Home to acres upon acres of grapevines, the picturesque Waipara valley is one of New Zealand’s premier wine regions, in particular Pinot Noir and Riesling. Take your pick of vineyard restaurants and tasting rooms; you can also visit olive groves and nut farms to round out your gourmet experience. There’s a handy cycleway and walkway connecting the wineries.
Best known for its natural hot pools, Hanmer Springs is an alpine resort town with something for everyone. The adventurous should head straight for the forest and mountains on foot, horseback or bike; bungy jumping, jetboating and skiing are also options. Relax with a leisurely round of golf, soak in the mineral-rich thermal pools and indulge in some spa therapy (leave the kids at the hydroslides), or stroll the main street’s boutique shops and eateries.
Located between the magnificent Kaikoura Ranges and the Pacific Ocean, the coastal town of Kaikoura specialises in marine mammal encounters. Here, you can go whale watching by sea or air at any time of year, swim with dusky dolphins or brush shoulders with playful fur seals. Coastal walks such as the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway are a chance to spot sea birds and learn more about the area’s history. Don’t leave before tucking into a plate of crayfish – the seafood here is spectacular.