Escape from the city

1 Day

Escape Christchurch and spend the day exploring Selwyn.

Day 1 of 1

Christchurch, West Melton, Kirwee, Glentunnel

Washpen Falls 3

Only 20 minutes from Christchurch, Selwyn is a great place to escape for a day trip. Head out onto Great Alpine Highway 73 or veer off to State Highway 72 and take the Inland Scenic Route for a stunning day out. 

The first township you will reach is West Melton. This rapidly expanding community has one of the best French bakeries in the South Island, Les Délices! Pop in and try their great barista coffee with a delicious croissant or filled baguette. After getting your fill, stop by Glenlothian Farm, home to a range of farm animals, birds, and rare species. Feed them, pet them, or have a fun picnic while you’re there! 

Continuing along the highway you’ll pass through Kirwee, home of the South Island Agricultural Field Days. After working up an appetite, stop off at Thirsty Acres for a refreshing drink and grab a bite from their locally sourced menu.

10 minutes up the road from Kirwee you’ll discover Darfield, a town under the Nor’west arch, a weather phenomenon heralding a very windy day! While there, visit the Te Huanui Art Gallery on the main road and browse their collections of curated local art. Explore further along the road and you’ll find a variety of shops, cafes and amenities.   

Just past Trinity Church, turn onto State Highway 77 to discover the Inland Scenic Route, a treasure in Canterbury’s crown. This route takes you across the famed Canterbury Plains, winding along the foothills of the stunning Southern Alps. 

Then step into a slice of history in Glentunnel. Once a coal mining, pottery, and brickworks town until closures in the 1980s, the town itself showcases early settler life and traditional employment industries. Or get your swing on at the Hororata Golf Club, a stunning 18-hole course set along the terraces of the Selwyn River. 

If golf isn’t your thing, why not head along to the Washpen Falls walking track—a magical walk suitable for most people. The walk is on private land and the $10 track fee helps maintain the track and the regeneration of an ancient volcanic canyon. The lush native bush and birdsong will calm even the busiest mind and a beautiful waterfall provides space to sit and rest. The walk takes just over 2 hours for a moderately fit person.

After working up a sweat, drive down Coleridge Road to Fable Terrace Downs Resort for a sumptuous lunch or afternoon tea while admiring the view over the championship golf course. Now that you’re rested, head to the Rakaia River and experience the thrill of Discovery Jet as you zoom along the stunning braided channels with many twists and turns along the way.  

Wow, what a day! Enjoy the short drive back to Christchurch, it won’t be long until you’re planning another trip out to Selwyn.