Head south, away from the wine regions of the north and you
cannot miss the expanse of land that Canterbury covers. Home to a
wonderful mix of outdoor pursuits and cultural joys the area has
something to offer every need. Think of an outdoor adventure and
you will probably find it here. Take your pick; there is whale
watching, hiking, bungy jumping, jet boating, fishing, mountain
biking or why not go golfing or indulge in a vineyard visit? The
seat of the region is Christchurch, a city of exploration with a
refreshing urban centre full of exciting secrets to uncover. Known
as the 'Garden City' thanks to the several fragrant gardens that
call it home, it is bordered by lush hills and the fertile
Canterbury plains that stretch to the glorious Southern Alps.
The wild waves of the Pacific Ocean's crash onto the shore on
the other side of the city. It is a place that has seen some
massive changes over the last few years but the city has been
renewed in the since the 2011 earthquake. With a renowned and
exciting art scene (especially its immersive street art), new
architecture, bustling restaurants, cocktail bars, winding lanes as
well as plenty of green spaces all add to the ambience of the city.
Plus, as it is a coastal city, head to the beach for surfing,
kayaking and all of the beachy vibes you might want.
Take the drive from Christchurch to Kaikoura, it's slightly over
two hours and well worth it. The seaside settlement can be on a
peninsula, jutting out of the rugged east coast, overlooked by
majestic mountains; stunning scenery is not in short supply here.
Known for its eco-tourism this extraordinary place is also one of
the only locations in the world where Sperm whales can be seen
almost every day, with a resident pod calling the waters off-shore
home. Explore the Kaikoura Peninsula walkway, it winds from the
town centre to lookout points such as Point Kean, keep an eye out
for the fur seals that call this point home (although they won't be
hard to miss).
Journeying through the region will take you past many of its
natural wonders, Mount Cook National Park is home to the two
largest mountains in New Zealand, Aoraki or Mount Cook and Mount
Tasman. Intrepid mountaineering skills are not a requirement to be
able to interact with these beautifully harsh landscapes, there are
many hikes to suit all abilities. The Tasman glacier in all of its
glittering glory is well worth a visit too.