Waiau River near Hanmer Springs, Hurunui. © David Baird

Loved by the locals: Hurunui

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1. Little Vintage Espresso

I am such a sucker for cute local cafés, and Little Vintage Espresso in Amberley made me squeal out loud as soon as I walked in the door. I can’t imagine that I am the only one surprised by a fabulous café serving exceptional coffee in a small farming town outside of the big city. But good thing I love surprises!

Winter morning kind of vibe.

A post shared by Little Vintage Espresso (@littlevintageespresso) on Jul 8, 2016 at 3:33pm PDT

Started by a husband and wife team, it’s tucked away in a beautiful little space that feels like someone’s house, with amazing affordable cabinet food and a vibe that makes you want to sit down and stay a while.

2. Forage for truffles at Limestone Hills

Nothing makes me smile more than tucking into a good meal that includes truffles.

And while it’s one of my favourite flavours, it’s not something I expected to be able to forage for in New Zealand. Italy sure, but near Christchurch? What a surprise!

In fact, Limestone Hills in the Waipara area of the Hurunui District is the only place in New Zealand with four types of truffles that you can visit yourself. And be sure to give Rosie the truffle dog a cuddle while you’re there for all her hard work.

3. Grab lunch at the Black Estate winery in the Waipara

Black Estate is one of my favourite little wineries in New Zealand. A small family-owned estate in the Waipara Valley north of Christchurch and famous for its organic wines, with a great tasting room and even greater lunch menu, this is a must-do for anyone in the area who loves good food and wine, which I assume is everyone.

The view on a sunny day overlooking the vines, especially during the autumn harvest, is very special and warrants a few hours of relaxing in the sunshine.

4. Hang out at Motunau Beach

If you're looking for a peaceful beach getaway for the weekend, head out to Motunau Beach, only an hour from Christchurch. A great seaside spot with plenty of baches to chose from, there’s relatively easy surf you can try out, or if you’re more like me, read a book on the beach and wait for dinner. With some great fishing, this is the place to go after the delicious blue cod or crayfish.

The not-infrequent outcome of mullet fishing in North Canterbury. Crayfish tacos for dinner!

A post shared by Angela Clifford (@thefoodfarmnz) on Sep 29, 2016 at 11:37pm PDT

 5. Mountain bike in Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is well-known as a Kiwi holiday destination, mostly because of the amazing spa in town. But it’s also surrounded by amazing forest and biking trails which are perfect to work your body out during the day before going for a soak in the hot pools at night.

There are trails for every ability here and places to hire bikes, making it great for anyone looking to get out for a pedal in a beautiful environment.

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