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The Canterbury Region includes a large central portion of the east coast of the South Island, centred around the city of Christchurch. It also contains the city of Timaru and the towns of Kaikoura, Methven, Ashburton, Geraldine, Lake Tekapo Twizel and Mount Cook Village.   Due to the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch you will find some attractions are like the Cathedral & Arts Centre have restricted access).  


  The Christchurch hinterland of highly productive farmlands extends from the silvery beaches of the east coast to the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps on the western horizon. It offers many opportunities for exhilarating activities and attractions.  
Main attractions & activities

  Christchurch is alive with colour, atmosphere and world-class attractions. It is a graceful city that values its culture and heritage, but offers a year round range of exciting adventures and activities. From the beautiful glassed art gallery and neo-gothic Arts Centre, to the historic tram which loops the city centre, to the Christchurch Gondola and unique attractions like the International Antarctic Centre there is always plenty to see and do. The shopping is superb and the restaurants are a celebration of fresh, natural New Zealand foods and fine wines.
Akaroa is a 1 ½ hrs drive away from Christchurch and it is Canterbury's oldest village. Originally a French settlement, the historic town of Akaroa is a place to enjoy fine cuisine and wildlife cruises.
Lyttleton Harbour is a ten minute drive from the city centre and you can take a cruise and enjoy the dramatic volcanic landscape. In summer you might even get the chance to swim with the world's rarest dolphin, the Hector Dolphin.
Kaikoura is two hours north of Christchurch and this is where the mountains meet the sea - one of the few places where you can see the giant sperm whale.
Hanmer Springs is a 1 ½ hrs drive away from Christchurch and it is a scenic alpine and thermal village. You can enjoy nature or adventure activities, or laze in the pools. Nearby, in the Hurunui District, you can enjoy the wineries of Waipara.
Inland from Christchurch lie the magnificent Southern Alps - only an hour from the city. The village of Arthurs Pass makes an ideal base for all kinds of activities, and you can also experience the TranzAlpine rail trip - one of the world's most spectacular train journeys that takes you from Christchurch to Greymouth.
Mount Cook village is an easy 3 ½ hr drive from Christchurch. We recommend visitors take the route from Christchurch to Fairlie, gateway to the Mackenzie Country. From here the road passes through a land of lakes, vast open spaces and golden, tussock-covered hills rolling towards the towering Southern Alps. On the way you will pass turquoise glacial lakes such as Lake Tekapo, on whose shores is the stone Church of the Good Shepherd, which has a spectacular view of the Southern Alps framed by its altar window. Scenic flights from Lake Tekapo and Mount Cook afford breathtaking views over the Southern Alps and countryside, with ski-plane landings on the Tasman Glacier providing an unforgettable experience. During the winter months ski options are available, including heli-skiing and ski touring, and guides are available for climbing. Glorious mountain walks to suit every degree of fitness show off the park's rich flora, including the Mount Cook "lily", the largest buttercup in the world.
To get there

  Christchurch international airport receives flights from Australia, Asia, the UK and the USA, providing a convenient gateway to South Island destinations. Both the International and Domestic Terminals are located just 20 minutes away from the downtown CBD.


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