Pahau Downs farm view
Pahau Downs farm view
Pahau Downs farm view

About Culverden

Culverden, North Canterbury, New Zealand

Culverden is a small town in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island and is located on State Highway 7 and is approximately one hours drive north of Christchurch.

Culverden was once an important railway terminus, with the railway line extended from Medbury across the Hurunui River to Culverden on 8 February 1886. It was envisaged that this route would become the Main North Line to Nelson and Blenheim, but a coastal route via Parnassus and Kaikoura was chosen instead. Nonetheless, the branch line to Culverden was extended beyond the town to Waiau in 1919 and it became known as the Waiau Branch. At the line's peak, when it was considered to be part of the Main North Line, multiple trains ran daily between Culverden and Christchurch, including the Culverden Express and a number of slower mixed trains that carried both freight and passengers.

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Regular passenger services however were replaced by coach and bus services on 29 January 1939 and after becoming uneconomic, the railway through Culverden was closed entirely on 15 January 1978. Little now remains of the town's railway except a loading bank at the site of the old station.

Culverden township (population 420 in 2006) is 97 km north of Christchurch and 23 km south-west of Waiau. Culverden is the chief service centre of the Amuri district which increased its population between 1996 and 2006 from 1713 to 1950, thanks in part to extended irrigation on the Amuri Plain.

With farming the main income earner for the area, the saleyards have been crucial to the farm economy of the Amuri district and were built in 1888. From 1890 until 1989 Culverden was the seat of the Amuri County Council.

Local Attractions and Activities

There is plenty to see and do while you stay at Pahau Downs.

Fishing Waiau and Hurunui Rivers
Culverden, Amuri and Hanmer
Horse RidingMt Lyford
Farm Tour Pahau Downs
Jet Boating and Action Activities Hanmer Springs
SkiingMt Lyford
Thermal PoolsHanmer Springs
Whale and Dolphin WatchKaikoura
Vintage RailwayWeka Pass

Culverden is part of the Alpine Pacific Triangle Driving Route and a great way to plan to see the area.