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Northern gems

Hurunui, north of Christchurch, is an oasis for explorers. From beaches to native and exotic bush, to historic villages and enticing wineries. Whether relaxation to you is an indulgent getaway packed with spas and gastronomical delights, or something more adrenaline-pumping and off the grid, here are Metropol’s picks for things to do whatever
your activity appetite.


Horse riding, rafting, bungy jumping jet boating, quad biking, BMX and 4WD-ing – there’s no shortage of local Hurunui businesses to support while you’re getting your thrills. Mainly centered near Hanmer Springs, these activities can be found scattered throughout Hurunui – from Waimakariri to Waipara.

If your idea of a getaway is to relax in style at a day spa, or amongst the vines with a glass of wine in hand, there are options abound in Hurunui, home to world class winery region, Waipara. Here, award-winning imbibements are grown and produced, alongside delicious food with a picturesque backdrop. Or, seek out the day spa next to Hanmer Springs Thermal Resort.

Or, maybe you’re more of an active relaxer who finds peace in keeping busy. If that’s the case, North Canterbury’s plethora of hiking and biking trails are calling your name. There’s a number of walkable mountains like Mt Thomas and Mt Grey, as well as the glut of options in Hanmer, as mentioned on page 37.


Shaking prompts garden festival

An opportunity to see the world-renowned ‘Wall of Waiau’ and ‘Lake Rebekah’, the lake created when the 2016 Waiau-Kaikoura earthquake triggered a massive landslide that dammed the Leader River, is an attraction of this year’s Hurunui Garden Festival, being held from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 November 2019.



The Woodchester Walls and Waterfalls Tour (yes, there’s even a waterfall created as the lake spills over the dam) is expected to be popular with people keen to see the impact of the earthquake on the vast high country of Woodchester Station.

If you’re wondering about the connection between a Garden Festival and a tour of earthquake damage, the answer is the earthquake did more than shake up North Canterbury. It stirred local garden owners into creating New Zealand’s newest garden festival as a way to help with earthquake recovery in the Hurunui District.

“The Hurunui District was a playground for Christchurch residents who came up here for the hot pools, the wineries and exploring all the wonderful wide open spaces,” Festival Organising Committee Chair Marina Shearer says. “With State Highway 1 closed and a constant ripple of aftershocks, people stayed away in their droves. The impact was felt across the district as businesses struggled when visitor numbers fell.”



Shearer and five friends, all of whom had beautiful gardens, hatched a plan to open their gardens and offer warm rural hospitality to visitors wanting to enjoy a day in the tranquility of the country. The six gardens opened over four days in 2017, attracting visitors from far and wide. In 2018 the event was upscaled into a district-wide festival that attracted more than 4,000 visits to gardens. For 2019, the festival has expanded to include 23 gardens and two tours.

“Visitors told us they liked the eclectic mixture of town and country gardens, so we’re adding new gardens in Hanmer Springs, in the remote Kaiwara Valley and on farms around Culverden. We feel really privileged to share them with garden lovers from Canterbury and New Zealand.”

The 2016 Waiau-Kaikoura earthquake stirred Hurunui District garden owners into creating New Zealand’s newest Garden Festival. Although it’s only the second year the event has run, with six new gardens, two tours and exhibitions, talks and stalls in gardens, expectations for another successful festival are understandably high.

Visit the website to find out more.




Mirror Mirror Boutique

Step into Hanmer: Mirror Mirror Boutique is a welcoming shoe destination

Mirror Mirror Boutique is fast becoming the shoe destination in Hanmer Springs. The boutique carries a vast selection of contemporary to classic styles of Minx footwear – a New Zealand designed brand that is fun, fabulous and feminine.

Mirror Mirror Boutique

Discerning shoppers will find C.REED, a collection by Minx designer, Cushla Reed. The popular Kiwi designer created the capsule collection last year after listening to clients asking for guidance on how to style their footwear and accessories with their clothing. C.REED creates a simple base and the perfect canvas for stunning accessories. The uncluttered style is a collection of interchangeable statement pieces, so customers can design their own look, their own way.
Another popular footwear range available at the boutique are Beau Coops – the Beau Coops agenda is simple: to offer beautifully designed, classic footwear that represent a lifestyle of comfort, quality and style. Made in Italy and inspired by her former East London home, the unisex label embodies what the designer refers to as boyfriend chic – reminiscent of that special piece borrowed from a loved one.
The friendly staff can help style customers’ outfits with their range of Elk Accessories and other clothing brands, including Mesop, Eb & Ive, and the New Zealand-made ‘Anyone’s Daughter’.
Mirror Mirror Boutique is located at The Village Shopping Centre, 5/24 Conical Hill Road, Hanmer Springs.
Visit the online store or phone the team on 03-315 5044.

Hanmer Bakery Cafe

Culinary heaven in Hanmer: The Hanmer Bakery Cafe is a culinary hotspot

Chances are, if you’ve been to Hanmer, you would have been to Hanmer Bakery Café. If not, you’re missing out on some of the best quality eats and drinks in town.

Hanmer Bakery Cafe

Located in the heart of Hanmer Village, Hanmer Bakery Café is the definitive culinary hotspot for locals and holiday makers alike.
Open seven days from 6am to 4pm, customers are served delicious food and provided with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, together with warm and friendly service. It’s the perfect destination for people before or after heading to Hanmer’s thermal pools.
An extensive range of affordable savoury items made on-site means all tastes are catered for and appetites are spoilt for choice. Gourmet pies with flavours like venison and redcurrant; steak, egg, cheese and onion; and even potato-topped beef, mushroom and red wine pies are a good place to start. You can even get a winter warm-up of pumpkin soup and a crusty roll.
Kiwi favourites like lolly cake, ginger crunch and custard squares are on offer too. Plus, a big selection of freshly baked bread, rolls, pastries, homemade donuts, scones and mega chocolate chip cookies are certain to satisfy any craving.
Hot drinks are also a passion and Hanmer Bakery Café serves up Grinders Coffee, alongside a selection of other drinks.
For more information visit or find the café at the Village Shopping Mall, Hanmer Springs.

Action north of the Waimak'

Action north of the Waimak’: a guide to what’s on in North Canterbury

North Canterbury is a hotbed of innovation and creativity, which means there’s never a dull moment. We’ve staked out the land north of the Waimak’ to bring you some of the best upcoming events.

Action north of the Waimak'

11 May

World famous in Canterbury, Ethel & Bethel are putting on a fun night with raffles, silent auctions and lots of laughs to help the St. Patrick’s School PTA fundraise for the school.

St Patrick’s Church, 61 Fuller Street, Kaiapoi

Tickets from the St. Patrick’s School office, 03-327 7700 or email


Head along to the Rangiora Community Choir’s Autumn Concert and listen to some of your favourites, featuring show tunes, gospel and a couple of classics, including guest performers.

Rangiora Methodist Church, 176 King Street, Rangiora

Tickets via

9 June

An Indoor Market & Winter Wonderland, quality market stalls, fabulous food (pulled pork, high tea, American hot dogs, soup and more), live entertainment, the famous PTA cake stall, silent auction and so much more!

Rangiora New Life School, 2 Denchs Road, Southbrook, Rangiora

Tickets via

21 June

The Star of the new Sensing Murder Series Sue Nicholson presents her new live show Earth, Life & Beyond. It’ll be a unique, one-of-a-kind learning experience with a difference to enrich your soul.

Rangiora Town Hall, High Street, Rangiora

Tickets via

30 June

Amberley Community Preschool and Prep School presents ‘A Rockin’ Good Christmas!’ Forget hibernating at home, grab a babysitter and head to Amberley for a mid-winter Christmas bash! Enjoy hand-crafted platters and live entertainment before the ‘big auction’ and supper to follow.

Amberley Domain, Douglas Road, Amberley

Contact 03-314 9147 or via

6 July – 8 July

Head to Hanmer for a snowy winter holiday weekend and warm up to the rhythms of salsa, zouk, bachata, merengue and cha, with Latin dance workshops in the afternoon and salsa parties at night, whether you’re a beginner, seasoned dancer or never danced before.

Memorial Hall, Hanmer Springs

Contact or

28 July

A fully costumed show that takes you right from the very beginning of The Beach Boys and through their career featuring classic hits and cult favourites from California’s most famous band.

Rangiora Town Hall, High Street, Rangiora

For tickets phone 0800 ticketek

Clear Ridge

Matrimonial magic awaits: we look to Clear Ridge in Hanmer Springs to help plan a destination wedding that is still close to home

A wedding day stands out as being an inimitable occasion; something the happy couple and their friends and family wish they could live over and over again. It makes sense therefore, to prolong the joy for as long as possible and introduce pre and post wedding events that make this momentous occasion even more memorable.

Clear Ridge

Clear Ridge luxury accommodation in Hanmer has played spectacular host to many wedding related occasions, right from the beginning of the romantic journey – the proposal. “We take great pride in providing a beautiful backdrop for a couple as they embark on the journey of a lifetime. We have played host to all-occasions, from the initial engagement right through to the hen’s party and then the honeymoon. Our accommodation caters for everything,” Manager Rosie McFarlane says.
A stunning range of luxury suites – thirteen in total – sets the tone, with indulgent and exemplary hospitality designed to spoil guests. With the apartments located on Jacks Pass Road, guests can take advantage of all Hanmer has to offer, with the thermal pools and village only two minutes’ walk.
A Qualmark Five Star facility, Clear Ridge can cater to groups and couples as well as solo travellers. Each suite boasts a fully equipped open plan kitchen, a laundry, sitting and dining areas, plus a study and bathroom.
For more information about how the friendly team can look after you and your nearest and dearest during one of the most important times in your life, visit


Quality, comfort & style: Kjole in Hanmer Springs is a fashion destination

The classic, clean and contemporary collection at Kjole has a focus on timeless style, with its exclusive range of Scandinavian clothing.


Kjole, meaning ‘dress’ in Danish, is located at the new Boulder Point Retail Precinct in Hanmer Springs. Mother and daughter duo Stephanie and Penny Suckling opened the store in December last year.
Predominantly importing clothing from Denmark, Stephanie was introduced to the clothing range and was so impressed by the quality, comfort and style, she was eager to share her fortuitous discovery. “I worked in fashion leading up to starting this business, and the connection was established 20 years ago when we employed a young Danish boy, whose brother is part-owner of the Danish clothing company and he offered us the opportunity to introduce the range to New Zealand.”
While aimed mostly at the 35-plus age group, there is also an Australian label called ‘Wite’ for younger shoppers, she says. “Penny and I enjoy and wear a lot of the clothing – the fabrics have a soft, comfortable feel. This range is great for women looking for something a bit different, while being fashionable and stylish with a pared- back look.”
Kjole has already attracted a loyal following of repeat customers, and the jeans are a favourite – mid-waisted, with the perfect amount of stretch. The team also provide a styling service and a friendly, welcoming environment.
Visit the store or shop online at

Red Post Cafe

A dining destination: a visit to Culverden’s Red Post Cafe

Someone wise once said, life’s a journey, not a destination. On the journey to Hanmer, there is a great place to stop in Culverden at the Red Post Café’.

Red Post Cafe

Red Post Cafe

It has a fantastic cathartic old-style cottage garden to relax in and partake in some wonderful home baking and savouries that make it one of those unique, special places you find on your journey.
If you’re lucky you might get to try the Carrot Cake with an outstanding coffee. The Salmon Soufflé is always a treat but perhaps, if it’s a hearty feed you’re up for, then the Big Breakfast is the way to go.
The Steak Sandwich never goes amiss or perhaps Red Post Café’s famous Seafood Platter. There are gluten free options for those that need it and, with a cabinet full of fresh treats for the weary traveller, there will be something for everyone.
If you’re visiting North Canterbury, you can immerse yourself with the locals and Carolyn or Trent will be able to tell you where to find all the special places to see and visit in the area.
North Canterbury has so much to offer and Red Post Café is a great place to start your adventure while recharging the battery. Make this part of your North Canterbury itinerary. Open from 8am–5pm Monday to Thursday, weekends until 5.30pm and Friday until 8pm.