Christchurch, your gateway to the Canterbury region
A vast land of patchwork plains, soaring peaks, alpine lakes and unique, once-in-a-lifetime activities. Christchurch is the exciting urban hub of the Canterbury region, and it’s a city that is rapidly changing. You’ll find the iconic activities – like punting on the Avon River and riding the historic tram – as well as brand new shops, bars, restaurants and artistic creations, like the transitional cardboard cathedral. Skiing is the favourite pass-time in winter here, with Mt Hutt and Porters ski fields within easy reach of Christchurch. Further south the Mount Cook Mackenzie region has the world’s largest International Dark Sky Reserve; head to Lake Tekapo to experience this area's beautiful night sky. This is also a fantastic ski area, so take some time to experience the boutique ski fields. Aoraki Mt Cook National Park is home to New Zealand’s highest peak and longest glacier. The Tasman Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world with an accessible terminal lake; take a boat trip with Glacier Explorers to touch icebergs as you visit it. The TranzAlpine is classed as one of the most beautiful short train journeys in the world. Departing daily from Christchurch, the train winds its way through Arthur's Pass before reaching the West Coast, returning the same day. It's a must-do while you're in Canterbury. Kaikoura, 2.5 hours north of Christchurch, is the place to watch whales play. Nearby Hanmer Springs is an alpine resort with thermal pools rich in healing properties. Whatever your type of adventure might be, you'll find something unique and exciting in Christchurch and the Canterbury region.