Air NZ's top 10 picks for Christchurch

Ski and surf Canterbury all in the same day

 Bounded by the mighty Southern Alps on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, it is quite feasible for an adventurer to ski the slopes of Canterbury in the morning and take on its surf in the afternoon.

Whether you would want to cut short either of these activities is another matter. Visitors to the region are better advised to take their time and relish their Canterbury experience be it at the adrenalin inducing or more leisurely end of the scale.

While in this vastly varied region here is our 'Top 10' pick of activities with something to suit all:

  • Skiing – with 18 ski areas in the region you can choose from the most sophisticated of commercial areas to the more low key atmosphere of the club fields

  • Golf – if golf is your passion, Canterbury is the place for you. There are close to 40 clubs dotted throughout the countryside and visitors are sure of a warm welcome

  • Wine – don’t miss the chance to sample some of the very fine wines coming out of the region. While there are vineyards throughout, the most rapidly growing area is the Waipara Valley which has 23 wineries and several specialised winery restaurants

  • Fishing- try your luck in the rivers braiding the Canterbury plains or fish from the beach or out at sea

  • Sports galore– the varied terrain gives rise to all manner of sports, make the most of the rivers with jet boating, rafting and kayaking, explore the land by road or mountain bike or take to the hills and mountains for your fill of climbing and abseiling

  • Tranz Alpine – travel by train from one coast to the other in this world famous train expedition. You will travel from Christchurch, across the farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, through gorges and river valleys and climb the Southern Alps before ascending through beech rain forest to the West Coast city of Greymouth

  • Akaroa – take a drive over the hills from Christchurch to this delightful town perched on the edge of a deep volcanic harbour. Originally settled by the French it’s a charming place to wander and also the place to swim with the rare Hector’s dolphins

  • Hanmer Springs – relax in the famous thermal waters of this inland North Canterbury town. It’s also a great place for trekking, horse riding, golf, fishing, rafting and biking

  • Kaikoura – located right on the rugged east coast, Kaikoura is the place to try your luck at spotting Sperm, Humpback, Pilot, Blue and Orca whales. They make their presence known virtually every day along with Dusky Dolphins, fur seals and many other creatures.

  •  Aoraki Mt Cook – make time to view New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook. You can explore the spectacular area on foot, by air, kayak, horse, 4WD, mountain bike or even on skis

Air New Zealand operates an extensive schedule out of Christchurch linking it with 26 other destinations on its domestic network in addition to direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. It is the airline’s and New Zealand’s gateway to the South Island. To book flights to Christchurch, visit www.airnewzealand.com  

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