Canterbury offers remarkable scenery and a wealth of activities for visitors: whitewater rafting, jetboating and bungy jumping, as well as winter skiing and snowboarding, are all to be had within two hours’ drive of the city. Scenic helicopter and fixed-wing flights are available in most areas.
Drive to Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. This 19th century French settlement has quaint buildings, restaurants and speciality shops. Mountainbiking, rockclimbing and walking are popular activities. Also of note: Little River’s Café and Gallery.
Alternatively, take a scenic cruise with Black Cat Cruises in Lyttleton or Akaroa Harbour, and maybe even swim with the dolphins!
Drive west to Arthur’s Pass, stopping at Castle Hill and Cave Stream, or take the stunning TranzAlpine railway route through the Southern Alps.
The Alpine Pacific Triangle area offers the world-famous Hanmer Springs, Alpine Pacific Triangle, TranzAlpine Railway, Kaikoura’s whale watching, wine, dining, skiing, and adventure pursuits.
Just northwest of the city on the Inland Scenic Route (72) is Oxford, featuring horse riding, farm stays, galleries, cafes and shops.
South from Christchurch are Ashburton, Temuka and Timaru, or take Route 72 past Methven, Mt Hutt and the stunning Rakaia gorge. The Lake Coleridge area offers luxury accommodation, skiing, fly fishing, jetboating, tramping and whitewater rafting among magnificent surroundings.
Further south, Geraldine has a selection of speciality shops, restaurants and galleries. Of note: Chocolate Brown and Talbot Forest Cheese.
Aoraki/ Mt Cook National Park is noted for its natural beauty. See the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre for a 3-D tour of the area’s history and geology, or visit the planetarium. Other highlights: the Tasman Glacier, tramping, winter skiing, mountaineering and scenic flights.