hemlock, Lawson’s cypress, giant fir, Japanese cypress and Atlas cedar. Take the track down from the summit on the other side, this meets up with Pawsons Road which leads to the picturesque Woodland Walk.