Whether glamping in the wilds near Cheviot, fine dining in Rangiora, or a day picnicking at the Ashley River, the countryside north of the Waimakariri offers a wealth of activities, sights and fun, no matter what you like getting up to.
With the celebration of Valentine’s Day upon us, for those who have yet to make plans to do something special on the day, or even the weekend following, here are just a few ideas that are well worth the trip north. Gifts for Valentine’s Day, birthdays or any special occasion, there are too many standout sources to list, but there are a few world famous in Canterbury stores well worth a mention. Mumma T Trading Lounge in Amberley offers a vast mix of old and new collectibles, including new and retro clothing, homewares, curios, furniture, bodycare products, artworks and antiques.
Ruby 6 is just around the corner with a selection of fashion and accessories, handcrafted ceramics and art, toys and books for children. On route 72 to Oxford is an emporium in the truest sense of the title. A spectacular array of homewares, art, jewellery, clothing, homeopathic products, kitchen gadgets, leadlight lamps, candles, treasures for the garden, NZ made leather goods, wrought iron art and glassware, beautiful figurines, handbags, scarves and more.
Not only is it an amazing shop to spend an easy hour or two in, it’s a world class café and bar. “It’s a dining destination,” says Steve Thomson who owns the Route 72 Café Bar Emporium in Cust with his wife Annette. With fantastic views from the upstairs dining room and a delicious breakfast lunch and dinner menu, Route 72 is perfect for that intimate, special meal. Reservations are recommended.
If off the beaten track appeals, Lemongrass Thai Restaurant in Loburn has a delicious menu and just for Valentine’s Day has prepared an exquisite dessert of Drambuie panna cotta with strawberries and chocolate. Bookings are essential.
Cruisy Days Diner, a 50s themed diner in Oxford offers half priced breakfasts on Thursdays. Valentine’s Day is a Thursday – just sayin’.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day there is nothing more romantic than a night away with your loved one. Dotted throughout the region are a multitude of high quality accommodation destinations – campgrounds, hotels, motels, farmstays, retreats, huts and cabins. One popular getaway is the Hurunui River Retreat. Nestled into a peaceful rural valley are two fully contained cottages close to the Hurunui River for swimming and fishing.
Chill out during the day, enjoy nearby vineyards and restaurants and at night relax in the outside tub taking in the spectacular sky and listening to the frogs. The Tiromoana Bush Walkway is one of many walks in the area, and offers a fantastic hiking experience for all ages and abilities. Te Ara Matairangi boasts a new coastal viewing platform and ceremonial pou and is a must visit if long, easy walks are on your to-do list.