This Is Selwyn
Deep blue rivers, alpine villages, massive limestone giants and plenty of waterfalls – Selwyn District is stacked with winter adventure right on the city’s doorstep.
It’s hard to pick the best of the bunch in this diverse area, so get some inspiration from the below.
Kura Tāwhiti Castle Hill
Kura Tāwhiti is a majestic and dramatic landscape just over an hour from central Christchurch. Not only is it a significant site for Ngai Tahu, it’s featured in international blockbusters like Narnia. The Department of Conservation (DOC) has it listed as one of the country’s top short walks, and climbers frequent the accessible boulders for challenges and epic day trips. Get amongst these giants this winter. You’ll be amongst giants within a 20 minute walk from the road.
The Devils Punchbowl walking track is a short walk with big rewards! Get up close and personal with 131 metres of waterfall goodness. The easy hour return walk (does include some steps) runs through lush beech forest and over several bridges. Expect native birdlife including fantails and tomtits. The track begins at the northern end of Arthur’s Pass village – look out for the signposts.
Arthur's Pass Village
A true oasis among a playground of mountains and waterfalls, Arthur’s Pass is a serene hub for exploration in this part of the country. Base yourself here, or stopover during a cross-country drive. The settlement is 740m above sea level, and is stacked with cute accommodation and decent food, interesting history, and endless photo opportunities.
Canterbury’s version of the famous Roy’s Peak in Wanaka, Peak Hill offers views just as epic without the queues. The climb is considered suitable for families, but ensure you’re prepared for the outdoors as it’s exposed to weather all year round. Summit seekers are rewarded with 360-degree views of Lake Coleridge and surrounding peaks.
Rakaia Gorge Walkway
One of the most popular walks in the area, Rakaia Gorge offers extensive river views from cliff top lookouts. There are sidetracks to old coal mine entrances and down to the Rakaia riverbed. The track starts about 10km before Lake Coleridge village, has a car park and DOC information. Give it about three hours and take the kids.
Lake Coleridge is a centre of adventure and activity at the heart of the Selwyn Region, with hiking and jetboating on offer, as well as skiing and boutique stays. Ride a horse on a trek, visit a working farm, ski a club field. It’s all on offer at the lake and its surrounds.