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Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Jenny Hughey, Chair, Environment Canterbury

Summer is officially upon us and with the festive season just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about holiday plans.

Of course, summer is a great time to get away from the screens and out under the Canterbury sky.

Enjoying Canterbury’s parks

Our parks are a great option to unwind and recalibrate after what has been a tough year for many. They’re a great place to just relax or take part in recreational pursuits while enjoying Canterbury’s diverse natural landscapes.

Environment Canterbury manages three parks across the region – one on the shores of Lake Tekapo, and the other two on the banks of the Waimakariri and Ashley Rakahuri Rivers.

They’ve been developed to cater to many outdoor pursuits, such as walking, swimming, boating, fishing, gamebird hunting, motocross, mountain biking, and horse riding.

Your rates pay for these parks. They are yours to enjoy, so why not make the most of them?

Taking care in the parks

Of course, it’s important to be mindful of other animal and plant life too.

Our team work hard to protect the natural environment of our parks while still creating a place we can all enjoy. So, please take your rubbish with you when you leave, don’t light fires and keep your dogs under control. 

Also, please respect the vegetation and wildlife. This includes not getting too close to bird nests or chicks. It may result in being dive-bombed by angry adult birds.

You can learn more about what our parks have to offer by going to our Regional Parks page, where you will also find up-to-date public notices with useful information.

Checking it’s safe to swim

Speaking of notices – summer also means swimming, so I recommend checking the location of the safe spots before heading out for a dip.

We monitor more than 100 popular recreational swimming sites during the summer season for things such as E. coli and toxic cyanobacteria, both of which can make people very sick.

There are usually signs indicating if a place is unsuitable for swimming; however, there may not be signs at all the access points, so I strongly recommend you check the Can I swim here? page on the Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website before heading out.

This is especially important given the status of a swimming spot can change quickly.

What to look out for

It’s also good to understand what to look out for.

In rivers, toxic cyanobacteria appears as thick dark brown or black mats that have a slimy or velvety texture and a musty smell. In lakes, ponds and lagoons, it is suspended in water which can look cloudy, discoloured, or have small globules.

You can also find more information on what to look out for by searching the health warnings on our website.