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Waipara is a small hamlet situated on the junction of Highways one and seven. 

Waipara means "river with a thick, muddy sediment" and is the name given to the river that passes through the valley given the same name. 

Originally known for farming, since the 1970’s when the first grapes were grown in the Waipara valley, this area has grown into one of the fastest developing wine growing areas in Canterbury, and, indeed, the country. The light, easily drained soils, along with the exceptionally high sunshine hours and lower rainfall, means this valley is protected from Canterbury’s cool easterly winds in summer, making it ideal for growing of grapes. Grape-types grown are Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay and pinot noir. 

Waipara is particularly known for its annual wine festival held in March. Attractions also include Clydesdale horse rides. 

Hanmer Springs Helicopters provides a transfer service to and from Waipara and Hanmer Springs. 

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