What to Do in Methven: Canterbury’s Awesome Little Ski Town
In the heart of the Canterbury region’s nine ski areas and the closest town to the largest ski field in Canterbury, Methven is a must-go for skiers and snowboarders. But explore the braided rivers, venture to the picturesque lakes and walk among the Canterbury Plains and you’ll discover that there’s more to Methven than what the ski season brings. There’s the opportunity to try something new, like archery, jet boating or flying in a hot-air balloon. Start adding to your bucket list with our list of things to do in Methven.
1. Walk in the Mt Hutt Forest
Explore the foothills of the Southern Alps in the Mt Hutt Forest. A great little place just a short drive from Methven is the Awa Awa Rata Reserve. There is a picturesque picnic area with flower plantations, as well as several walks to enjoy the forest. Walks range from a 15-minute stroll to a 2-hour hike one-way.
Location: McLennans Bush Road, 14km (9 miles) northwest of Methven
2. Take a Trip to Lake Coleridge
Just north of Methven is a scenic playground with fishing, hunting, boating and horse trekking available. Alternatively, just enjoy the scenic drive from Lake Coleridge Village to the Power Station Intake with exceptional views of the lake. There are also a number of walks, such as the Lake Hill Track (Intake Road) and the Peak Hill Walk (Algidus Road).
Location: Lake Coleridge Village, 45km (28 miles) north of Methven
3. Discover Washpen Falls
A variety of landscapes can be discovered at Washpen Falls. A 2-hour loop walk takes you through a volcanic canyon of caves, boulders and rich in birdlife. You’ll see trickling waterfalls on your way up to an outstanding lookout across the Canterbury Plains. Soak in the scenery then descend through native forest to Washpen Falls and its cool crystal clear waters. Further along the track, you’ll come across a lagoon with a rowing boat that you’re free to use, as well as early Maori archaeological sites. While this walk has a NZ$10 entry fee to upkeep the private land, we still think it’s worth it!
Location: Washpen Road, 25km (15.5 miles) northeast of Methven
4. Eat Ice Cream and Watch a Movie at the Cinema Paradiso
Enjoy a boutique cinema experience in the heart of Methven. When the weather is not playing ball or you just want to find something fun to do on an evening, consider this quaint little cinema playing the latest blockbusters and boutique movies. What’s more, the cinema is attached to a funky ice cream parlour begging for you to take a treat into the movie.
Location: 112 Main Street
5. Hike Along Rakaia Gorge
Spectacular scenery and historical sites await along the Rakaia Gorge. The Rakaia Gorge Walkway is a 3-4 hour walk back and forth along the Rakaia River featuring a mix of forest, farmland and a peek into the Snowdon Coalmine. Vibrant blue waters and dramatic river gorge scenery provides non-stop photo opportunities.
Location: Upstream of the Rakaia Gorge Bridge, 11km (7 miles) northeast of Methven
6. Ski at Mt Hutt
Methven is primarily known as a ski town thanks to the proximity of Canterbury’s most popular ski field, Mt Hutt. The large ski field is well-equipped for an epic day on the slopes with chairlifts, a cafe/bar, rentals, ski school and more! There’s 365ha (902 acres) of skiable area, and while the ski field is kind of famous for having a lot of closed days, when it’s on – it’s ON! Find out more in The 24 Ski Fields in New Zealand.
Location: McLennans Bush Road, 21km (13 miles) north of Methven
7. Try Clay Bird Shooting and Archery
Fun for all ages, Newzengland operates fantastic clay shooting and archery sessions in the stunning Terrace Downs Resort. You’ll get full tuition and be set challenges to get competitive with your family or mates. With the archery taking place in woodland, you’ll feel like a real Robin Hood.
Location: Coleridge Road, 30km (19 miles) north of Methven
8. Experience Rakaia Gorge by Jet Boat
Skim over the shallow braided channels of the Rakaia River on an adrenaline-pumping ride with Discovery Jet. Experience what jet boats were originally invented for in New Zealand – to get up otherwise inaccessible rivers to untouched areas. You’ll see the magnificent Rakai Gorge and feel the thrills of 360-degree spins. There’s also the option to be dropped off at the Rakaia Gorge Walkway (see above) to walk back.
Location: Evans Reserve, just off State Highway 77 after the Rakaia River Bridge. 17km (10.5 miles) north of Methven.
9. Do the Methven Walkway
Stretch your legs in Methven on the Methven Walkway. The entire walk is a 3-hour loop covering 11km (7 miles) taking in some of the scenic highlights surrounding the town. Features of the walk include a walk through a conifer forest in the Drain Reserve, following the milky blue waters of the Rangitata Diversion Canal and the expansive views over the Canterbury Plains to the Southern Alps. Pick up a map from the Methven i-SITE or your accommodation in Methven.
Location: You can start from anywhere, but it’s recommended to start from the Methven i-SITE on Main Street.
10. Fly in a Hot-air Balloon Over the Canterbury Plains
Get a bird-eye-view between the Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean in a hot-air balloon ride with Ballooning Canterbury. They offer bespoke flights over the Canterbury region, seeing the landscape in a peaceful and special way.
Location: Bealey Road, Hororata, 49km (30 miles) east of Methven