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Your guide to Ashburton
All About Ashburton
The town of Ashburton sits between the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers in the fertile farmland of the Canterbury Region, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand,. The town center is dominated by the sprawling Ashburton Domain, featuring landscaped grounds with tranquil ponds, crisscrossing pathways, and two central plazas to the east and west of the railway known as Baring Square, home of the Ashburton Clock Tower and War Memorial. The nearby streets offer low-slung shops and restaurants, and as you wander through town, you’ll find more gardens and squares throughout residential neighborhoods.
Ashburton has museums for visitors of all ages, including an aviation museum, vintage car museum, and a railway museum. Within an hour’s drive, you’ll discover a slew of year-round outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking and mountain biking in the Ashburton Lakes, skiing on Mount Hutt, and whitewater rafting and kayaking through the Rangitata Gorge.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Ashburton?
Thanks to the wide array of outdoor activities available year-round, any time is a good time to secure your vacation accommodation in Ashburton. During the summer months, long, sunny days are great if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors or take in the traditional Festival of Pipe Band Music in February. The town can get busy during school holidays, so keep that in mind when booking. Spring and autumn are quieter, and it should still be warm enough to go for hikes or mountain biking. During the spring, you’ll see the highest water levels for white-water rafting, and in the autumn, the tree leaves burst into a mix of yellow, orange, and red. The winter months bring plenty of snow to the mountains and are the perfect time for strapping on a pair of skis and hitting the slopes.
What are the top things to do in Ashburton?
Ashburton Lakes are part of Hakatere Conservation Park, 45 minutes’ drive from Ashburton. The park is full of hiking and mountain biking paths, whether you are looking for a short stretch like the fully accessible Nature Trail on Woolshed Creek or a full-day trek on the Lake Clearwater tracks. Mount Sunday looms high above the park and is accessible by an easy 1-hour hike. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and the Rangitata River.
Ashburton Aviation Museum
Ashburton served as a training base for World War II pilots, and this museum near the former aerodrome is now home to more than 20 restored historic aircraft, with a focus on attack planes from before the 1950s. The volunteer staff can explain the history of the aircraft, making this a great stop for aviation enthusiasts of all ages.
This beautiful park features century-old trees that create a perfect canopy on hot summer days. You’ll also find a rose garden, an aviary, a paddling pool and seasonal splash pad, and an Art Deco duck pond where you can watch as waterfowl and fish frolic.