Dramatically different landscapes make the Canterbury region in New Zealand a fascinating place to visit. There are so many things to see and do for every kind of traveller, especially in terms of eco-based and adventure tourism. Extending from the grand Southern Alps in the west to secluded beaches and bays along the Pacific Ocean in the east, Canterbury is the largest region in New Zealand and where you’ll find the South Island’s biggest and most thriving city, Christchurch. You’ll also find Mt Cook, or Aoraki (‘Cloud Piercer’ in Maori), standing at 3,754 metres high and marking the highest point in New Zealand.
North of Christchurch the mountains meet the sea at Kaikoura, where stunning panoramas of both oceans and mountains set the scene for a myriad of outdoor based eco-tourism activities. Also of interest in the north is New Zealand’s premier wine region, Waipara Valley, with over 80 vineyards set amongst breathtaking scenery. Not far from here, travellers can experience alpine activities and then rest their weary bones by soaking in the thermal pools of Hanmer Springs.
Heading inland to the Southern Alps, there are the charming alpine communities of Springfield and Arthur’s Pass, both good bases for hiking and mountain biking in the summer and skiing in the winter. Or take a ride on the TranzApline scenic train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth; considered one of the world’s greatest scenic railway journeys.
Discover the charm of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula; a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano and popular in the summer with tourists flocking to swim with Hector’s Dolphins.
To the south, Ashburton and Timaru districts await adventure junkies and leisure seekers alike, offering scads of activities and spectacular scenery to keep everyone happy.