Escape to Peel Forest

Put Peel Forest on your list of places to visit when you can.

It's all about bush walks, waterfalls, amazing scenery and great food.

Peel Forest has been a favourite weekend retreat and holiday destination for generations.  That's evident in the number of family baches (holiday homes) in the area.

You can explore this beautiful area on bike or we decided to do both, with a bit of craft beer and pizza thrown in the mix.

The Green Man at Peel Forest

No visit to Peel Forest is complete without a visit to The Green Man Cafe.

If you time it right your visit will coincide with one of their legendary live music nights.

We decided to wander around the area first.

Next to the cafe is the historic St Stephens Church, and just up the road is the Peel Forest Hall, which also has a playground and tennis courts.  The hall has a mural by renowned local painter Austen Deans, and there's also a memorial to him across from the cafe.

Right, craft beer and pizza time.

We had a fantastic time at the Green Man at Peel Forest!

The fire was roaring and their cocktail 'Desperate Measures' was the perfect fireside companion.  It's a blend of whiskey, ginger wine, stout and coffee. Oh and of course a subtle hint of sweetness with some 100% Canadian maple syrup.

Our hosts Matt and Shelley do the mail run up to Mesopotamia, and we've already decided to come back and explore that area next time.

Peel Forest Walks

Day two was all about the walking, we decided to climb Little Mt Peel, which is not so little incidentally.

It's one of the best half day hikes in Canterbury.  It takes around 4 - 6 hours return, reaching just under 1000m in elevation.  You're rewarded at the top with amazing 360 degrees views out to sea on one side, and the mountainous Southern Alps on the other.  The views make it worth the effort!

Compulsory Instagram photo on the trig station at the top.....

If an uphill slog isn't your thing you can take your pick of lots of beautiful native bush tracks.

There are cool family walks like the Big Tree Walk that only takes around 15 minutes.

Check out this DOC brochure that has a description of each walk and a handy map.

While you're in the area

Explore Mesopotamia

Although we didn't make it for a drive to Mesopotamia it's on our bucket list.  Follow Matt Searle's Instagram page as he does his 'Mail run to Messy' to see why.

Mt Peel Lily Day

An annual event on the local calendar, the Aclands of Mt Peel Station open up their garden, and invite the wider community to come and enjoy a day in the sun with the amazing Himalayan Lilies. Bring a picnic, sit back and relax in the country side for the day.

Geraldine Farmers Market

Operating from October to April, it's the perfect place for fresh local produce while you're in the area.

Grab a seat

Check out the specials from Wellington Airport direct to Timaru.

Photo credit: Peel Forest, Green Man Cafe and village: Matt Searles Photography