Forest Walks and Blue Canals on the Methven Walkway

Our final day in Methven is celebrated with a classic Methven activity: the Methven Walkway. Conveniently placed on the outskirts of the small town, the Methven Walkway can be walked from our accommodation, the Mt Hutt Bunkhouse. No driving involved! Although the whole length of the Methven Walkway is 11km to walk or bike, there are a number of options to cut the walk short and head back to town. Like we say, convenient!

It’s so freakin’ convenient that we don’t have to rush to an activity for once, whether it’s usually to make a specific meeting time or just to give us enough time to complete the activity. When it starts raining, we can be all like: “Yeah, we’ll wait until it stops raining to go for a walk!” But then we realise we have a hole in our campervan after an unfortunate incident, that need covering ASAP!

Robin officially becomes a Kiwi

Robin grabs a think plastic bag and some duct tape and gets to work taping the cover across the hole. Yep! Robin has officially become a Kiwi! If we sent Immigration New Zealand a video of Robin fixing his vehicle with duct tape, he’d get his citizenship in a heartbeat.

Let the Methven walkway begin!

It seems to do the trick for now. Plus, it does stop raining and we do go for a walk. With a map grasped in hand that Wendy and Ian, the hosts at the Mt Hutt Bunkhouse, gave us on the day we checked in, we walk a short way along the road leading out of the town towards Rakaia Gorge.

The moment Robin went from French to Kiwi The moment Robin went from French to Kiwi
I think we have found the Methven Walkway... I think we have found the Methven Walkway...
Marching through the conifer forest Marching through the conifer forest
Robin tastes some cherry plums. (Why do we always end up tasting random forest vegetation when we walk with locals?) Robin tastes some cherry plums. (Why do we always end up tasting random forest vegetation when we walk with locals?)

We have a new walking buddy!

Robin appropriately points out: “We’ve driven this road four times since we’ve been here, and now we’re walking it?!” Indeed, all Methven activities, from Washpen Falls to Awa Awa Rata Reserve, from the Rakaia Gorge to archery at Terrace Downs, (not to mention the Mt Hutt Skifield), and now the Methven Walkway, are taking us down this long straight road. However, by getting distracted by a field of pied oyster catchers amongst other birds, this gives Wendy the time to catch us up for a surprise visit on the walkway! We have a new walking buddy!

It’s not long before we can turn off the main road and walk down a track nestled in conifers. Three different signposts ensure we DO NOT MISS IT!

Warming up as advised by the walk

The beginning of the walking track is also marked by a “warm up” section with several information boards giving you ideas on all the ways you can warm up for your big walk. We’ve never even considered warming up for a walk, but we give it a go, twisting our waists and stretching our calves. We’ll see if we notice a difference later, we guess…

Gazing across the Methven Canal

Tall trees, dry streams and those walking conversations

We follow a single track running over the roots of exotic trees reaching so high that only the echoes of birds taunt us. It’s too high up there to really see anything but the odd flutter in the sky.

Pine cones carpet the floor giving a satisfactory crunch as we walk, having nonsensical conversations – you can end up talking about a lot of random stuff when you’re walking.

At one point, a stream used to flow right through this little reserve. We cross a few simple bridges over a ditch that has been long dry, but we appreciate the sentiment. Thank you, bridges, thank you.

The local’s insight

The great thing we always find about doing these walks with a local is that they can tell you heaps of stuff about what you’re seeing! For example, we learn that the dramatically shaped tree stumps left in the ground have produced so much gum that it is great for burning, as Wendy says she used to have to go out collecting it. As well as fixing everything with duct tape, Kiwis really know how to utilise the forest.

The rain is coming to water the flowers The rain is coming to water the flowers
Walking along the canal Walking along the canal
Spotting the canal wildlife along the way... Spotting the canal wildlife along the way...

The brilliant blue canal

Eventually, we emerge from the conifer and stump-filled forest onto the banks of a canal – a canal holding water of the most magnificent colour of opalescent milky blue. It’s not a bad place to walk beside, with the backdrop of mountains slowly getting clouded over. More rain is coming!

Shortcuts from the rain

A sign at Mt Harding Road gives us the relief to cut the walk a bit short so instead of following the canal any further, we head down the shortest route back into town. Along the way we spot some of the most Kiwi happenings: one car on the road within 30 minutes, a lifestyle farm (more like a garden) with sheep and “chucks”, and a man shearing a sheep.

After a few wrong turns that were meant to be “Wendy’s shortcuts”, we finally make it back to the Mt Hutt Bunkhouse with more than just a satisfied feeling of doing the Methven Walk, but a satisfied feeling from our visit in Methven in general!

In conclusion, is there anything to do in Methven in Summer?

We really thought it would be stretch coming to Methven during the summer. It has such a reputation for being a ski resort town that any other activity or “things to do” have been shadowed by the allure of the Mt Hutt Skifield. In fact, we’ve ended up spending two extra days here than planned because there is so much to do! We’ve done beautiful hikes through a forest thriving with birds to a mountain stream, jet boated down the stunning Rakaia River and walked back along the adventurous Rakaia Gorge Walkway, and made like Robin Hood and done archery in the woods. We’ve hiked to wonderful vistas of the Canterbury Plains, seen majestic waterfalls and volcanic caves, and rowed a boat at Washpen Falls. The town of Methven itself has proven to be a great place to eat, as well as having a quirky cinema. Finally, we are topping off our time in Methven with the beautiful Methven Walkway. Phew! It’s fair to say that there is A LOT of things to do in Methven in summer.

On that note, see you tomorrow where our next adventure for the week leading up to Christmas takes us to Christchurch! See you then!

Laura and Robin

The vibrant colours of Methven
The vibrant colours of Methven Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

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