With its mature shady trees, inviting picnic tables and Lake Ellesmere right on its back doorstep, Leeston is a quaint town with a wide range of walks and activities to do nearby.

From here it’s a short drive to Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora) which is famous with bird watchers for its large population of black swans. The shallow lake is also known for the delicious flounder and eel which swim in its waters.

A pleasant family walk follows Harts Creek through farmland to a large bird hide rising above the wetlands on the edge of the lake. Pack some sandwiches and finish the afternoon off with a picnic at the nearby Lakeside Domain. Or for a bite to eat when you get back to the township, head to a restaurant to try something from the extensive Canterbury wines and craft beers selection.

If it is history you are after, by entering Leeston from the North, you will pass the town’s impressive war memorial, keeping with which, the names of many of the streets in Leeston are a roll call of the important battlegrounds of the First World War.