- Things to Do
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- Ski Selwyn
One thing that we cherish in Selwyn is our community. As Helen Keller once famously put it; alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.
Nestled in between Darfield and Arthur’s Pass, just off from the Great Alpine Highway No. 73, Castle Hill Village is only a one hour and 20 minutes’ drive away from Christchurch, which makes it a great day trip.
We talked to some locals from Castle Hill Village about what they loved most about their community.
JOHN DUNNE (A.K.A DUNNEY)
Ski-instructor at Porters Ski Area
John, known affectionately as Dunney, has owned a property in Castle Hill Village for over 30 years and returned to the area in 2020. He is incredibly enthusiastic with a wide knowledge of the best places to visit.
John believes that he lives in one of the most picturesque and serene towns in New Zealand and after a life filled with busy days in the broadcasting industry, he is more than happy to retire to the peace and quiet that Castle Hill offers.
John recommends those that are interested in bouldering or climbing should check out the limestone rocks, telling us that the rocks themselves are a natural phenomenon having been dragged up from the ocean beds thousands of years ago. He thinks it is an incredible spot for climbers, artists and photographers to be inspired!
And if you’ve worked up a thirst, Georgie’s coffee cart at the entrance to the village couldn’t come higher recommended!
Working on the West Coast and having children attending Christchurch’s Boarding Schools, Castle Hill was a halfway post for Carol’s family, but it wasn’t long before they made it their permanent home.
When asked what she loves most about Castle Hill Village, Carol replied that it has absolutely everything. Rock climbing, fly-fishing, skiing, hunting, mountain-biking are just a few of the activities! Every day you can wake up to the beautiful chorus of the Bellbirds and wonder what mountain to tackle or whether to take a new trail in the forest with your bike. It is an iconic village to live in with like-minded people who want to truly immerse themselves in nature.
As a keen geologist, Carol recommends that visitors take a moment to truly take in the incredible landscaping Castle Hill Village offers, keeping an eye out for those folded sediments or fault ruptures.
Original Developer of Castle Hill Village
It was an absolute privilege to speak directly with John Reid who was the original developer of Castle Hill Village and the brains behind the whole operation. John has been working on the development of this town since the late 1960’s and is extremely proud of what has become of Castle Hill Village.
John is particularly proud of the covenants. Each home adds to the landscape and there are no fences. It gives the community a very open and inviting appearance. Because of this, we encourage you to leave your dogs at home for this trip as you can’t contain them in a garden.
John believes the village is ideal for those families searching for a more active and natural lifestyle.
The original reason John was drawn to Castle Hill was because of his love for skiing. Mount Cheeseman can be seen from the Village, being only 5 minutes from the turn-off.
This was well before Porters Ski Field joined in on the skiing and snowboarding parade. But now, with such additions, John believes snow sports is at the heart of the community. In the future, John is aiming to plan for the community to have an ice arena which can be used for curling and ice hockey amongst other such fun.
Sonia has been in the village since 2006 and is a prominent and central figure of Castle Hill Village. Her and her husband are raising their three young girls in the village and believe there is no better place for them than in amongst the nature.
Away from the busyness of central life, Sonia loves the fact she can get everyone out on their bikes straight from their front door onto the tracks surrounding Castle Hill Village.
Sonia said a lot of visitors (and locals) are blown away by just how beautiful the night sky can be above the village. Castle Hill Village has minimal light pollution, so the sky above is something else, especially in Winter.