"A prime Ski and Hiking Destination" Methven by Kakapo2

Methven Travel Guide: 42 reviews and 47 photos

It all Started with Robert Patton and his Farm

A guy named Robert Patton settled at the place which is now called Methven in 1869. He bought 500 acres of land at the junction of the West Coast Road and the Waimarama Road. He named his farm Methven after his hometown in Perthshire, Scotland. This later became the name of the new township at the foothills of Mt. Hutt in Mid Canterbury.

Robert Patton was involved in many community affairs. In 1880 he set up the “Commercial and Family Hotel” in the town centre, later known as Patton’s Hotel. Now it has been named the Blue Pub. You cannot miss it, thanks to its striking blue colour, sitting at the main square and intersection of the place.

Methven is not a very exciting place – but it becomes very, very busy in winter. It is one of the few big skiing centres in New Zealand, delivering all services and amenities for the Mt. Hutt skifield. The location is strategically fantastic, as it is only a one and half hours drive from Christchurch. On a clear day you can see the sea from the ski slopes. In summer, unfortunately, the access road is closed, so you cannot enjoy the views.

Scenic Approach on Highway 72

When you take the inland route from Christchurch to Geraldine/Lake Tekapo, named Scenic Route 72, you drive past this dominant mountain. But you could miss Methven, as it is a short detour from the highway. I admit, it would not be a great loss. Methven even looks a little strange with its historic buildings sitting in a super modernised tidy town with even stranger very modern street lamps. You would probably expect something a little more rustic and/or romantic, especially if you are used to ski resorts in the European Alps.

But Methven is a nice place to stay for the night, a great place for a farmstay, and a fabulous base for hiking and mountain biking. The places to start hiking are Mt. Somers and Staveley. You have a great choice of short walks, day walks, and multi-day walks - and that is why we mostly go to the area. In the beech forests you do not only have sandflies from time to time but also wonderful birdlife, with fantails, tomtits, and bellbirds lighting up even a rainy day with their song :-)

If you drive inland from Mt. Somers you get to the place of Edoras from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Another reason to stay in Methven if you are not in a hurry.

Hot Air Ballooning - Golf - MTB - Fishing

Not to forget other great activities you can enjoy in and around Methven. One prime attraction is Hot Air Ballooning, with Methven hailed as one of the top spots in New Zealand for this airborne way of enjoying the scenery. Other things to do are golf (18 hole/72 par course at the Terrace Downs Resort plus another – more worldly – 18 hole country course), mountain biking, and hunting. The nearby Rakaia River is popular for salmon fishing and jetboating. The lakes of the area abound with rainbow and brown trout. (Check for the exact dates of the fishing season, Oct – Feb.)

We have a coffee or a meal in Methven from time to time, especially since my husband bought a motorbike, and this is a nice and not too long half-day trip and sitting in the sun.

The way from Christchurch to Methven via SH 1 and SH 77 is not very exciting. You drive past one million cows (ok, some less…) and a lot less sheep, absolutely flat farmland. The inland trip on SH 72 (Scenic Route 72) is lovely, as from Darfield you drive along the foothills of the Southern Alps. The Rakaia Gorge with its icy turquoise blue waters is a highlight, and then the road even gets slightly hilly, sheep dotted on the green pastures.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A great base for hiking, Edoras, and skiing
  • Cons:The town itself is not very exciting
  • In a nutshell:I love the nearby beech forests with their birdlife
  • Last visit to Methven: Nov 2008
  • Intro Updated Apr 8, 2009
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Reviews (34)

Comments (2)

  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    does look like a good area for motorcycle trip! and if the pub touts that it's the place to make friendships, good thing at least someone is especially friendly. shame the breakfast place took such a hit.

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2009 at 2:33 AM

    Wow Sissi- Great page here on this wonderful area- the forests look amazing. I would have to get fit before that walking!The Bird tips are very good-love the Tomtit. Lovely pictures too.

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