Travel expert Rosemary McNoe shares her insider tips for exploring Diamond Harbour in Canterbury.
Welcome to the sunny side of the harbour. Situated across from Lyttelton, Diamond Harbour is a small coastal suburb and a secluded haven known for its friendly locals, multitude of day walks and gorgeous scenery. You can listen to kererū and piwakawaka who will follow you on your walk.
Get out on the water and enjoy a stand-up paddleboard lesson with local instructor Joe – boards and life jackets are included in the rental. Walk along part of the scenic coastal cliff track that runs from Charteris Bay to Purau and chat to locals along the way.
Grab a takeaway coffee and sweet treat from the Diamond Harbour Eatery and Bar and head along to Stoddart Cottage Gallery, birthplace of renowned Canterbury impressionist painter Margaret Stoddart. Carefully restored, the cottage is open Fridays to Sundays with a new exhibition every month, along with a Co-Operative store, where you can purchase locally produced craft goods.
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Head to local treasure Orton Bradley Park but on the way, stop at store On the Spot where owners Laura and James will put together picnic essentials for you. Be sure to grab a bottle of rose or pinot noir from the boutique local vineyard Whistling Buoy.
Get your legs moving and your heart pumping in Orton Bradley Park, from a gentle stroll through the rhododendron gardens to a more challenging hike to the summit of Mt Herbert if you have time, or let the kids loose at the playground and bike track.
If you are here in the summer, spend a lazy Sunday afternoon listening to live music at Stoddart Point, home to former historic Godley House, sadly demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes.
Drive the winding scenic road to Port Levy and recognise some of the scenes shot in Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures. Port Levy used to be home to the largest Māori population in Canterbury and now there is the Tūtehuarewa Marae. Enjoy the peace and solitude and visit the historic wooden St Paul’s Anglican Church.
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