Christchurch - Canterbury
From the silvery beaches of the coast to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps, the Canterbury landscape offers some of the most spectacular scenery. The highest point of the region is the highest point of New Zealand. The spectacular Aoraki Mount Cook stands at 3754 metres. At the other end of the scale, the submarine trenches off the coast of Kaikoura are thousands of metres deep, providing an ideal environment for the whales, dolphins and seals that live there permanently. Between the mountains and the sea, the vast plains are patchworked with the patterns of rural life.
The Canterbury region also incorporates the delightful alpine spa resort of Hanmer Springs; the quaint French inspired seaside village of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula; Timaru with its heritage architecture and stunning views over Caroline Bay; the turquoise gemstone hue of Lake Tekapo; the high country area and ski fields near Methven and the farming community of Darfield.
Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand, and one of the world’s most unique destinations. Bordered by the Port Hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps as a majestic backdrop, allowing for a huge array of experiences all within just a few hours’ drive. Known traditionally as “The Garden City”, the serene Avon River flows through the centre of the city (its banks now largely forming an urban park), and through the award winning Christchurch Botanic Gardens which are 150 years old this year. The gardens feature one of the finest collections of exotic and native plants found in New Zealand, and are home to one of Christchurch’s most iconic activities, Punting on the Avon.
More recently however, Christchurch has been rebuilding and revitalizing itself following the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and making way for some of the most innovative and creative projects in the world. With a huge emphasis on sustainable and envionmental issues, Christchurch is embracing it’s new future, and is excited about the possibilities of having a chance to reinvent itself with modern buildings and bright urban events. This is a chance to visit a city on the brink of reimagining itself with world class technology and innovation alongside history and heritage.
Christchurch is also known for great dining with a huge choice in cuisine around the city. Local restaurateurs are spoiled for choice with such high quality local wines, and produce, leading to ever changing seasonal menus using local and fresh ingredients.
MUST SEE & DO
- In Christchurch visit the Botanic Gardens and the International Antarctic Centre, ride on the tram and take a punt on the Avon River, then drive up to the Port Hills to admire the view over the city, Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps or visit one of the nearby wineries for lunch and wine tasting
- Visit Akaroa and take a harbour cruise to see the rare hectors dolphins and bird life
- In Kaikoura take a walk on the Peninsula to see the seals, enjoy a Whale Watch tour, swim with the dolphins or join a bird watching cruise
- At Hanmer Springs soak in the soothing mineral waters at the Thermal Pools & Spa, enjoy a jetboating trip or walk to the lookout at Conical Hill
- Stay in the Mt Cook National Park and take a flight over Mt Cook and the region's awesome glaciers, marvel at the stars at the Mt John Observatory and enjoy the numerous walks in the area