What to Do at Pleasant Point: Canterbury’s Pleasant Little Town
If you love scouting out small towns and hidden gems, then you’ll love the little town of Pleasant Point. Located on State Highway 8, just north of Timaru, Pleasant Point is your classic rural Kiwi town. It has pleasant outdoor areas along the Opihi River to enjoy long strolls or mountain biking. Or, if you’re more into relaxation, enjoy the quaint cafes and fruit farm ice cream parlour. The must-see in the town is the Pleasant Point Museum and Railway, home to some of the oldest remaining steam trains in the country. Find out what you could be getting up to with this list of things to do at Pleasant Point!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in 10 Things to Do in Timaru and 6 Essential Pitstops for Your South Canterbury Road Trip.
1. Walk Along the Opihi River
The Opihi Walkway puts the “Pleasant” in Pleasant Point with an attractive area to stretch your legs. Walk or cycle along this walkway starting just outside of town and following the banks of the Opihi River. The trail is lined with willow trees, often breaking to expose views of pastoral land leading all the way to the mountains. As the trail approaches Pleasant Point, you’ll see the Parr’s Waterwheel, which also marks a popular swimming spot. The entire one-way walk takes approximately three hours to walk, so either have transport organised at the other end or return the way you came at any point.
Location: Arowhenua Road (about 100m before the State Highway 1 bridge), 11km east of Pleasant Point.
2. Visit the Pleasant Point Museum and Railway
A major highlight of the town, the Pleasant Point Museum and Railway will transport you back over a hundred years to the days of the steam railway travel. Catch them for one of the train ride days. They have two steam engines, two diesel engines and one of the world’s last remaining Model T Ford railcars. You’ll also be able to pop into the museum to see some railway memorabilia, displays on New Zealand’s worst railway disaster at Tangiwai in 1953, as well as some old printing machines and computers. All in all, there’s certainly a lot to see at this 150-year-old train station.
Location: Afghan Street
3. Sample the Local Cuisine
There’s certainly something for foodies at Pleasant Point. Summer calls a stop at Strawberry Divine with its real fruit ice cream, vintage decor and picturesque garden. Alternatively, winter couldn’t be cosier at The Steamer Cafe complete with a fireplace and warm yummy drinks and treats. You’ll also find Kiwi country meals and roasts at Nelly’s Restaurant or classic Kiwi fish and chips at Pleasant Point Fish N Chips. Don’t know what to try? See 15 Foods You Have to Try in New Zealand.
Location: All around Pleasant Point
4. See Historic Maori Rock Art
See a collection of ancient Maori rock art Te Ana cultural centre. This open-air display of Maori art on caves walls and rock art cut from sites around the country provides an interesting insight into the Maori history of New Zealand. Te Ana is on a private site just a short drive from Pleasant Point. You will need to book a tour with Te Ana Maori Rock Art to visit the site.
Location: Te Ana cultural centre
5. Visit Temuka
Head to the nearby town of Temuka for more fantastic museums, cafes and walks. The creative town has a pottery studio, while there’s also plenty of places to enjoy the outdoors like the Temuka Domain and the Opihi River. Plus, don’t miss a “sale day” at the historic Temuka Saleyard where stock is sold and you can watch Kiwi farmers in action. Find out more in the 5 Fun Things to Do in Temuka.
Location: Temuka, 14km east of Pleasant Point