The Must-Dos in Methven
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.
If this list of Methven must-dos shows anything, it’s that you’ll need to spend a few days here. With that in mind, check out some affordable Methven accommodation here.
1. Ski 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, a ski school and more! There’s 365ha (902 acres) of skiable area to enjoy. 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 about Mt Hutt in The 24 Ski Fields in New Zealand.
Location: McLennans Bush Road, 21km (13 miles) north of Methven.
2. Explore Washpen Falls
There’s definitely more to this walk than the name suggests. The waterfalls are just a tiny aspect of this walkway of discovery. Journey through a volcanic canyon filled with huge rock formations and caves before continuing uphill through bird-filled forests until you reach a hillside of wonderful views of the Canterbury Plains. The walk continues down to a long-drop waterfall and onward to a lagoon. There’s even a rowing boat! Access to the 2-hour loop track for NZ$10 for the upkeep of the track on this private land.
Location: Washpen Road, 25km (15.5 miles) northeast of Methven.
3. 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.
4. 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 Rakaia Gorge and feel the thrills of 360° 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.
5. Hike in the Mt Hutt Forest
When the snow is away there are actually more things to do on Mt Hutt. At the base of the mountain, explore the Mt Hutt Forest’s Awa Awa Rata Reserve. Choose from several short walks ranging from 10 to 45 minutes, heading deep into the forest which is abundant with birdlife. There’s also a longer tramping option of the Pudding Hill Stream Route.
Location: McLennans Bush Road, 14km (9 miles) northwest of Methven.
6. Try Your Hand at Archery
Feel like Robin Hood as you sling arrows through the pine forests. Located on the scenic Terrace Downs Resort, Newzengland allows you to get behind the bow in a small tract of forest. You’ll learn how to fire arrows, be set fun challenges, and get bullseyes in no time (unless, of course, you’re really really bad).
Location: Coleridge Road, 30km (19 miles) north of Methven.
7. Take a Trip to Lake Coleridge
Just north of Methven is the scenic playground of Lake Coleridge 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
8. 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 Cinema Paradiso. This quaint little cinema plays both the latest blockbusters and boutique movies. What’s more, it’s attached to a funky ice cream parlour begging for you to take a treat into the movie.
Location: 112 Main Street.
9. Walk 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.