Ellesmere College is located in the township of Leeston, which has a population of 1600 people. Leeston is situated on the flat land of the Canterbury Plains with clear views of local mountains: it is 30 km to Banks Peninsula and 60km to the Southern Alps which are snow-capped in winter.
Leeston is 32 km from the edge of the city of Christchurch, a trip that takes 30 minutes by road, and 44km or 45 minutes from the centre of the city.
Rich agricultural land surrounds Leeston and many of its students live on farms. Dairying, sheep and cropping are the main farming activities with irrigation providing water for plant growth during the hot dry summers.
The town serves the local farming community and has a supermarket, a primary school, a high school [Ellesmere College], four churches, a hospital for the elderly, banking facilities, shops, a volunteer fire brigade, ambulance service, a small open swimming pool, parks, a library, sports clubs and facilities and a medical centre.
A dominant feature of the main street of Leeston is the war memorial that was built to remember those who died during the First World War.
Mt Hutt ski field is only an hour’s drive from Leeston and it has excellent facilities that satisfy the most discerning skiers and snow boarders.