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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Christchurch and Canterbury road travelling

Comfortable driving distances from the Alps to the ocean allow you the flexibility to pack more into your New Zealand holiday. Take a leisurely road trip (rental vehicles are available, but advance booking is recommended) and experience the true diversity of this amazing region.

Your first stop will be the vibrant city of Christchurch. Drive down tree-lined avenues to the city centre. It’s only 18 minutes from the airport. Immerse yourself in the city’s cultural heart with neo-Gothic buildings and an impressive art gallery.

Discover unique hideaway alleys, home to high-end boutiques and a myriad of cafes and bars. Meander through the botanic gardens, savour the sunset from a hillside vantage point, take in live theatre or enjoy a romantic hot air balloon flight.

Rustic Sight

Banks Peninsula is one of the region’s many unspoilt treasures and is a great day trip, easily accessible from Christchurch. Rugged cliffs and bright blue waters shape the port town of Lyttelton, with steep and narrow streets, historic cottages and an eclectic array of cafes and bars.

On the other side of the peninsula is Akaroa – one of the South Island’s oldest towns. This French and British settlement is nestled in an ancient flooded volcano, with well-preserved buildings and amazing wildlife. It’s a great holiday spot for both locals and visitors. There are activities to suit everyone, be it enjoying the vista from a local waterfront cafĂ©, swimming with the tiny Hectors Dolphins or exploring the harbour on sea kayak. For a nice treat, pick up some local fish and chips and spend an afternoon at the beach.
Vineyards And More

For a great short drive north of Christchurch, take the Alpine Pacific Triangle touring route, home to the vineyards of Waipara, the natural wonderlands of Kaikoura and the therapeutic waters of Hanmer Springs.

The Waipara Valley boasts many notable vineyards including award-winning Pegasus Bay and Daniel Schuster - the views alone make them well worth a visit.

Kaikoura has a vast array of wildlife, from dusky dolphins to giant sperm whales and playful fur seals. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa is the perfect place to de-stress and unwind. With its therapeutic waters and state of the art spa facilities – it is a true relaxing experience.
Going South

In the south is the ultimate sports playground districts of Geraldine, Timaru, Methven and Ashburton, a haven for lovers of the outdoors with fly fishing, mountain biking, golf, jet boating, four wheel driving, white water rafting, skiing and much more on offer.

For those who prefer the finer things in life – cafes, gourmet food outlets, five-star luxury lodges and quality arts & crafts combine to make the perfect holiday break!

The highlight of your visit will be New Zealand’s highest peak — Aoraki Mount Cook — standing at 3,754m above the 27 other peaks in the Southern Alps. Experience a guided walk on the 27km Tasman Glacier, or take in the beauty of the glacier from the air and if you’re really lucky, experience a glacier landing. This is not for the faint hearted!

With so many things to see and do in Christchurch and Canterbury, your only worry will be finding the time to fit everything in!