The Hurunui is full of secrets... here are five of our favourite hidden highlights.
Cathedral Cliffs, Gore Bay
On the tourist drive, just up from Gore Bay, lies a stunning phenomenon - the Cathedral Cliffs. Mother Nature gave these cliffs their name; erosion over thousands of years has caused the cliffs to resemble a collection of cathedral spires. It’s a perfect photo opportunity because they are the forefront of an exceptional view stretching out over the whole of Gore Bay. There’s not even a long walk involved to see this beautiful sight, the lookout is just off the road and it’s clearly signposted so you won’t miss it.
Maori Rock Art, Waikari
Hidden within the Waikari region, etched in limestone lies historic Maori rock art. It’s said to be around 1,000 years old - from the time Maori first explored the Weka Pass area. On their journey they would set up camp under the overhanging limestone and draw on the shelter wall, using charcoal and red ochre. The subjects of their drawings were simple human figures, fish and dogs.
In 1929, some drawings were painted over in red or black house paint to make them more visible. About 50 figures were ‘revived’ by the paint and around 100 more remain in their natural state. You can’t miss viewing this rare piece of history.
Take the Weka Pass Walkway, using the Princess Street entrance. It’s a 40-minute walk and requires a reasonable level of fitness. Sturdy footwear helps!
Lake Tennyson, Hanmer Springs
This beautiful spot is only a short drive from Hanmer Springs. Park up the car, take a walk around the lagoon and fish off the jetty, or if you’re brave enough, dive in for a dip! The scenery is just stunning.
It’s only a short drive from Hanmer Springs. To get there follow Clarence Valley Road, before turning left onto Tophouse Road. You’ll come across a signposted turn-off to Lake Tennyson.
Iron Ridge Sculptures, Waipara
The Iron Ridge Quarry Sculpture Park was formerly the Amberley Lime Works, but now it’s been transformed into a unique attraction, with native plantings and a diverse range of Raymond Herber’s work. Bring along some snacks, take in the inspiration and look out over the beautiful Waipara Valley.
It’s only open at certain times throughout the year – visit www.raymondherber.com for more information.
St Anne’s Lagoon, Cheviot
Pack a picnic and make the stop while you’re driving past Cheviot. The Hurunui region is home to many picture perfect sceneries and this is one of them. Sit back and read a book, canoe on the lake or jump in – you won’t be disturbed in this quiet location.