Local History and Weather
The small historic and quaint village of Glentunnel, was settled around 1870. As you enter the village a row of fine Douglas Fir trees that are nearing 90 years old, provide a majestic border between the local golf course and the main street. The golf club and several other sports clubs occupy Glentunnel Domain which is 71 hectares in size. For the enthusiast the river contain a small population of trout. During summer the camping ground in the Domain is very popular with City families, particularly those with young children because of the adjacent slow flowing river. The name Glentunnel was derived from the "tunnel in the Glen" that was formed through a hill to avoid local miner's horse drawn coal carts paying a toll over a run holder's land in the late 1800's.
Malvern Hills coal and the Homebush Works Brick and Pottery (now demolished) were in great demand in developing early Christchurch. While one open cast mine still operates in nearby Bush Gully, the Homebush Coal and Pottery works closed around 1984. The nearby township of Coalgate prior to the 1960's, was the staging post for coal prior to being transported by rail to Christchurch. Before the the rail was established, coal was carted by horse and dray on a track to the City which is now known as Coaltrack Road.
A paved 3 km walkway or cycleway now links Glentunnel to Coalgate. An easy walk through the Douglas Firs past the Community Centre heads down to the Riverwalk ending at the Selwyn River bridge this leaves an easy walk back through the village. For the more adventurous the challenging 2 plus hour Bluff Walk allows great views of the Selwyn River, the golf course and at several points, out over the Canterbury Plains towards Christchurch and the Port Hills.
Next door to the Museum is the unique shaped octagonal Glentunnel Library and Post Office which is acknowledged as one of the oldest surviving Post Offices in New Zealand. The Post Office and its Library services are operated by local volunteers, opening Monday to Friday from 9 to 11 am.
Glentunnel in elevation is just under 1000 feet (approx. 280m) above sea level. With Glentunnel sheltering in the foothills of the Southern Alps temperatures can be very high in summer. Obviously with much snow on the Alps in winter it can also be cool with good frosts.. However the bonus is beautiful clear and sunny days. Canterbury's famous Nor Wester can have two effects. Should the Nor Wester blow from Windwhistle (aptly named) situated due west of Glentunnel conditions are a bit breezy. But if the Nor Wester is more to the north then it is very hot and still in "The Glen". Being on the edge of the Canterbury Plains and adjacent to the Southern Alps the area tends to have its own micro-climate and rarely suffers from passing fronts that pass up the sea coast..