Internationally-known Mt Hutt Ski Area attracts thousands of skiers and snowboarders each year with the town of Methven being the main accommodation area for the ski field. There is also an increasingly popular ski field at Mt. Potts and some smaller niche operations offering specialty experiences such as heli-skiing.
The development of Lake Hood, a 70 hectare man-made aquatic park, is a major asset to the whole district. It has added another dimension to the district’s attractions, boasting a full championship rowing course, recreational boating and swimming. Lake Hood hosts the Aqua-Fest, a celebration of water sports, cuisine and culture.
Image Courtesy of Ashburton Online
Salmon Fishing Rivers
The district includes two of New Zealand’s premier salmon fishing rivers, the Rakaia and the Rangitata, with the Rakaia Township annually hosting anglers from all over the world who have come to test themselves against the superb river-run salmon and trout. Both rivers offer spectacular scenery, particularly on their upper reaches and there are various tourist operations taking advantage of this including, 4 wheel drive safaris and white water rafting.
The lakes and open spaces of the alpine foothills are also very popular with visitors and locals alike wanting to enjoy the spectacular scenery, trout fishing and tranquillity of the area.
The Ashburton Domain is an excellent garden park, which regularly entices locals and visitors to relax, walk in the beautiful gardens, watch sports events or enjoy a concert performance at an outdoor performing venue equal to that of any comparable district in New Zealand.
Sports and Recreation in the District
The district caters for a wide range of sporting codes and sports fields form a large part of the 265 hectares set aside for recreational reserves. There are over 200 sports clubs in the district and facilities include five golf courses, a synthetic hockey turf, equine race centre, a nationally rated tennis complex and a covered heated swimming complex. The Ashburton Showgrounds is home to many sports teams and events, including the Mid-Canterbury rugby team which currently competes in the second division of the National Provincial Championship.
Over 70 cultural and craft groups provide every opportunity for artistic and cultural expression and include an enthusiastic Arts Society, Historical Society and Operatic Society. There is an excellent art gallery and museum equal to that of any comparable district in New Zealand and a large performing arts theatre.