Scenic route takes in village life

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The Inland Scenic Route (Route 72) provides the ideal vehicle for anyone wanting to enjoy the offering of a slice of North Canterbury’s rural heartland and its villages.
It is a great alternative to the busy State Highway One and gives you a glimpse of working farms, village life and spectacular scenery.
You can just enjoy the drive and stop off for coffee or take a more leisurely drive, enjoy a lazy lunch and browse the many and varied stores, museums and art galleries along the way.
From the quiet town of Amberley on State Highway One turn inland to Rangiora, the hub of North Canterbury’s farming community with a busy rejuvenated main street, cafes aplenty, restaurants and accommodation.
Rangiora offers great entertainment opportunities with a new Town Hall and Cinemas, parks, an Indoor Pool and even a couple of dog parks which are providing not just a place for dogs to socialise but their many owners as well.
Your journey can then take you west to Cust, Oxford and beyond.
The quaint village of Cust has some stop offs not to be missed – Querky Styles, Away with the Fairys and the Route 72 CafeBar Emporium, a treasure trove of unique gifts and a favourite stop for food and coffee.
Just along the road is the Cust Hotel. Built in the early 1860’s as an accommodation house it became licensed in 1863 and today is a popular stop over for visitors to enjoy a pint, country fare and hospitality.
Further west you pass through farmland offering a mix of cropping, sheep, beef and dairying, until you arrive in Oxford, a platform with its abundance of visitor opportunities right on its doorstep – from jet boating, fishing and horse riding to tramping, mountain biking and skiing.
You will be spoilt for choice for a cafe to relax in and the number of shops offering clothing, art and crafts, books and gifts and many offerings for your pantry.
There is a supermarket, a book and gift shop, antiquities to browse, a hairdresser, a good old fashioned butcher, pies of all flavours on offer, a wine bar, a Working Men’s Club offering food and beverages and there is a great children’s playground in the town centre.
To add to the visitor experience there is an art gallery and museum bringing Oxford’s past to life and for those wanting to stop over for the night there is a swish new motel block right in walking distance of amenitites, restaurants and cafes.
Every Sunday a huge range of meats, fruit, vegetables, flowers, fresh fish, bread, baking, preserves, sauces, brunch and coffee are available at the Oxford Farmers’ Market where the seller is the producer. eftpos available.
From Oxford you can head south towards Methven via the mighty Waimakariri Gorge and on to Geraldine and beyond.
The end of the Inland Scenic Route marks a crossroads for your travels: either take State Highway 79 to Fairlie and the Mt Cook region, or head east towards the coast.