Arts and Heritage

Points of Interest

  • Visit NZ's Alpine & Agricultural Encounter, showcasing the district's contrasting history
  • Discover one of NZ's finest collections of historical aircraft
  • Take in a show at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre
  • Uncover Mt Somers Heritage Trails
  • Explore the Plains Vintage Railway and Hstorical Museum
  • View thought-provoking and innovative art exhibitions
  • Spend time at Barrhill historical village and Longbeach Estate exploring the history of the region
  • Single Tree - Hine - Paaka

There’s a treasure trove of history and artefacts to discover throughout the district to satisfy any interest. There are many historic homes and properties in Mid-Canterbury, reflecting the pioneering families who became wealthy through hard work and good prices for their produce. Many of these homes have grand formal gardens and some are open to the public. Intriguing glimpses into life past include the old lime kilns at Staveley and Mt Somers, coal mines at Woolshed Creek, the old 1860s’ Hakatere stone homestead and Barrhill historic village.

In addition to museums in Ashburton and Mt Somers, there’s also a Harness Racing Museum, an Aviation Museum, a woodworking museum and many historic homesteads and churches. A copy of the Methven heritage walk map is available from the i-SITEs.

The Plains Railway Museum to the South West of the town is home to several collections and includes an historic pioneer village and a wonderful operating railway museum with rare steam locomotives and railcars.

The Ashburton Aviation Museum is a remarkable achievement. Among an amazing collection of aircraft is a Hawker Harrier Jump Jet

There’s also a rich diversity of art and craft. Ashburton Art Gallery presents an exciting exhibition programme and the impressive Ashburton Events Centre hosts a number of shows and events during the year. Ashford Art & Craft Village is the home of the spinning wheel and a cluster of enticing craft shops.

Many different festivals add colour and vitality, including the Annual Methven Summer School, the Rakaia Craft Market, as well as a number of weekend farmers’ markets throughout the district.

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Ashburton Art Gallery


located in 327 West Street, Ashburton - The Ashburton Art Gallery is a vibrant and innovative regional public artbgallery serving the urban population of Ashburton and the wider Ashburton

The Ashburton Art Gallery hosts exhibitions by local, national and international artists, as well as arranging a stimulating annual programme of touring exhibitions. Wherever possible the Gallery supplements... Readmore »


located in 211a Wills Street, Ashburton - The success of your next conference or event will be assured with our state of the art facilities. The Ashburton Trust Event Centre is fast gaining a reputation for its brilliant design and ease of use for a variety of events.

The Centre was built using the latest technology and is... Readmore »