Wine, olives and flight

by Ann van Engelen

West Melton is known to be the centre of a developing wine industry, and the area has had a long association with the horse racing industry. It also has the largest population in the Selwyn District due to a high density of farms and lifestyle blocks.

The area has traditionally been farmed for sheep, grain and potatoes. Due to its close proximity to Christchurch, it has seen the creation of small rural blocks of land, and diversification into olives, vineyards and nut orchards, which began in the 1970s and deer farming has also become popular.

Enjoy the stunning natural scenery and take time to seek out rural treasures at the country stores. Visit the artisan producers, restaurants, cafes and wineries where fresh regional produce and wines are served.

West Melton has a variety of quality accommodation with the hosts having immense knowledge of the area to share.

Check out the friendly market at 600 West Melton Road set in a quaint churchyard setting offering seasonal fruit and vegetables, eggs, fresh bread and baking, preserves, cheese, an on-site florist, plants, woodcraft, alpaca products, gourmet pies and coffee. Enjoy the atmosphere with live music whilst you browse around the many stalls. Open Saturdays 9am to noon.

The nearby Waimakariri River is often a place where locals and visitors to the area embark, relaxing with a picnic or enjoying water sports such as boating, canoeing and fishing. The Canterbury Aero Club was established in 1928 at Wigram airfield and has a branch at West Melton airfield.

This private airfield is an ideal environment for ab-initio training, away from the busy atmosphere of Christchurch Airport. Members learning at Christchurch often fly to West Melton during their training with the modern clubhouse and large hangar catering for members’ needs. There are instructors on duty at the weekends and other times on demand for people interested in learning to fly.

The local shopping complex has a variety of businesses to meet the needs of the community including a supermarket, restaurant, chemist, beauty therapist, patisserie, hairdresser, an Indian restaurant and a doctor’s clinic.