Things to do for partners, family, pre and post touring
- 1 Experience Christchurch
- 2 Local Attractions
- 3 3 day sample itinerary
- 4 Further afield
- 5 South Island
Renowned for the timeless beauty of its parks and gardens, Christchurch is now a city focused on the future. It is rebuilding post-earthquakes for a new generation, while carefully restoring its heritage.
Christchurch is the international gateway to the coastal and alpine playgrounds of New Zealand’s South Island. Nestled on the picturesque Canterbury Plains between the Pacific Ocean and the spectacular Southern Alps, it is the perfect hub from which to explore some of the country’s most stunning mountains, forests, lakes, rivers, harbours and beaches.
Practice your swing at one of almost 60 golf courses in Christchurch and the wider Canterbury region. No matter what your ability there are options to suit, from world-class Championship courses to delightful country courses, many with stunning scenery of the Canterbury foothills and Southern Alps. There is even a golf course right in the middle of Christchurch city, in Hagley Park, one of the world's largest inner city parks. http://www.canterburygolf.co.nz/clubs/
There are many stunning rivers and lakes throughout the Canterbury region offering the opportunity to fish for trout or salmon. Professional guides can show you the region’s top fishing spots and provide transport, equipment, licences and tuition if required. Deep sea fishing or diving charters are available along the Canterbury coastline. https://my.christchurchcitylibraries.com/fishing/
Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s “Garden City”, with one acre of parkland and gardens for every eight acres of developed and residential land. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens, on the banks of the Avon River, are home to one of the finest assortments of native and exotic plants in New Zealand https://www.ccc.govt.nz/parks-and-gardens/christchurch-botanic-gardens/
Enjoy a cruise around impressive Akaroa Harbour, discover the history of the region, enjoy magnificent views and see dolphins, seals and penguins. https://akaroa.com/things-to-do
Punting on the Avon
Glide along the water through the Botanic Gardens and Hagley Park in luxury in a traditional English punt. A skilled gondolier will gently guide you downstream on the Avon River, providing commentary as you pass by iconic Christchurch attractions. http://chchattractions.co.nz/en/punting-on-the-avon
Helicopter Scenic Flights
Enjoy a magnificent scenic helicopter flight over Christchurch, Pacific Ocean beaches and the harbours and hills of Banks Peninsula. Or, fly above the mighty Southern Alps and Canterbury High Country for scenic flying at it's best.
International Antarctic Centre
Shelter in an ice cave, ride in a genuine Antarctic all-terrain vehicle or brave the wind, snow and ice of an Antarctic storm at Christchurch’s International Antarctic Centre. Don’t miss the penguin encounter, the 4D movie experience, and the wonderful Antarctica exhibits https://www.iceberg.co.nz/
Hot Air Ballooning
Escape to a world of peace and tranquility as you soar high above the Canterbury plains, with magnificent views over the Canterbury foothills, the mighty Southern Alps and over to Aoraki Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain.
Experience the spectacular scenery of the Waimakariri or Rakaia Rivers at speed on an exhilarating jet boat ride. Twist, turn and surge through narrow gorges and braided shallows, against a backdrop of the towering Southern Alps.
Tranz Alpine train journey
Climb aboard one of the world's most famous train journeys, between Christchurch and Greymouth. Stunning scenery will take your breath away. Make it a day trip, or choose a scenic escape for overnight packages with accommodation and activities. https://www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/tranzalpine/
The Port Hills have a world class mountain bike park. https://www.christchurchadventurepark.com/
There are many tracks around the city and in the nearby countryside. https://christchurch360trail.org.nz/trail-segments/
For further info, checkout Christchurch's official tourist info site https://www.christchurchnz.com/what-to-see-and-do/ They provide a free booking service for accommodation, activities and transport throughout Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand.
3 day sample itinerary
Day One Sightseeing on the Avon
A quintessential introduction to Canterbury incorporates a stroll through the beautiful Botanic Gardens on the banks of the Avon River to discover why Christchurch is called ‘The Garden City’. Or enjoy the view from the water, taking a traditional water gondola and punting down the river in luxury. Then jump on a historic tram for a loop to see some of the brilliant artwork and design projects underway in the central city. Thermal pools or thrill-seeking Continue on to the alpine spa village of Hanmer Springs and spend the afternoon relaxing in the natural thermal pools or indulge in a spa treatment. Alternatively, venture into the nearby Waiau Gorge for an afternoon of excitement. Thrillseekers Adventures specialises in jet boating, white water rafting, canoeing, bungy jumping, quad biking and mountain biking experiences for incentive groups. Discount available for Heritage Hotels Hanmer: https://www.heritagehotels.co.nz/hotels/heritage-hanmer-springs [This code is valid throughout January 2019]
Day Two A flight to remember
Wake early for a majestic hot air balloon or helicopter ride over Canterbury. Flights depart in time for you to watch the morning sun roll in over the plains. Once you are back on solid ground, enjoy a celebratory glass of chilled bubbly. Classic country charm Depart mid-morning for Terrace Downs High Country Resort. Enjoy a gourmet barbecue lunch while overlooking the stunning foothills of the Southern Alps before playing a round of golf on the resort’s championship course. If golf is not for you, there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied. Try your hand at clay pigeon shooting, archery, go salmon or trout fishing, take a horse trek or indulge in a spa treatment at The Spa. Finish the day off with dinner at one of the resort’s three on-site dining options before retiring to your suite.
Day Three Rolling plains and highland lakes
Sit back and enjoy a sightseeing drive through the Canterbury plains, passing the mirror-like lakes of the MacKenzie High Country and the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Stop for lunch at Peppers Bluewater Resort before taking a relaxing soak in the hot pools overlooking the lake. Cosy luxury or Alpine adventure Travel by coach or chartered plane to the renowned Hermitage Hotel at the base of Aoraki Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain. Whether you’re up for adventure or simply want to cosy down by the fire, all guests are catered for at the Hermitage. Afternoon activities include alpine 4WD tours, heli-hiking, mountain hikes or a scenic flight over the nearby glaciers, or head out on the mighty Tasman Glacier Lake for a boat trip, fly fishing or kayaking adventure. Southern skies stargazing After a sumptuous dinner, make the most of the clear mountain air for a fantastic final night of stargazing. Take a guided tour from Mt Cook village or Lake Tekapo to experience the magnificent night sky within the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, the largest gold-rated reserve of its kind in the world.
New Zealand is full of things to do. The hardest thing for you, will be deciding what to do first. Every region will provide you with a unique experience. So stay a little longer to make sure you get to see more of 100% Pure New Zealand.
1. Auckland Shop for designer clothes, scale New Zealand’s tallest building (The SkyTower) and savour fine food and wine in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. Situated alongside three sparkling harbours and flanked by black sand beaches and native forest to the west, this multicultural hub offers the perfect mix of urban chic and outdoor excitement.
2. Hamilton Meander through themed public gardens and along riverside trails in Hamilton. This heartland city offers an eclectic mix of metropolitan culture and rural charm and is famed for its proximity to must-do attractions like Hobbiton Movie Set and the Waitomo Caves.
3. Rotorua Immerse yourself in Māori culture and exhilarating outdoor adventure in Rotorua. Built amidst a geothermal landscape of steaming geysers and bubbling mudpools, this tourist hotspot is home to many quintessential Kiwi experiences, from white water rafting and offroad 4WD to spine tingling Māori cultural performances.
4. Napier Enjoy a guided wine tour through the celebrated vineyards of Hawke’s Bay. The city of Napier is New Zealand’s Art Deco centre and has fantastic history, a picturesque shoreline, and just the right climate for delicious orchard fruits.
5. Wellington Dine on fine food, craft beers and world class coffee in the harbour side city of Wellington. Dubbed the “coolest little capital in the world” by Lonely Planet, Wellington also offers top opportunities for wildlife spotting and cultural discovery at the renowned national museum, Te Papa
6. Nelson Explore the long golden beaches, alpine lakes and enchanting forests of the Nelson region by kayak, car or bicycle. Home to three national parks, this region is a favourite holiday spot for New Zealanders and so beautiful you’ll never want to leave.
7. Marlborough Sounds Discover the many coves of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds on a cruise, or cycle through vineyards on a wine-tasting tour. A visit to Marlborough is incomparable, glorious sunshine, delicious food, and luxurious resorts make this area a joy to visit.
8 Queenstown Find inspiration amongst the unforgettable landscape of Queenstown. This four-season resort is known as the adventure capital of the world. It also offers plenty of opportunity for lakeside dining, boutique shopping and tours of the region’s rich gold mining history.
9 Dunedin Broaden your mind in Dunedin, home to grand old buildings and New Zealand’s oldest university. See penguins, sea lions and albatross on the nearby Otago Peninsula and experience one of the great scenic train journeys on the Taieri Gorge Railway.
10.Selwyn District Selwyn stretches across the Canterbury Plains and is bounded by the Rakaia and Waimakariri Rivers, with Arthur’s Pass National Park in the Southern Alps to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. http://www.sensationalselwyn.co.nz/ For further info visit the official NZ tourist site: https://www.newzealand.com/int/