Waipara Valley is well known as a bountiful wine growing region, famous for its Pinot Noir and Riesling offerings. A great place to visit all year round, Waipara is a short 50 minutes drive from Christchurch meaning its the perfect place for a day trip. Pack a picnic or grab lunch at one of the wonderful winery restaurants in the Valley.
The Classic Hits' Winery Tour swings into Waipara this Saturday with a whole host of iconic New Zealand acts including Fat Freddy's Drop and The Adults performing on the grounds of Mudhouse Winery. Other highlights include Anika Moa, Boh Runga and Hollie Smith, appearing as the trio AnikaBoh & Hollie, as well as emerging Kiwi talent in the form of Clara van Wel, the fifteen year old singing sensation who won New Zealand's Got Talent. This popular event, now in it's seventh year, is a wonderfully relaxed evening out in the beautiful setting in the Valley. Gates to the event open at 5pm, with the concert concluding at 10pm.
The Waipara Valley Vineyard Trail is a great way to experience the region, either on foot or by bike. The track begins at Glenmark Reserve and takes you on a journey through historic farmland and vineyards and over the beautiful rolling hills of the region. The map below shows the track as well as highlighting vineyards that offer cellar door sales.
Another exciting event which is coming up in March is the legendary Waipara Valley Wine and Food Festival. A celebration of the upcoming harvest as well as all the delights that the region has to offer, this event is set to take place on Sunday March 24th. The Festival venue is Glenmark Domain, 50 minutes North of Christchurch. If you would prefer to be driven, there is the option of a bus ride from Christchurch, with stops dotted along the way North out of the city (including one in Papanui by Christchurch Top 10). Gates open at 10.30am and the day finishes at 5pm, with buses leaving at 5.10pm. As well as wine and food sales, there'll be cooking demonstrations and live music performances, by talented acts such as the Funky Hot Mamas, The Nukes and The Rat Pack.
Family owned and operated winery Pegasus Bay Winery has been making waves for many years. Located on 263 Stockgrove Road, Waipara, Pegasus Bay has won the Cuisine Magazine Best Winery Restaurant in the Cuisine Awards for the last 5 years in a row. Owned by the Donaldson Family, the winery is truly a family affair - Ivan Donaldson started the business, his son Paul is the General Manager, another son Matthew and his wife Lynnette are the winemakers, son Edward is the Marketing Manager and daughter-in-law Belinda runs the restaurant. The food is carefully matched with award-winning Pegasus Bay Wines making for a unique experience. This gem is a wonderful place to stop in the area.
Black Estate is a family owned vineyard in Waipara Valley that is quickly making a name for itself as a producer of remarkable wine. Located on the slopes of Omihi in Waipara Valley, Black Estate is now open from 10am - 5pm Thursdays to Mondays with a Tasting Room and Eatery to sample their delicious wines and food. Bookings are recommended so make sure you call ahead on 03 3146085 to secure a table. A quirky pastime you can experience in Waipara is traditional Dutch Golf, or "slog the clog". Played in a paddock over 18 holes, Dutch Golf involves hitting a large soft leather ball with a solid Dutch clog on a stick. Suitable for group outings, Christmas functions and birthday parties.
Every Saturday morning the Waipara Valley Farmer's Market is held outside the Hurunui Council Chambers in Amberley. With local produce, meat, baking, bread and artisan products this is a great place to sample some of the delights that the Waipara Valley has to offer.