The region of Canterbury is bordered by the mighty Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean with the city of Christchurch as its base. Around the city, the Canterbury Plains stretch across the eastern side of the South Island and provide a nature lover’s playground. Salmon fishing, skiing, tramping and many other outdoor activities are available through the various Canterbury tours that operate throughout the region. During the winter months skiers and snowboarders flock to the slopes of Mount Hutt, just over an hours drive from Christchurch. The Christchurch international airport provides easy access to Canterbury and other popular South Island destinations with domestic flights to Queenstown among the most popular. Arthurs’ Pass connects Canterbury to the West Coast and can be driven, walked or enjoyed by rail aboard the tranzAlpine train.
The beauty of the Canterbury landscape makes scenic flights and hot air ballooning a popular activity and the wild rivers, lakes and mountains provide ideal conditions for white water rafting, mountaineering, kayaking and adventure sports. Extended 4 wheel drive and extreme sports adventures depart regularly from Christchurch to explore places like Wanaka and the hidden secrets that Canterbury has to offer. On the Eastern coastline the small town of Kaikoura is the place to go whale or dolphin watching. You will also find large colonies of sea lions basking on the rocks and fresh lobster for sale all year round. Between Christchurch and Canterbury the alpine village of Hanmer Springs is the place to rest and recuperate in the impressive hot pool complex featuring over 20 different natural pools and spas.
The serene settlement of Lake Tekapo is home to the Church of the Good Shepherd and a beautiful glacial lake. Canterbury activities here include heli skiing and heli mountain biking, horse trekking, lake cruises and fishing. There is also an observatory here that will give you a great view of the stars under some of the clearest skies in the world. Canterbury accommodation can be found in the hotels, motels, backpackers and apartments of Christchurch or in the rural cottages, bed and breakfasts and lodges of central Canterbury.
In Christchurch Canterbury attractions and activities include punting on the river or a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens. The pretty French fishing village of Akaroa on the east coast of Canterbury offers cheese tasting, boutique shopping and a heritage trail. Canterbury is also a major producer of New Zealand wine with many of the South island vineyards to visit and enjoy.