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Exploring New Zealand

Methven Area Guide

Methven, an hour's drive south west of Christchurch, is known as the 'Mount Hutt Village' and its population of 1,500 doubles during the winter months when it fills up with skiers and snowboarders using it as a base for the Mt Hutt ski-field, 24 kilometres away. Mt Hutt is one of the highest ski areas in the southern hemisphere and has the longest season of the major commercial ski areas in New Zealand, operating from around June to October. As well as great skiing, the field has stunning views over the patchwork quilt farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. For an extra adrenaline rush in the winter you can dive, ski, or ride off Kea Rock at Mt Hutt Bungy, New Zealand's highest elevation platform, 1600 metres above sea level.

Methven itself is a small farming service town, but it is a good base for outdoor activities in the scenic mid Canterbury area. The nearby Rakaia Gorge is a great place for jet boating, and two companies offer daily jet boat trips up the river. The braided Rakaia River offers good salmon fishing, and there are four fishing guide companies operating out of Methven, who will teach fly casting or conduct guided trout and salmon fishing trips to the local rivers and to Lake Coleridge.

Methven boasts two golf courses, the Methven Golf Course, considered to be one of the best in the country, and the High Country Golf Resort at Terrace Downs. The surrounding countryside is also good for horse trekking, with operations located nearby at Staveley and at Ryton Station.

Lord of the Rings fans can take guided four-wheel drive trips to Mount Sunday, the site of Edoras and the Golden Hall of Meduseld in the movie, although the actual set has been dismantled and the land returned to its natural state.

Aoraki Balloon Safaris offer hot air balloon trips from Methven at sunrise for a bird's eye view of the Canterbury Plains, Mount Cook, and the Southern Alps. The trips finish with an open-air champagne breakfast in the farmer's field where the balloon lands.