Ashburton is an attractive town with stately trees, elegant gardens, outstanding museums and superb fishing rivers brim-full of salmon and sea-run trout.
The town is an important service centre on the banks of the Ashburton River, a one hour drive south of Christchurch.
When the founding fathers arrived here, the vast Canterbury Plains were an inhospitable semi-desert, whipped by dust storms and divided by untamed braided rivers. The pioneers persevered with irrigation schemes, and today Ashburton’s hinterland is fertile and productive.
The people of Ashburton have created museums which feature local history, arts and crafts. The Ashburton Museum and Art Gallery is most impressive, with permanent exhibits on the town’s history, irrigation methods and early brickworks factories. The Museum of Woodworking has a large collection of antique ornamental lathes. The Plains Vintage Railway Museum, Aviation Museum and Vintage Car Museum are only open for limited hours but are well worth a visit.
The Ashford Craft Village is a mini-mall with an assortment of boutique shops and art and craft outlets, as well as pottery and woodturning workshops. Nearby is the Domain, an expansive parkland featuring European trees, manicured gardens and a lake. A walkway enables you to ramble along the riverbank to the open sea. Magnificent stands of 100 year old trees are to be found throughout the town.
Ashburton draws keen freshwater anglers from all over the world, to fish the braided channels of the Rakaia, Rangitata and Ashburton Rivers. Huge salmon and sea-run trout are the quarry, sometimes exceeding ten kilos in weight and perfectly conditioned. The twisted braids of the Rakaia are spanned by the country’s longest river bridge.
The town is a starting point for many outdoor adventure pursuits. The Mt.Hutt ski field, a 20 minute drive away, is where you will find some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the country.
Ashburton is an attractive and welcoming town in the heartland of the fertile Canterbury Plains. It is well known as a place for relaxing and unwinding.