Christchurch is within easy reach of some stunning South Island scenery. Take a day trip to the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass in the Southern Alps, or head to Hanmer Springs to relax in the hot pools, or to Akaroa, a quaint village with a French essence. Skiing in the winter is an easy drive of less than an hour and a half.
The most French town in New Zealand, Akaroa will have you entranced with its historic buildings, magnificent harbour and passion for fine food. An easy drive south-east of Christchurch, Banks Peninsula is the South Island’s most interesting volcanic feature. Originally an island formed by two volcanic cones, the peninsula has two dominant craters which form Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours. The peninsula was named for botanist Joseph Banks, who sailed with Captain James Cook on the Endeavour. Enjoy hill-side walks, the opportunity to swim with Hector Dolphins, harbour cruises, boutique shops, and stunning restaurants.
With an ideal climate and soil, forests rich with wild game, market gardens, farms, truffières, rivers and coastlines, the Waipara Valley will tantalise you with exceptional local fare and awarding-winning wine.
Local restaurants and cafes throughout the region champion the fresh, seasonal and unique ingredients grown in the Hurunui. Venison, beef and seafood … honey, olive oils and organic fruit and vegetables. North Canterbury’s own truffiere is even hidden amongst the region’s rolling hills!
Surrounded by mountains, forests and crisp air, Hanmer Springs is an alpine spa village worth exploring.
You can do plenty – explore the variety of walking and biking tracks, indulge in a spa treatment, enjoy a range of cuisines and wines and more.
The Hanmer Springs thermal pools and spa is the best place to indulge, with a range of pools, including relaxing rock pools, soothing sulphur pools, an array of water jets and bubbles – at a range of temperatures.
Arthur’s Pass National Park is in the heart of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana. Its high mountains with large scree slopes, steep gorges and wide braided rivers straddle the main divide, and are the ‘back bone’ of the South Island.
If you’re travelling from Canterbury to the West Coast, this is the road to take. It is a piece of extreme engineering involving viaducts, bridges, rock shelters and waterfalls redirected into chutes.
Arthur’s Pass National Park itself is a landscape of two halves. On the eastern side, you’ll see wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast swathes of beech forest. Descend the western side and you venture through dense rainforest alongside and over deeply gorged rivers. Take in the scenic views on the renowned Tranz Alpine rail service.Tranz Alpine rail service.
Christchurch is one of the world’s most unique destinations, combining urban regeneration and innovation with heritage, culture and exhilarating activity. See a show at the Issac Royal Theatre, indulge your senses at Riverside Market, or head down to the Riccarton Market on Saturday morning for some of the best delights available. For the active minded, there are beaches, hill walks, the adventure park, and so much more. Enjoy dinner overlooking the Avon from one of the delectable restaurants on The Terrace or punt the Avon to unwind and enjoy the view of the city from the water.
The Canterbury and Christchurch region boasts one Marquee course and four Experience courses.
Clearwater Golf Club, host of several New Zealand Women’s Opens, is one of New Zealand’s best examples of target golf, providing both scenery and challenge. Just down the road from Clearwater Golf Club, Pegasus Golf Club is an open parkland Experience course and Canterbury’s newest golfing addiction. Together the two courses have hosted a staggering 18 major tournaments!
Also in the area are the recently renovated Harewood Golf Club and historic Christchurch Golf Club, both Experience courses are excellent. About an hour from Christchurch Airport, Terrace Downs High Country Resort is located on the banks of the Rakaia River with Mt. Hutt in the distance. Alongside the golf, the area offers jet boating, shooting, and horseback riding. It is also the gateway to Arthur’s Pass National Park.