Christchurch is the South Island's largest city, a vibrant, cosmopolitan place
heralded as the 'garden city'. Visit the Christchurch section to see the main
activities and attractions in Christchurch.
Banks Peninsula was formed eight million years ago by the violent eruptions
of three volcanoes. Akaroa and Lyttelton Harbours are the eroded craters of
two of these volcanoes.
Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula, is Canterbury's oldest village and was originally
settled by the French. However, it is also steeped in Maori, whaling and British
history. Remnants of its French history are still visible in French street signs,
early architecture and the French cemetery. Visit the Akaroa section to see the main
activities and attractions in Akaroa.
- Ripapa & Quail Islands: Lyttelton Harbour, just 15 minutes from Christchurch,
is home to two islands, each with an incredible link to Canterbury's past including Quail Island's
links to Antarctic exploration
- Wildlife Cruise: take a cruise from Lyttelton Harbour to view Hector dolphins
and notable historic sites around the area
- Day & Half-Day Cruises: cruise the harbour and travel to the bays to the east
of Banks Peninsula
Just to the north of Christchurch is the district of Waimakariri, with the
main centre Rangiora. The Waimakariri district takes its name from the most
significant river in the area, and the word from Maori translates as 'river
of cold rushing water'.
- Horsetrekking: enjoy a horse ride up the Lees Valley
- River Cruising: join the historic coastal trader, MV Tuhoe from Kaiapoi to the
mouth of the Waimakariri River
- Jet Boating: experience the thrill and adrenaline rush of a jet boat ride through
the spectacular Waimakariri Gorge
- Fishing: the Waimakariri River is an excellent fishing ground for quinnat salmon
and brown trout
The Hurunui district extends from Leithfield, 30 minutes north of Christchurch,
to the Conway River, just south of Kaikoura. Most of the area is within 90 minutes'
drive of Christchurch International Airport.
Included in the region is Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve, one of the most popular
thermal spa resorts in New Zealand. The Thermal Reserve has been used for generations,
being one of the resting areas for Maori on their journeys to the West Coast
for greenstone. The Waipara Valley, a 50-minute drive north of Christchurch,
has developed a worldwide reputation for cool-climate wines. Wine trails enable
visitors to learn about and taste a wide variety of wine and to dine at one
of many vineyard cafes or restaurants. Visit the Hanmer
Springs section to see the main activities and attractions in Hanmer Springs.
Wine : this region has deal conditions for growing
quality grapes. Stop for a tasting and a meal at a handful of
wineries in this area.
Selwyn district is known for its wineries, golf courses, high country lakes
and rivers and Arthur's Pass National Park, which is in the heart of the Southern
Alps. The Park has a diverse landscape, with forests, waterfalls, snowy peaks,
walkways and trails, and rare wildlife including the endangered and reclusive
kiwi and the kea, the cheeky mountain parrot.
- Arthur's Pass National Park: A network of tracks leads into remote valleys and
high alpine passes. In summer these are suitable for groups of average fitness and experience. In
winter more skill is required as snow may lie deeply even in the valleys and weather conditions can
be difficult. Two of the most popular are the Cass Saddle hike and the Mingha/Deception hike over
Goat Pass. www.doc.govt.nz
Mt Olympus, Porter
Heights, Broken River and Mt Cheeseman, all have good skiing
between July and October
Kaikoura hugs a narrow strip of coastline that lies between mountain peaks
and the Pacific Ocean, approximately three hours north of Christchurch. A variety
of rare marine mammals converge here - sperm whales, New Zealand fur seals,
dolphins and penguins.
- Whale Watching: join a trip to see these magnificent creatures, by boat or air,
all year round
- Dolphin Encounters: swim with or observe dolphins
- Swimming With Seals: take a land- or boat-based guided seal snorkeling tour
- Crafts: watch craftspeople at work creating jewellery items from paua, bone and
- Scenic Flights: see the whales from the air and enjoy mountain and coastal views
- Diving/Snorkeling & Fishing Trips: deep sea and crayfishing trips are available
Methven - Mt Hutt
Discover Mt Hutt and Methven village, a warm and welcoming all-year-round tourist
destination at the heart of New Zealand's South Island.
- Mt Hutt Ski Area:
Mt Hutt has the longest ski season in New Zealand, its elevation
making the snow higher and deeper for longer.
- Terrace Downs Golf Resort: this international golf course is long (6,500 metres/21,311
feet) with eight lakes to challenge golfers. Fairways are wide and there are 70 bunkers to contend
- Aoraki Balloon Safaris: take a balloon flight over the Canterbury Plains with
a panoramic view from the mountains to the sea. On a fine, clear day visitors can see Mt Cook, New
Zealand's highest peak
- Jet Boating on the Rakaia River: follow Inland Scenic Route 72 and turn off before
the Rakaia Gorge overbridg
The Central South Island - Timaru ,Temuka, Geraldine, Pleasant Point, Peel Forest.
The central South Island is the inland district of Timaru situated halfway
between Christchurch and Dunedin. Bounded by the Rangitata River to the north
and the Pareora River to the south and stretching from the snow-capped Southern
Alps to the sparkling blue waters of the South Pacific Ocean, the area's diverse
topography is home to a huge array of scenic, sporting and cultural attractions.
- Timaru: enjoy the largest area of preserved urban Victorian and Edwardian architecture
in New Zealand
- Pleasant Point Railway: visit the home of the world's only Ford Model T railcar.
The railway society has regular steaming days
- Maori Rock Art: the area has the largest collection on Maori rock art in New Zealand
- Trevor Griffith Rose Garden: see the largest collection of old roses in the Southern
- 4WD Drives: explore New Zealand's back country
- Pottery: visit the famous Temuka Pottery shop or factory
- Geraldine Vintage Car & Machinery Museum