Things To See And Do In Ashburton

Over the past three years we’ve always stopped for a night or two in Ashburton.  Last Christmas we assisted at the Ashburton Holiday Park for three months which gave us time to have a good look around Ashburton.

Ashburton Domain

The Ashburton Domain is located on State Highway 1.  So that makes it within walking distance from the main shopping area of Ashburton.  The Domain consists of lawns, gardens, lots of trees, recreational facilities, aviary as well as the beautiful Rose Garden.  For the energetic, there‚Äôs a Fitness Track.  Entrances are also located in the streets surrounding the domain.  This is one of our favourite (and free) places to visit.  To see our full blog on the Ashburton Domain, click here.

Sun Dial in the Rose Garden, Ashburton Domain
Sun Dial in the Rose Garden, Ashburton Domain

Trott’s Garden

Trott’s Garden is a garden of international significance and it’s truly a stunning garden.  Over the years it has been beautifully designed and developed.  It is one of the best privately-owned gardens we have visited.  When we first visited the garden it was on their open-day and it was very popular.  There were so many people there, that it was hard to take any photos without people in it.  That’s why Jo went back for another visit.  To see our full blog on Trott’s Garden, click here.

Entrance to Trott's Garden, Ashburton
Entrance to Trott’s Garden, Ashburton

Ashburton Clock Tower and Surrounding Gardens

I arrived just before midday as I wanted to take a video of the clock striking 12 and then watch the water fountain displays.  Click here to watch the video.  The clock started life in 1904 housed in the old Post Office.  However, after 1931 Hawkes Bay Earthquake and 1942 Wairarapa Earthquake it was decided to put the clock away for safe keeping.  Fortunately, in the 1970’s, the Lions Club restored it.  This restored and earthquake-proofed Clock stands surrounded by gardens on East Street.

Ashburton Clock Tower
Ashburton Clock Tower
'Love Me Tender' Sculpture
‘Love Me Tender’ Sculpture

Tinwald Domain

Heading south of Ashburton you’ll find the suburb of Tinwald.  The Tinwald Domain is another excellent spot to stop for a rest and a picnic.  There are always plenty of ducks that want you to feed them.  And while staying at the Ashburton Holiday Park, we experienced some spectacular sunsets.

Ashburton Holiday Park
Ashburton Holiday Park

Ashburton Sunset
Ashburton Sunset

The Plains Vintage Railway & Historical Museum

Located in Tinwald, we visited ‘The Plains’ several times.  They are generally open one Sunday per month, though we did notice they had more open days during the Christmas/School holidays.  We first visited several years ago and on our recent visit a couple of months ago, we noticed more improvements.

A new exhibition is the Fire Museum that has several fire service vehicles and displays.  They have several on display including a video that runs during the open day.

Fire Service Museum
Fire Service Museum

In one of the buildings you can see the old printing presses as well as typewriters.  The Anglican Church of St Philip & St James, Waterton was moved onto the site in 1976 is now part of the Pioneer Village.  So you need a wedding or function venue, this is the place to be.

Waterton Church
Waterton Church

No visit to The Plains is complete without visiting the Lynn Woodwork Museum which comprises the many, many tools required for woodworking as well as some excellent woodcarving.

Lynn Woodwork Museum
Lynn Woodwork Museum

Last, but not least, ensure you take the train ride.  While the track is only a couple of kilometers long, it’s still cool to take a ride in the older trains though.

Vintage Rail Carriage
Vintage Rail Carriage

Click here to visit ‘The Plains’ website.

St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Older churches are so interesting and while out walking we discovered the St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  Only to discover the church is unfortunately closed.  It is now deemed an Earthquake-Prone Building.  Who knows if and when the church will be restored – we didn’t see any notices that explained this.  Hopefully it won’t sit there forgotten for too long.

St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Ashburton
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

Church of the Holy Name

On the next block over is the Catholic Church of the Holy Name which is a very impressive brick structure – also with a bell tower.  Interestingly, this is the third Catholic Church to have been built in Ashburton.  It was built in the 1930’s after the second church was demolished.  However, they retained some of the pews and statues to be used in the new church.

Church of the Holy Name (Catholic), Ashburton
Church of the Holy Name (Catholic)

Ashford Village

As you head north out of Ashburton there is a small shopping village – Ashford Village.  We don’t know how many times we have passed this sign, so one day Jo decided to stop and have a look.  The village consists of a cafe and different specialty shops.  First stop was the Ashford Craft Shop & Knitcola Stitchery.  If you love crafts, then you’ll love this shop.  We can easily see Jo’s mother spending all day here.  The large colourful spinning wheels in the gardens are so cool.

Entrance to Ashford Craft Shop, Ashburton
Entrance to Ashford Craft Shop

As I visited on a Monday, not all the shops were open.  My favourite shop was the Happy Medium and I could have bought too much there.  Fortunately, living on the road stops you from overspending – did buy one dress though.

Happy Medium
Happy Medium

Parking is just off the main road which is ideally especially for larger vehicles.  There are several small gardens throughout the complex as well.

Spinning Wheel in one of the gardens
Spinning Wheel in one of the gardens

Ashburton Cemetery

We find cemeteries interesting, especially the older ones.  The Ashburton Cemetery is large and not only includes older burials/interments, it also includes areas for current burials/interments.  Records show that the first interments were in 1879.  Interestingly, and sadly, the first two interment were from the same family; June 1879 child aged 2 and July 1879 child aged 4.

The Saxton’s building is in the middle which is open and provides information.  Also on site are some public toilets – which comes in handy as the cemetery is located just outside of town.

Ashburton Cemetery
Ashburton Cemetery
Ashburton Cemetery
Ashburton Cemetery

WINZ Memorial

While we were not in Ashburton on 1 September 2014, is a date that we will remember.  Sadly, two Work and Income workers were killed (and another injured) when a man walked into the office and started shooting at those inside.  Fortunately the man was caught and is currently in prison.  A sculpture and plaque now resides outside the WINZ office as a memorial to the two staff members who were killed (Peg Noble and Susan Leigh Cleveland).

WINZ Memorial
WINZ Memorial

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