The Ashburton Domain and Gardens is a great spot for a relaxing stroll, with 37ha of lawns, gardens, and recreation facilities. Kids will enjoy the safe tracks to ride bikes and scooters, and there’s even a shaded paddling pool. The Domain can be accessed from SH1 whether you are travelling north or south.
Art Gallery and Heritage Centre
Weather not great? Head indoors to the Ashburton Art Gallery. The gallery maintains a full programme of exhibitions throughout the year that promote and exemplify the works of local and national artists for the public. Exhibitions range from solo to group compositions and are sourced through the gallery collection, the artists and other institutions. 327 West St, Ashburton, ashburtonartgallery.org.nz
Ashburton has a strong aviation history, having been used as a training base in the World War Two. The museum has more than 20 aircraft on display in the two museum buildings, with more in the workshop. The latest addition is a Thompson Refueller, one of only nine on display worldwide. The museum is at Ashburton Airport, 470 Seafield Road, Elgin, aviationmuseum.co.nz
Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum
Another great museum worth visiting, the Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum is on Maronan Road, Tinwald. The museum is home to a range of exhibits, including vintage steam locomotives, tractors, stationary engines and a quaint village that offers a glimpse of Mid Canterbury’s pioneering past.
The New Zealand Gardens Trust awarded Trott’s Garden six stars (its highest category) and designated it as a New Zealand Garden Of International Significance, outstanding for its horticultural value in plant material, cultivation, design, construction, and maintenance. Even if you’re not mad about gardening, this one is worth a stroll through and makes an excellent stop for a picnic. The garden is free to enter (although donations are welcome) and open every day. 371 Racecourse Road, Ashburton, trotts.co.nz
Biking Mount Hutt Bike Park
If biking is your thing, visit Mount Hutt Bike Park on Rosedale Road, Mount Hutt, which has more than 30km of well-maintained trails suitable for beginners to those looking for more adventure. Find out more at bikemethven.co.nz
Take a walk along the river
If you’re looking for a quiet amble, try the 7.5km track along the banks of the Ashburton River to the man-made Lake Hood or ride the Ashburton River trails – 28km of fantastic riding to the ocean.
Ashburton Golf Club
Stop for a round of golf at the Ashburton Golf Club. The club offers easy walking, top-quality golfing conditions all year round and is well maintained with full irrigation from tee to green. All visitors are welcome to play the course. Golf Links Road, ashburtongolf.co.nz